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Chris Harris: Ferrari Are Cheats

 
  #61  
Old 03-23-2011, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by emadelta86 View Post
I don't think anyone would dump his F car for this, they are still awesome to drive, regardless of what numbers say. And there's more in them than just acceleration numbers IMO.

My P car is way faster than, say, an F360, but I bet it's still much more boring to drive than the F car.

This is why I hate Ferrari as a company...why in hell do they act this way when they have no need (IMO) to desperately demonstrate their cars are the fastest out there?


When Chris Harris tested the Scuderia, he found it to be an incredible car to drive, regardless of the numbers...
Very well said , but the other thing is Ferrari does have competition when they did not for so long in the 360/430 class. The numbers may sway someone when it comes to picking between a Gallardo and a 360 or 430/458 or Gallardo. Aston Martin has proven that the numbers alone are not the decision maker for the average exotic car owner. But I think when faced with indecision that they help make the decision.
 
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:11 PM
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And that precisely proves Harris's case: Ferrari are needlessly paranoid about this because their cars should be good enough to stand on their own.
Ferrari's justification for it in the Telegraph article linked by av2 is fairly laughable.
"Ferrari has refuted the charges, claiming that it is merely preparing its cars to perform at their peak in such closely fought road tests, where every nuance of chassis behaviour and every hundredth of a second counts.
Stefano Lai, Ferrari’s communications director, denies Harris’s charges, but admits that for the Ferraristi, those fabled, obsessive fans of the Italian marque, every second counts. 'For most Ferrari owners,' he says, 'these things are not important.'"

This rather strange explanation makes their actions seem even more bizarre: What other company goes to such lengths just to appeal to rabid fanboys? One would guess that a press car provided by Ferrari were already performing at peak level the moment it leaves the factory. No need for further diagnostics during the actual test.
And no, that Telegraph article does not prove that "everybody has been doing it." It doesn't address the issues of Ferrari's meddling with customers whose cars are not "approved" by Ferrari for press testing, nor does it address Ferrari providing different cars for different disciplines (road vs track).
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Guibo View Post
No, he's been reporting Ferrari's tactics for quite some time.
Ex:
http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2552

Did you catch eCOTY around Nov-Dec? This was published somewhere in that issue.
"Notable Absentee: Ferrari 599 GTO
At times, Ferrari can seem like a 'glass half empty' sort of company. Having two Ferraris in the Car of the Year, the 458 Italia and the 599 GTO, would have meant one of them would end up a loser. So although we raved about this more focused, iconically badged 599, this 661bhp halfway house between the delectable standard model and the fabulous, track only 599XX, Ferrari declined the invitation, citing a lack of press cars. We offered to find an owner's car, but Ferrari said if we did they'd pull the 458..."
On the day that Evo went to a wet track, a Ferrari crew were on hand to change the 458's tires:
http://img52.imageshack.us/f/evo17.jpg/
Both the GT3 RS and GT2 RS were left to contend with the wet track on their Cup tires.

Nick Trott, another of Evo's editors, can vouch for Harris. Sometime after the GTO/GT2 RS twin-test (in which a customer Ferrari was used), he published a "falling out" he'd had with a major manufacturer, though he wouldn't specifically name which one:
"'I've fallen out with a major manufacturer. Press officer wouldn't speak to me at the Paris show. Arguments rumble on about using non-press cars in features."
http://www.pistonheads.co.uk/xforums...6&mid=41970&hm=

C&D can also vouch for Harris's contention that Ferrari interferes when customer cars not approved by them might be used:
"a funny thing happened as we began contacting the 11 men who had F50s parked in their garages. Either they recited what sounded like a prepared FNA public-relations speech, which always began, 'Numbers have nothing to do with Ferraris. The cars are about soul and emotion and a rich heritage.' Or the F50 lessee enthusiastically replied, 'Sure, let's do it, where do you want to test?'
Then, among those who said yes, one of two things would happen in short order. Once we'd reserved a track and the test drew near, they'd stop returning our calls and faxes. All contact would cease. That happened four times. Or an even stranger response would manifest. The lessee would sheepishly call to announce: 'I'd still like to let you test my car, but I can't. Fer­rari doesn't think it's a good idea.'"
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/..._f50-road_test

