Mondays aren’t that bad after all. I got to spent mine at the notorious F1 track Spa-Francorchamps with a 430 Scuderia. I, sadly, couldn’t drive the car myself, but what a hell of an experience this was! Check out the video we shot at the bottom of this article as well.
Photography: Max Lammers
Waking up early might not be my favorite thing to do, but I just couldn’t refuse my friends’ invite to a track day at Spa-Francorchamps with his 430 Scuderia. So I woke up at 05.00 a.m. and caught a train to Utrecht where my friend Ruben de la Fonteijne picked me up. We drove to a small village in the south of The Netherlands to join my other friend Robin van Arkel. He recently bought his first car; a BMW 528i. We took the BMW to Spa-Francorchamps where we ended up at the entrance of the track. We were kind of sceptical at first, but the security is pretty lousy making it fairly easy to drive through the gates and into the paddocks.
We met up with my friend @slowrabit1, so we could fill in a form to receive passenger access. We then walked to the car and asked him if it was possible to take some shots at a less busier place, so I jumped in the car (passenger side unfortunately) and we drove down to the pit boxes of the old start/finish. It started pouring with rain so it was quite hard to get good shots, but I think they came out pretty good.
Ruben and I wanted to take some shots inside the car and I asked my friend if it was okay to rev the car. He told me to do whatever I wanted, so I grabbed the keys and started her up. ‘’God, I love that sound.’’ The engine note of the 430 Scuderia is so recognizable, especially if you give it some revs.
Check out the video at the bottom of this article!
After photographing and videoing the car for about 45 minutes it was time to head out on track. It was still quite wet so he didn’t want to push it like he would on a dry track. Nonetheless an amazing first impression. I could easily remember the track from playing games like DTM Racing Driver and GranTurismo 6 back in the days. Pretty funny to experience Eau Rouge and other corners in reality now. We eventually drove back into the pits and I changed seats with Robin who had not been in a Ferrari before; great way to lose your ‘’Ferrari-virginity’’ I’d say! He absolutely loved the car and the track, which for me is what this is all about: sharing the passion. Next up was Ruben. It was also his first time in a Ferrari and he told me it will probably stay one of the best days of his life, which is a great thing to hear!
After having some delicious lunch in the restaurant on top of the pit boxes, it was time to jump in the car with another driver named Gareth. He joined the track day with a rare VW Golf GTI and was casually racing against Ferraris and Porsches with it. Although he never drove the 430 Scuderia before, I instantly felt this guy knew what he was doing. We flew through Eau Rouge with at least 180 km/h (124 mph) and reached a speed of 270 km/h (168 mph) on the long straight. At some point we were seriously racing against a Porsche Cayman GT4 and a BMW M4. We almost had them but Gareth forgot to downshift while going into a corner. We lost some time but we eventually took over both cars. As extreme as the 430 Scuderia is, it’s actually a pretty comfortable way of being thrown around on one of the most legendary tracks.
When we arrived in paddock again, my buddies and I went exploring. Open track days are so much fun, because you can almost walk everywhere. It’s hard to imagine F1 cars were changing their tyres just over a month ago on a place where you can literally lay down on the ground! There were a lot of BMW’s, Audi’s and Porsche’s properly used on track and a couple of hobbyists spending time restoring their MX5’s, R34’s and other JDM cars.
As a bonus, my friend arranged a couple of laps in his friends’ 458 Italia for me. His friend is a pretty experienced driver as well, which made it even more exciting. You can easily feel the 430 Scuderia is trackfocused, but the 458 has more aggressive gear changes. For a track day like this, the racing harness in the Scuderia is definitely a must-have. The 458 was equipped with regular seatbelts which made it pretty hard to stay in your seat. Nonetheless a great ride and a pretty good first impression of the 458 Italia.
Big thanks to @slowrabit1 for inviting us and arranging VIP access!