The new Ferrari SF90 Stradale was never going to be slow, but I didn’t realize the 986-horsepower supercar could be fast enough around the Top Gear track to not only beat a LaFerrari but also to best the current track record, held by the Ferrari 488 Pista.
The TV show may have changed a lot over recent years, but the Top Gear track that the various hosts have been playing on is still mostly the same, at least when it comes to setting production-car lap times to compare against one another. It has been a Top Gear tradition since the first season of the current format, all the way back in October 2002.
So when it comes to record times, in a way, the show’s test track and its loyal wheelperson, the Stig (who is admittedly played by several professional drivers, not always a single person), have been keeping track of at least the television world’s title for fastest production car for sale.
The first episode of the show’s 29th season, hosted by Chris Harris, Andrew Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness, featured the SF90 setting a time of 1:11.3. That beats the previous lap record holder, the 488 Pista, which had posted a time of 1:12.7. While the full trinity of the turn-of-the-decade hybrid supercars has never run the full Top Gear track to set lap times, the LaFerrari is the one that has. Both the new SF90 Stradale and the 488 Pista were far quicker than the LaFerrari’s 1:14.20 lap.
What’s funny is that it was Harris himself who broke the story on how Ferrari has a tendency to goose the cars it hands out for review — needlessly! The Ferrari factory does everything it can to beat the latest Lamborghini, Porsche or McLaren.
But this is a Ferrari beating other Ferraris. We know the cheating is at least consistent.
Powering the new record-setter is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that really sounds the business in the Top Gear video. The powertrain also features an in-line electric motor-generator unit mounted to the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, which helps to boost output to the combined 986 HP figure.
It also offers a whopping eight miles of electric-only range, according to fueleconomy.gov. You could use it, but then you probably aren’t going to be able to break records when you get where you’re going. Be careful.