C&D can also vouch for the use of 2 different test cars in its 599 article:
"For testing, Ferrari supplied a different 599 than this one, although equipped the same. Minded by a couple of Puma-shod technicians..."
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...rano-road_test
Download the spec sheet on the test car and you'll see it wasn't even a US-spec car (odometer reading in km's). Their photographer gives more insight about that test:
"Back when the 599 came out I was assigned to photograph it for a story, Ferrari brought two cars, one for us to do numbers testing and one for the photoshoot/driving impressions. A group of technicians spent hours mapping the test car, setting up the launch control and brought Rafaelle de Simone, their factory test driver to drive it and show the writer how to get the best times out of the car (despite it being a no brainer with launch control and paddle shifters). They also only let the writer do three runs for the acceleration tests. The car did something like 3.2s to 60 which was much faster than it should have been given it's supposed power to weight.
We drove off with the other car for a multi-day trip into the mountains, but were forbidden to do any numbers testing on it."
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/1557508-post20.html

As for the 360M, here is its performance as listed back in the day:

If you think tuning isn't involved when a 360 matches a Murcielago for 100-150 (and beats a 996 GT2), then I don't know what else there is to say. This would be akin to GM providing a ZR1 that's as fast as a Koenigsegg, which to my knowledge, has never been provided. I seem to recall that Autocar's Steve Sutcliffe also wondered how that car could have been so rapid, when asked by a reader how the subsequently tested 360CS could be so much slower (100-150 in 13.8s vs the "standard car's" 11.3).

Speaking of Sutcliffe, he can vouch for Harris's claim that Ferrari has asked ahead of a comparo to see where it would take place, so they can send a car ahead and set the car just right (again, note that 2 cars were provided):

Check the video of the actual event, and watch @ 1:34:
http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-video/b...ar-2010-video/

What other manufacturer brings their own fuel to a test? And is it unreasonable to assume the ECU has been tuned to make the best of it?

Speaking of possibly tuned ECU's, why does Ferrari feel the need to bring equipment to plug into a car's diagnostics port? Ex: Evo's test of the Scuderia:

Their comments from that test:
"When we test any other car, it is delivered to the office and gets collected a few days later. Not a Ferrari. Their cars come from the factory with a support crew, which today includes an engineer, a technician and a test driver to check that the car is as it should be and offer advice on how to get the best out of it. The surprise is that today the test driver is a bloke called Marc Gene. Yup, Ferrari’s F1 test driver will do a couple of laps of the West Circuit before handing over to me."
http://www.evo.co.uk/trackdays/track..._scuderia.html

As for the 599 being adjusted for handling, that's entirely possible. A crew were on hand for that test too. In a failed attempt to beat the Gallardo's time, they changed out the front wheels to optional 20in rims to try to reduce understeer:
http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/evoc...b_fiorano.html

I can't think of another manufacturer that has changed out only front wheels in another test.

There are other examples of this (Ferrari crew in support of the 599 @ Auto Motor und Sport's high speed comparo, crew support for the F430S vs ZR1 in French Sport Auto, crew support for the California in Car's PCOTY test, 2 Californias provided for Evo testing, etc.), but surely this is enough to prove Harris isn't pulling stuff outta his ***, no?
Right, all of these so called "cheating" are AGAIN assumptions. Because they brought their own fuel, they "must have" mapped the ECU. Changed to optional 20" wheels... is that really cheating? Those optional wheels and tires can be ordered on production cars, right? Adjusted for handling and entirely possible? Assumption, again. Why does plug in to car's diagnostics port means a tuned ECU? Assumption. Based on the stats numbers on the list of cars, yes, the 360 seem unreasonable fast. Seriously, the Murci was unreasonably slow. Assuming Ferrari turned the 360 based on the test numbers. Based on your reasoning, Lambo MUST have detuned their Muci to make their car perform so slowly.

As with the C&D's 599 with km none US-spec comment, the gray 599 in the photos has a MPH speedo! About Ferrari not approving the use of customers' cars. Different customers have cars with different tire, wheel and brake options. Maybe Ferrari doesn't want editors to pick out a customer's car with worn tires, brakes etc. Who the hell knows... Chris Harris should back up his accusations better with facts and proofs.
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:44 AM
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i don't really see the big deal. most of us purchase the cars we do because we appreciate what they are capable of and hope to, at best, in our ownership, reach 7 or 8 10ths of that level. 99.9% of car owners don't ever reach their cars potential, even owners that are avid track enthusiasts. so what's the big deal if ferrari raises the bar for marketing purposes to exhibit what the car is capable of when in peak form for each specific situation?

