Just 48 hours earlier, ankle deep in what Uncle Monty would have described as ‘beastly mud and oomska’ at the Festival of Speed, I had received a call: would I like to drive a Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale from Goodwood to Monaco, fuelling myself with gourmet grub along the way? I waited a full second before biting their hand off. To whet my appetite, they drove me up the hill in their new Levante SUV. Though I fancied commanding something with a bonnet the length of an oil tanker, the luxury 4x4 was plenty thrilling as it glanced Lord March’s wall.
First thing on Monday morning, we were up and out in my murder-black Stradale and headed for Folkestone with not a minute to lose. The race to Monaco was on.
Apologies for any gratuitous food references in what follows, but these are a key ingredients (pardon the pun) of any road trip worth its salt (dammit). The cars loaded onto a EuroTunnel train, our hosts from the Trident marque produced luxury picnic hampers and I ate scotch eggs and pork pies off the Maserati’s carbon-fibre rear wing as we hurtled under the English Channel.