Say, do you like it when car magazines and websites compare one car to another car? The journalists love them, the readers love them, everybody loves them... except apparently Ferrari, who didn't want a UK magazine doing a video test of their 458 Speciale against the McLaren 650S. Bummer.
The magazine in question is Autocar, who recently did a "supercar shootout" article comparing the two cars. (Spoiler alert, the Ferrari won.) Autocar's readers wondered when they would follow up with a video of their test, as they often do.
But there isn't going to be one. Today Autocar editor Steve Sutcliffe said Ferrari asked them not to compare the two on video at the Castle Combe circuit they booked for the test. Basically, they wanted to see which could get around the circuit fastest. Simple enough question, right?
But when Ferrari got wind of what we were doing, they firmly but politely said no. We could film the cars together on the road, they said, but not on a track. And at that point we called a halt on the comparison video, chiefly because to make cars like these look and sound exciting, you need to drive them with a decent degree of enthusiasm. And to do that, you need to go to a track, not a public road.
Ferrari let them do a video review of the 458 Speciale, which you can see below, but they wouldn't budge on a video test of it against the McLaren. Sutcliffe called the mandate from Maranello "rather baffling," especially after they agreed to loan the Speciale to Autocar for a test in the first place.
Baffling, but maybe not surprising. Ferrari is infamous for heavy-handedness and tight control when it comes to where, when, how and who from the automotive press tests their vehicles. It's a habit that doesn't do them many favors. As Chris Harris said here years ago, it makes the brand look bad and it undermines the hard work of their own engineers.