i've always hated ferrari's arrogance and classist business practices. but i don't see an issue with the alleged "cheating".
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Guibo View Post
This rather strange explanation makes their actions seem even more bizarre: What other company goes to such lengths just to appeal to rabid fanboys?
none that i am aware of; however, i also do not know of any company that makes as much or more in any given year on the sale of sweatshirts, pumas and licensing of merchandise than their actual cars.
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by imolazhp_ci View Post
none that i am aware of; however, i also do not know of any company that makes as much or more in any given year on the sale of sweatshirts, pumas and licensing of merchandise than their actual cars.
True, you mean you don't own a Ferrari laptop? lol. I was racing at Sebring once and there was a guy there in a 430 Scud decked out in "Ferrari" racing shoes, jacket, gloves etc... you would have thought he was a pro indy driver.... until he got on the track and sucked donkey ***** , he was getting passed by M3's. Obviously he's never been on track before, but seriously your gonna come dressed like that lol
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:11 PM
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IMO, things need to be AUTHENTIC. Otherwise people feel hoodwinked or duped.

Adding too many qualifiers into the mix undermines the manufacturer's credibility. You brought 114 "Trick" fuel? Ok, state as much. You "tuned" the car? Ok, tell us what you did. The cars did, in fact, do what was tested, didn't they? So, it's not an outright lie, but it's misrepresentative to suggest that YOUR car, as is, will do what the test car did.

CW
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Guibo View Post
And that precisely proves Harris's case: Ferrari are needlessly paranoid about this because their cars should be good enough to stand on their own.
Ferrari's justification for it in the Telegraph article linked by av2 is fairly laughable.
"Ferrari has refuted the charges, claiming that it is merely preparing its cars to perform at their peak in such closely fought road tests, where every nuance of chassis behaviour and every hundredth of a second counts.
Stefano Lai, Ferrari’s communications director, denies Harris’s charges, but admits that for the Ferraristi, those fabled, obsessive fans of the Italian marque, every second counts. 'For most Ferrari owners,' he says, 'these things are not important.'"

This rather strange explanation makes their actions seem even more bizarre: What other company goes to such lengths just to appeal to rabid fanboys? One would guess that a press car provided by Ferrari were already performing at peak level the moment it leaves the factory. No need for further diagnostics during the actual test.
And no, that Telegraph article does not prove that "everybody has been doing it." It doesn't address the issues of Ferrari's meddling with customers whose cars are not "approved" by Ferrari for press testing, nor does it address Ferrari providing different cars for different disciplines (road vs track).
Choose what you read and believe. I usually give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and not guilty until proven otherwise. I watched the video you linked above. In the video, there were 2 people putting gas in the 458. What makes you think the guy in the vest is from Ferrari? The video didn't further state the fuel was provided by Ferrari, nor is it a special petrol. If someone tested the fuel brought by Ferrari's crew and provided a report, then that's proof. If someone took a screen shot of the laptop with modified settings different from stock settings, then that's proof. If pictures of slick tires were provided on these test cars, then that's proof. If the suspension had aftermarket parts and not sold as options to buyers, than that's proof. All you do is make wild assumptions and jumping into conclusions. I don't see Ferrari as "paranoid" for being so involved in these tests. Another way to look at it is that Ferrari take their image and products more seriously than others. Therefore, people have to pay high dollars plus having to wait years to get into a new Ferrari.
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:11 PM
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Having owned and raced Ferraris for more than 20 years, I can tell you that SpA is indeed paranoid. A paranoid marketing juggernaut.

CW
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CornersWell View Post
IMO, things need to be AUTHENTIC. Otherwise people feel hoodwinked or duped.

Adding too many qualifiers into the mix undermines the manufacturer's credibility. You brought 114 "Trick" fuel? Ok, state as much. You "tuned" the car? Ok, tell us what you did. The cars did, in fact, do what was tested, didn't they? So, it's not an outright lie, but it's misrepresentative to suggest that YOUR car, as is, will do what the test car did.

CW
Very well said as has been proven with Aston Martin, people don't mind buying a DBS knowing that its slower than a Gallardo or 458 because Aston does not artificially enhance there perforrmance numbers. And there are many more quantifiable and unquantifiable reasons to buy cars of this caliber.

