One Pista, two Pistas….


As I tell my stories, the details change but the over all gist of it stays the same. Case in point whenever any asks me about my old Challenge Stradale. Great car I tell them. Owned it for almost 10 years I tell them. And then I drove my new 458 Speciale I tell them. And then I sell the Challenge Stradale as the unwanted older child I tell them. No point in going into any more details here as there is a new story to tell.

Last week I finally had the chance to let loose on Arizona’s newest race track and membership based raceway – Apex Motor Club. South of Phoenix near the town of Maricopa, it was part of the 2019 Ferrari Club Annual Experience and as such I had the chance to buy both my wife and I their F1 package allowing unfettered access for the day. I was in my aforementioned 458 Speciale and she took our new 488 Pista Spider.

Once there, she teamed up with another Pista driver as I took to the track on my own in our 458 Speciale. Sure, life was good and the car performed. The brakes did their job and the naturally aspirated engine howled along the straight away. The nose tucked into corners as expected and drifted out under throttle as I exited. Then my wife passes me like I’m standing still. I can just hear her giggles as she completes the maneuver.

OK, admittedly she is a good driver and has completed several Corso Pilota classes right by my side but I was pretty much blown off the track by her. Time to switch cars I think.

Didn’t take long in the 488 Pista to realize that here is an example of night and day. The brakes trailed into the bus stop chicane with precision and then launched out back on to the straight away with enough G-Force to slam me back into the driver’s seat. The car rotated through the turn at the end of the straight away with a ferocity I’ve never seen before in a street car and then next danced and floated through a gentle right hander. By now I am sold on the car.

Of course up until this point I had actually been living with both cars for several months parked together in the same garage and on some days even have enough time to drive them both BUT had never seen this side of the 488 Pista. Of course it would be foolish and illegal to drive like this on any open road in this country so I’ll take that excuse for not coming to this realization sooner. The Ferrari 488 Pista is by far the absolute best street car Ferrari has ever made. So of course I handed the keys back to my wife and told her to have fun as I sit with my daughter and watch her play tag with the other 488 Pista for the rest of the afternoon wondering what the fate of my 458 Speciale will be.