We’re free of the Classic now, and the SP3 Daytona is on clear, empty roads. It’s of course unfathomably fast by most standards, but it’s far less explosive than a car like the McLaren 720S, whose twin-turbo torque will fire you across the countryside like an artillery shell from a field gun. You need to work the Ferrari engine, which doesn’t make peak torque until a stratospheric 7250rpm. But from 6000rpm to when the ignition starts trimming sparks at 9500rpm, this is a magnificent motor, belting out its inimitable V12 song but with a hard edge of fury. Others that Ferrari has made in the past are perhaps more tuneful, but few if any pack more purpose.
The chassis is superb, despite the old-school direct and slightly too light steering. In the dry, it provides playfully more grip than you would ever use in public; and when it rains and you’re brave or stupid enough to twist the little manettino all the way clockwise, it slides amiably enough. I would probably have done more of the latter were it not for that width. Even on these big and quiet roads, I’m waiting for that moment when it starts to shrink around me, but that never comes.
Perhaps it’s fear of the value, but the thought of encountering another luridly driven car, or even a perfectly sensibly driven bus, is more than enough to rein in my enthusiasm. Were you to give its engine and chassis full range of expression on a circuit, my strong hunch is that a driving experience as rare as it is special would await, like that which I enjoyed during my laps of Fiorano in a LaFerrari in 2014, but sadly I never got the chance.
Even so, I’m so glad that I got to drive it, and as fast as I could safely. Yes, the 296 GTB is probably as quick, far more usable and a heck of a lot cheaper, but that’s not the way to look at the SP3. It is instead simply a car for the senses, a car to look at, to listen to and to feel. And in all these regards, it’s a worthy wearer of that Daytona title. It’s not a P4 nor anything close, just a beautiful, fast, sonorous and rare Ferrari. And for the billionaires who’ve bought it, that will be more than enough.