I loved playing with cars and trucks as a kid but I would never let anyone touch my Ferrari models, not even my brothers. I had a small collection, unlike Billy Karam’s amazing collection, of around 20-25 Ferrari models (1:43 scale) that I would put on display or keep them in their boxes. I would save money from birthdays and holidays just to buy newer and bigger models and two of them, The Ferrari 550 Maranello and Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F1 car (1:18 scale) are still on display at my parents’ house. I even remember making a bet with my younger brother that by the time I am 30, I would have bought my own Ferrari. Well that’s obviously not gonna happen anytime soon (unless I win the lottery) but at least I got to drive a Ferrari and it was the best feeling ever!
The Car: Ferrari 458 Speciale
The Ferrari 458 Speciale is the first super car I ever drive and is one of the fastest and most advanced V8 Sports car ever built. It’s more powerful, more dynamic, faster, lighter and more expensive than the 458 Italia. We are talking here about a 597 hp Ferrari that can go from 0 to 100 in 3 seconds, has a top speed of around 320 kph and is more aero-efficient than any other Ferrari road car! In simpler words, Ferrari took the 458 Italia, and made out of it the most high performance Ferrari V8 Sports Car ever, that is the 458 Speciale. I won’t bore you with more technical specs as you can find details reviews from experts on Topgear, Autoblog and other websites.
The Ferrari steering wheel is absolutely gorgeous and makes you feel like you’re inside an F1 car, specially with the shift lights on top that tell you when you need to switch to a different gear. There’s everything you need and more on this steering wheel except for the reverse mode which is a button on the side.
As far as the interior is concerned, I found the seats to be super comfortable for a sports! In fact, I was looking for some pictures showing the seats and the interior but I couldn’t find any, probably because once I got behind the steering wheel, I forgot about everything around me. it’s a good thing I got to drive the car on two occasions because I barely had any pictures or videos from the first time!
Since it was my first time in a Ferrari or a super car for that sake, one of the Ferrari people in Lebanon (Paul) took me for a ride at first and explained to me how to turn the car on, how to switch gears, turn the automatic mode on, use the reverse mode and what every button meant on the steering wheel. We went for a smooth drive around Beirut before we got to a spot where they are few empty roads to speed on. That’s where Paul parked the car and then accelerated and before you know it we had reached 160 kph! I wouldn’t lie to you that it was a bit scary at first and I was like WTF just happened! For some reason, I remembered Richard Hammond’s reaction when he first drove an F1 car. The sound of the engine was music to my ears, it was the most intense feeling ever and I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheels.
After making sure I was familiar with all the buttons in front of me, I finally sat behind the steering wheel and started driving carefully with the automatic mode on. I would go faster whenever I find an empty spot and accelerate a bit but it wasn’t the smoothest of rides at all and I could tell that from Paul’s facial expressions. After driving around Beirut for a good half hour, I became more comfortable with the car and started speeding. One of the people running Lebanese_Cars’ Instagram account even caught me on camera that you can see [Here].
The second time I drove the 458 Speciale, I was more confident and I switched off the automatic mode from the start. I headed to an empty straight road and started driving back and forth and going faster every time. I think Paul who was also with me got bored of the times I was driving past him (he was filming me) but I couldn’t get enough of that car and would have kept going all day if I could.
An Unforgettable Experience
When I first told my friends I was going to drive a Ferrari, most of them, specially the car enthusiasts, cursed at me and called me names instead of congratulating me. Of course they didn’t mean it that way but it pretty much tells you how much it means to drive a Ferrari for most people and believe me, it’s a one of a kind experience that you don’t want to miss out on!
I am eternally grateful to Ferrari Lebanon, specially Marie Claire, for giving me this opportunity and I hope it won’t be long before I drive another Ferrari. Of course I also wish we could drive these cars around a track and speed even more but we don’t have something like that in Lebanon.
Here’s one of the videos that my friend took of me speeding in the Ferrari 458 Speciale. I will be adding more pictures today on Instagram and a video from inside the car. You can check them out in a bit [Here] and follow Ferrari Lebanon [Here].