An important point to consider, perhaps the most important of all when it comes to making a dynamic assessment of this car: it’s not trying to see how fast it can go. Yes, it may sound odd for a car of this configuration and specification to say so, but I believe it to be the case. If you’ll forgive the slightly threadbare phrase, the Daytona SP3 is not about how fast you go, but how you go fast. And there is a world of difference between the two.
The proof of this particular pudding is not hard to find. The Pirelli tyres are bespoke to the SP3, but they are Corsas, designed to offer all weather usability on road as well as decent track performance; if Ferrari was bothered about lap times, it would have bolted on a set of Trofeo Rs which have the consistency of warm marmalade. Talking of lap times, Ferrari always quotes a Fiorano lap time for all its two seat sports cars, except for this one. Other than the usual straight-line figures, Ferrari warrants nothing more about its performance. Nor is the SP3 even particularly light, despite all that carbon-fibre: a weight of 1,485kg is quoted, but that’s a ‘dry’ weight without even any fluids on board, let alone passengers, and with all lightweight options fitted. So it’s heavier by a distance than was claimed for the LaFerrari, despite not having to carry that car’s electric motors and battery pack.
So forget all that, sit back and enjoy the ride. You’d think any 6.5-litre engine would be awash with torque from idling speed, but it says something about this car’s state of tune that actually it doesn’t produce maximum thrust until 7,250rpm, at which point it still has over 2,000rpm to run to the redline. You let it build instead, listening as layer upon layer of mechanical music is fed into the soundtrack as the revs rise inexorably higher. A V8 turbo has far more low-down punch, but it can’t fascinate and build anticipation like this. You’re waiting for around 6,000rpm, when the crescendo turns into a something closer to frenzied, shrieking wail and the SP3 spears you towards the horizon. Seven closely stacked and fast changing gears ensure you need never drop below this zone so long as you rev it out all the way. And you will want to, because once heard, the sound of a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated Ferrari V12 engine at 9,500rpm is never forgotten.
But it’s not just the engine that needs learning, it’s the chassis too. There are two problems, one compounding the other. The first is that the car is incredibly wide, wide enough that even on the open, quiet roads of rural France south of Le Mans where I drove it, it intimidates. The second is that the steering lacks feel, in a way I remember from Ferraris of ten or more years ago and not those of today. Together these factors sap confidence and could make you conclude this was a car only to be seen in, and not to be taken seriously as a driving machine. Which would be a mistake, because once you’ve learned to trust it, you’ll find all the other elements of a seminal driving experience – accuracy, poise, balance and adjustability on the limit – are all there in abundance.