We have all seen movies, music videos and tv shows where stars cruise along in Ferraris. It is a dream of many to replicate their favourite Ferrari scene at some point in their lives.
When I was seventeen I owned a very beaten up VW, and although sometimes I drove it as though it was a Ferrari it was pretty far from the real thing. I dreamed of cruising down my local high street in something that would really draw jealous looks instead of jeers and laughter from the local tracksuit clad teenage girls. Films like Ferris Bueller, Miami Vice, Weird Science, Goldeneye and many more made Ferrari into that ultimate driving goal.
As a result I really couldn't believe my luck when I was given the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Ferrari for a whole day. To cap off the day we were to be treated to lunch at chef's hat restaurant Bella. When I told my friends about it they were to a man and woman green with envy. My boyhood dreams were about to come true without me having to explain to my wife the half a million dollar hole in our bank account.
We arrived at The Star first thing in the morning to see a fleet of red Ferrari's parked outside already drawing a crowd of star struck onlookers. We were ushered into the reception area by the extremely friendly Matthew Thio and Stuart Brown from the Prancing Horse Ferrari team who got us settled down for a coffee and the prep session. Along for the day was Edward Rowe from Ferrari's Australian distributor, European Automotive Imports. Edward gave us a little more information about the cars and some advanced driving tips.
Once we were all present and prepped they took us out to the cars and the day began. To a man they were really warm and welcoming, easily and smoothly overcoming everyone's nerves and getting us straight into the cars and on the road. They've been doing this for a few years now so they know how to make sure things run very smoothly.
The cars on the day included a 355 spider, a 360 spider, a California and a 458 Italia. All very different in their characteristics and all amazing. The exhaust note of each car is a masterpiece of it's own. The day includes over 200km of driving, roughly 30 minutes per car per person. With the route taking you down through the national park and some of the best roads in NSW including the iconic Sea Cliff bridge and then back to Sydney for lunch. We stopped a number of times during the day to change cars, take pictures and talk excitedly about the experience with each other.
It's hard to describe just how great this day is. If you are buying a big present for someone in your life it is tough to imagine topping this. All of the participants on the day loved every minute of it.
It's an extremely accessible experience too. You don't have to be a race car driver to enjoy the day as you'll discover the cars are easy and fun to drive. You very quickly get used to the difference in ability that the supercharged engines and performance handling provide.
All of the cars are paddle shift and don't have a clutch so can be driven by auto or manual drivers alike. The support crew (Matt and Stu) drive ahead of you in the Prancing Horse support car and communicate the route and guidance through the use of two way radios. This means that you get to drive the Ferrari by yourselves, really enhancing the celebrity feel.
It's not just the Ferraris, although they are the focal point for the day, it's the deeply integrated experience of getting to know a truly special car whilst being treated like you own it by everyone you see. When you drive by a school the kids run over and crowd along the school fence to get a better look.
When you are driving along people pull alongside to take pictures of you and wave whilst ogling the car. Of the bucket list experiences available in Sydney this is probably the absolute best.
The day is topped off with lunch at chef's hat awarded Balla restaurant where head chef Gabriele Taddeucci treated us like royalty and the food was simply sublime. Balla
Starting from The Star in Darling Harbour, there are a range of driving, dining and accommodation experience options ranging from $660 upwards per couple. Visit The Darling at The Star
To book call 1300 307 050 or visit The Prancing Horse to see more images and video of the experience.
Check out Ada Nicodemou and Chrys Xipolitas driving the new Ferrari California on a Ferrari day through the beautiful Royal National Park, south of Sydney.
The writer was a guest of Prancing Horse and Balla.