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Marc S – Ferrari 355 War Story

I’ve seen a lot of Ferrari 355’s around (I live in Southern California),
but have never been able to get one to race me. Until a few nights ago!

It was around 2am, I had been driving for an hour on a relatively cool
night (low 60’s). As I near my house, I see the very low, very wide
silhouette of a F355, plus a car up ahead of him with lights on top.

The Ferrari driver is driving pretty slow, maybe 40mph. I figure there’s
no chance for a race here; it’s probably a cop up ahead, and if it
isn’t, this guy is probably the typical ultra-conservative Ferrari
driver judging by how fast he’s going. Not that I was entertaining
any thoughts about beating the Ferrari! I have a 95 GSX with a stock
T25 turbo. My mods are a complete exhaust system from the turbo back,
an upper I/C pipe w/ 94 BOV, manual boost control, a RSA FR2 filter,
and no MAF honeycombs. My best 1/4 mi run to date is a 13.65 with a
1.78 60 foot time, and much slower w/o a good launch (14.0x’s with a
2.0 60 foot time.)

Luck was with me though. The car up ahead turned out to be a
rent-a-cop, and he turned off at the very next street, leaving the
two of us alone on a long deserted road. I get next to the Ferrari
(and am very obvious about it) and look over at him to try and initiate
a race.

No dice, he stares straight ahead.

Ok, only one other thing to do. I floor it and quickly get a few
hundred feet in front of him, then tap my brakes and wait for him to catch
up, daring him to take the bait. (Not that I expected him to; this is
the third F355 I’ve tried to race in such a manner).

Suddenly I hear a WWRRRAAAAAAAAAAHHH and from my rear view mirror I
watch him rocket forward. I think to myself “awesome, but now I get
to really have my face rubbed in the dirt; I’m not going to floor it
until we’re side by side, and he’ll probably just continue right by
me with his gas pedal slammed to the floor”. (It’s always so hard
to get initial timing right with a stranger in a street race, ya
know?) :).

Good luck strikes again! The guy plays fair, and brakes once he
catches up next to me. We’re side by side. I’m thinking “well,
my intercooler is probably still reasonably cool, the cool air
helps me even more than it helps him, but we’re at 35mph, I’ve lost my
AWD advantage, and he’s got 380 horsepower!! Here goes nothing,
but damn this is gonna be fun!”

We floor it. My turbo spools up almost instantly (the one nice thing
about a T25) and I rocket forward in second gear. I pull a little less
than a half a car length on him. We’re accelerating almost at a dead
heat, he’s pulling maybe a foot or two. I shift to third, it’s still
very close but he’s pulling a little more now. We go from being side-to-
side to him slowly edging out in front of me.

Ok, timeout for a comment here regarding Ferrari’s… I have a complete
3″ exhaust, my windows are all closed, and as we’re racing, I can clearly
hear his engine over mine. And a good thing it is, too! What a glorious
sound! It was almost like something out of a Formula One race. I don’t
care if you drive a 12 second car or a 19 second truck, if you can convince
a Ferrari driver to gun his engine and/or accelerate, DO IT, the engine
note is absolute music to your ears.

Back to the race. So, now that I’m in third, I realize we won’t be side
by side for much longer.. The stock T25 put up a good show, but now as
the revs increase, the boost is starting to drop, and I don’t have a good
acceleration gear left to me.. Sure enough, towards the top of third
(for me), he starts pulling more in front. By the end of third, right as
I’m about to go to 4th, he brakes. His rear bumper was a few feet in
front of my front bumper before the braking occurred. I slow down as
well and roll down my windows, but he’s either slightly embarrassed or
just being a typical Ferrari driver and won’t look over at me. Ah well.
I accelerate moderately so I can get in front of him, stick my arm
out the window and wave to him to thank him for a great race, and make a
u-turn at the next intersection to get back to my home (which I passed a
half mile back).

We raced from around 35mph to 90mph and he was barely ahead. It was
the most victorious defeat I’ve ever had and I’ll never forget the
sound of that 5-valve per cylinder Italian V8 singing its song as it
climbed through the revs. To be honest I was really surprised the
race was even that close considering AWD’s race best from a stop.

(Oh, I better say this in advance before some putz says “How can you
even think to compare a F355 to a DSM?”: This post ain’t a comparison
of the cars or a judgment on what you are getting for your money.
It’s just a war story, nothing more, nothing less.)

-Marc S

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