But to mislead potential and real owners as to what there car is capable of is just wrong in my opinion. Especially when you are Ferrari and so many people aspire to one day experience Ferrari ownership.
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by av2 View Post
Choose what you read and believe. I usually give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and not guilty until proven otherwise. I watched the video you linked above. In the video, there were 2 people putting gas in the 458. What makes you think the guy in the vest is from Ferrari? The video didn't further state the fuel was provided by Ferrari, nor is it a special petrol. If someone tested the fuel brought by Ferrari's crew and provided a report, then that's proof. If someone took a screen shot of the laptop with modified settings different from stock settings, then that's proof. If pictures of slick tires were provided on these test cars, then that's proof. If the suspension had aftermarket parts and not sold as options to buyers, than that's proof. All you do is make wild assumptions and jumping into conclusions. I don't see Ferrari as "paranoid" for being so involved in these tests. Another way to look at it is that Ferrari take their image and products more seriously than others. Therefore, people have to pay high dollars plus having to wait years to get into a new Ferrari.
If you really look at the specifics, even of say the 458 launch you would know that Chris Harris is not the only one to have concerns. At different times many of the manufacturers have done it but usually not as drastic as what has been described. The 599 GTB for instance running 3.2 to 60 in one test and no one ever running faster than 3.6 to 60 in any tests after.

Figuring out if a car is underperforming based on power to weight and trap speed is not hard, neither is showing a car to have more power. Interestingly enough look at the 458 , the wet and dry curb weights are all over the board. What does the car really weight wet and dry? 3200,3350, 3000 lbs? Just that alone makes it hard and very sneaky as to determining what kind of power and how fast the 458 is.

And than look at the 458 stats , what is its true trap speed. From 128 - 136 with production car tolerances does that make any sense to you? 8 mph of trap speed describes a significant power difference believe it or not. No other cars show such variance in trap speed in different test as the 458 does.
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:52 PM
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There was a BIG brouhaha when the Stradales were delivered. The cars weren't even close to the weight SpA claimed in their marketing materials. Now, while that's a bit of a disappointment, it wasn't enough for me to not want the car. It's exquisite, as is. Frankly, I don't care if it's 200kg heavier or .5 sec slower to 100km/h.

OTOH, IF you purchased your car solely on the performance figures and statistics, I can understand that you feel let down. In the end, though, there are LOTS of reasons to buy Ferraris. Performance is merely one aspect. Yes, it's good to know the car is fast, but does it matter if it's the fastest?

CW
 
  #73  
Old 03-24-2011, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by av2 View Post
Right, all of these so called "cheating" are AGAIN assumptions. Because they brought their own fuel, they "must have" mapped the ECU. Changed to optional 20" wheels... is that really cheating? Those optional wheels and tires can be ordered on production cars, right? Adjusted for handling and entirely possible? Assumption, again. Why does plug in to car's diagnostics port means a tuned ECU? Assumption. Based on the stats numbers on the list of cars, yes, the 360 seem unreasonable fast. Seriously, the Murci was unreasonably slow. Assuming Ferrari turned the 360 based on the test numbers. Based on your reasoning, Lambo MUST have detuned their Muci to make their car perform so slowly.
As with the C&D's 599 with km none US-spec comment, the gray 599 in the photos has a MPH speedo! About Ferrari not approving the use of customers' cars. Different customers have cars with different tire, wheel and brake options. Maybe Ferrari doesn't want editors to pick out a customer's car with worn tires, brakes etc. Who the hell knows... Chris Harris should back up his accusations better with facts and proofs.
Then tell me why they brought their own fuel? Do you see anyone else providing their own fuel for a test? Why else would you plug in diagnostics at a track test if the car has already been vetted by the factory? Is it absolutely preposterous to think this could be happening? Don't forget: Ferrari had already brought their car and team to that track before the test. Clearly they were not happy about coming 2nd best to the GT3 RS even after having scouted the track beforehand.
20" front wheels, done for the expressed reason of suppressing understeer. The question is not whether customers order their cars like that (I'd be surprised if an owner ordered larger front wheels for that very reason). The question is: Is this car representative of a typical production model that has been released for road use? Apparently not, or else they'd all have the same front wheels. Name for me another manufacturer that has done this in 3rd party testing.

That Murcielago didn't seem unusually slow. TopGear timed one in 10.7s for 100-150, and to my knowledge, they don't test with a passenger like Autocar does. A 360 Modena being within even 0.6s of a Murcielago is too good to be true. Just check the trap speed on that Autocar Murcielago: 119 mph. Compare with other Murcielago tests.
TopGear: 120.3 mph
Automobile Magazine: 119 mph
R&T: 121 mph
Car & Driver: 116 mph
It's not the fastest, but it's also not the slowest.

Now, compare that 360 Modena result (11.3s for 100-150, 119 mph trap) to some others.
C&D: 100-150 in 18.5s, 110 mph
R&T: 112.5 mph
Motor Trend: 113.5 mph
Autocar, 360CS: 100-150 in 13.8s, 117 mph
Motor Trend, 360CS: 114.1 mph
C&D, 360CS: 100-150 in 14.4s, 115 mph
C&D, F430 (customer car): 100-150 in 14.4s, 116 mph

Of course the grey 599 in C&D's photo has a speedo in mph. That wasn't the one that was tested for numbers.

Worn tires and breaks already on the GTO? Get real. I get it: only Ferrari customers wear out their tires and brakes. Not Porsche, GM, etc? Like I said, which other manufacturer really gives a crap?
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by CornersWell View Post
There was a BIG brouhaha when the Stradales were delivered. The cars weren't even close to the weight SpA claimed in their marketing materials. Now, while that's a bit of a disappointment, it wasn't enough for me to not want the car. It's exquisite, as is. Frankly, I don't care if it's 200kg heavier or .5 sec slower to 100km/h.

OTOH, IF you purchased your car solely on the performance figures and statistics, I can understand that you feel let down. In the end, though, there are LOTS of reasons to buy Ferraris. Performance is merely one aspect. Yes, it's good to know the car is fast, but does it matter if it's the fastest?

CW
If per say you considered a Superleggera heavily but a Scuderia was also very close would the numbers not perhaps sway you in either direction if the cars were equally desirable to you?

If you purchased a Patek Phillipe with a tourbillon movement and upon closer inspection realized that it was a quartz movement. It does not make it any less of a Patek Phillipe but it also is not what you were promised and what you paid for?
 
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Guibo View Post
Then tell me why they brought their own fuel? Do you see anyone else providing their own fuel for a test? Why else would you plug in diagnostics at a track test if the car has already been vetted by the factory? Is it absolutely preposterous to think this could be happening? Don't forget: Ferrari had already brought their car and team to that track before the test. Clearly they were not happy about coming 2nd best to the GT3 RS even after having scouted the track beforehand.
20" front wheels, done for the expressed reason of suppressing understeer. The question is not whether customers order their cars like that (I'd be surprised if an owner ordered larger front wheels for that very reason). The question is: Is this car representative of a typical production model that has been released for road use? Apparently not, or else they'd all have the same front wheels. Name for me another manufacturer that has done this in 3rd party testing.

That Murcielago didn't seem unusually slow. TopGear timed one in 10.7s for 100-150, and to my knowledge, they don't test with a passenger like Autocar does. A 360 Modena being within even 0.6s of a Murcielago is too good to be true. Just check the trap speed on that Autocar Murcielago: 119 mph. Compare with other Murcielago tests.
TopGear: 120.3 mph
Automobile Magazine: 119 mph
R&T: 121 mph
Car & Driver: 116 mph
It's not the fastest, but it's also not the slowest.

Now, compare that 360 Modena result (11.3s for 100-150, 119 mph trap) to some others.
C&D: 100-150 in 18.5s, 110 mph
R&T: 112.5 mph
Motor Trend: 113.5 mph
Autocar, 360CS: 100-150 in 13.8s, 117 mph
Motor Trend, 360CS: 114.1 mph
C&D, 360CS: 100-150 in 14.4s, 115 mph
C&D, F430 (customer car): 100-150 in 14.4s, 116 mph

Of course the grey 599 in C&D's photo has a speedo in mph. That wasn't the one that was tested for numbers.

Worn tires and breaks already on the GTO? Get real. I get it: only Ferrari customers wear out their tires and brakes. Not Porsche, GM, etc? Like I said, which other manufacturer really gives a crap?
When someone like Corners Well comment I listen due to his extensive experience with Ferrari. So there is no point in even responding to AV2 who I am sure is responding to you on his Ferrari laptop looking upon the screen with Ferrari sunglasses. Very good post , very good!

I remember coming upon a 360 Modena one day on the Freeway thinking with 119 mph traps my car would have a fight on its hand. ( And facing the prospects of an empty nitrous bottle). My car at the time should have trapped about ~ 121 N/A.

From 60 mph the amount of distance I put between him and I bordered on astonishing here I was leaving a Ferrari behind like I normally left a stock C5 Corvette behind (~110 mph trap speed normally). I remember coming home and staring at all the numbers and trying to see why there was such a huge discrepancy with the numbers.
 

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Quick Reply: Chris Harris: Ferrari Are Cheats


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