Last weekend was the most amazing experience, and anyone who has ever fulfilled a life long dream will appreciate just how I feel. One of my lifelong goals is to own a Ferrari but in the meantime I would be happy to have the opportunity to drive one. Well this weekend part of that dream came true.
So how did this all come about? I was recently in Kiama lunching at the SeaBreeze restaurant when I looked up from my meal, and just at that moment around the corner drove 4 red Ferrari’s led by a red Alpha Romeo. Talk about an amazing sight, not one but 4 of these magnificent machines.
I could hardly contain my excitement so we finished up lunch as quickly as possible and headed over to where the Ferrari’s were parked. Of course this was the perfect photo opportunity and it was at this point that we found out about the Prancing Horse Ferrari Drive Experience.
A little bit of research on the internet was all it took to find that there are both weekend packages and day trips available . I marked ‘Drive a Ferrari’ into my to-do list with a date later in the year. Well, little did I know that my opportunity was going to arrive much sooner than expected.
After booking tickets to the Harv T Ecker (Millionaire Mind) and Richard Branson/Tony Robbins conference events in Sydney we had some free days between the two, so I emailed Matt at Prancing Horse to enquire if they had anything available for those days and it turned out that only the one day trip was available. However, there was a free spot available the week before the first conference, so I booked it. Never let an opportunity pass you by.
We drove up on the Thursday and stayed overnight at the Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport hotel and ordered room service for breakfast as we wanted to head off early to make sure we arrived at Prancing Horse in Marrickville. by 8am. For once the traffic was light and after a momentary glitch when our GPS lost satellite connection, we arrived well before the required time.
And there they were 4 beautiful shiny red Ferrari’s and the Alpha Romeo lead car, all parked in a row.
We were welcomed by Matt and Steve with tea and coffee, pastries and fruit, and we stood around chatting until everyone else arrived. Matt handed out caps with ‘The Ferrari Experience’ written on the side and Prancing Horse on the front. After a few formalities such as filling in the necessary forms and undertaking a breath test, we headed outside for a run down on the quirks of each car.
The fleet of Ferrari’s that we were going to drive over the next two days were:
- Ferrari F430 Spider
- Ferrari 360 F1 Spider
- Ferrari F355 Spider
- Ferrari 328 GTS
Two of the cars are manual (stick shift) and the others are sort of automatic with gear paddles on the steering wheel column.
Before setting off on the road trip, we got to drive each of the cars up and down the road just to familiarize ourselves with how they operate and drive. Once everyone was comfortable we set off.
I get to drive the F430 first, and fall into position behind the lead car. The throaty sound of the engine is awesome and I find this car easy to drive. Stuart tells us to act as if we own the car, but I am too excited to act cool and just love the attention as we move effortlessly through the Sydney traffic. We are stopped at the lights when a young fellow leans out of his truck, grinning from ear to ear and asks how the car handles and how well does it handle spin outs. We laugh and tell him that we haven’t tried spinning out as we don’t think the guys in the lead car would be impressed. ‘Hell’, he laughs, “overtake them, they’ll never catch you”. Very true.
This is an amazing ride, really comfortable. Although I have to change the gears up as we drive, the car automatically changes down when required. It is possible to turn the car to full auto, but I like being able to change gears, it makes me feel as if I am in charge.
After about 45 minutes we pulled over to change drivers, so now it is Paula’s turn. She can’t stop grinning either. We are delighted to experience so much power and yet have such a comfortable pile easy ride. I have heard so many stories about the Ferrari being uncomfortable for long distance driving, but I can assure you this is not the case at all.
Then it’s time to change cars, so we trade in our F430 for the older F355, which is a manual drive. The clutch is very heavy although the gear changes are easy. The one thing we don’t like about this ride is the drone of the engine. It’s very noisy although we can still talk without having to shout. We later find that once the car is doing 100klms + it starts to sing and no longer drones…nice. I get to drive this car all the way to our destination as Paula is not too keen on driving a manual.
We stop at the Seabreeze restaurant for a tasty lunch, which gives us time to chat with the other drivers:
- Kevin from Queensland, is celebrating his 50th birthday along with his wife Debbie,
- Charlie Brown, the Australian fashion icon and her husband Danny are along for the ride after a hectic week at Sydney’s fashion week, where Nikki Hilton modelled Charlies fashions.
- David, who is also celebrating a birthday and his delightful wife Cindy. It turns out that Cindy was going to surprise David but he was backing up her computer and found out about the drive.
- We have a really nice group of people including Matt and Steve our friendly, funny and knowledgeable guides.
After lunch we pile back into the cars and head to Gerringong where we will be staying the night at the Bellachara Boutique Hotel. We are given the option of a double room, twin or separate rooms, so everyone is catered for.
The room is large, clean and very comfortable and we have free movies which is a bonus, although not as much as the free massage that is included in our package.
After the initial shock of finding that I will be having a male masseuse, I settle in and have the best massage I have ever had.
Bellachara has a lot going for it and if you find yourself lucky enough to be staying over, make sure you take advantage of the day spa, you won’t regret it.
Later in the evening we have a delicious 3 course meal and a further chance to reminisce over the amazing day we have all just experienced.
There is nothing like a Ferrari as a showstopper. Its amazing what a drawcard a Ferrari is and when there are four, well you can imagine the reaction. It didn’t matter where we stopped people would gather around for photo ops. And even when we were driving , people would wave, call out or just stop and stare.
The Ferrari Overnight Escape Package costs $2980 for 2 people. We actually think this is a bargain as we have researched other similar drive experiences and they don’t even come close in terms of price for what you get with this package. This is really a once in a lifetime luxury package and well worth the money.
- Drive four different Ferrari s over two days
- Luxury boutique accommodation
- Day spa and massage for two
- 3 course dinner
- 2 breakfasts and lunch
- All fuel included
- Day Trips
If you have limited time or funds, you can opt to take the Prancing Horse Ferrari day trip which costs $990 per person and includes the 4 Ferrari’s, breakfast, lunch, fuel, insurance.
Paula gets done for Speeding
in the Ferrari 360
After a buffet breakfast it’s time to head off back to Sydney. Charlie and Danny aren’t returning to Sydney with us so Paula gets to drive the F360 on her own and I get to drive the F328.
The road winds around so its not possible to open up and let the car go. However, the minute we get to an open spot, Paula plants her foot to see just what the F360 can do. Next thing a shiny red police car spins across the road and pulls her over. Turns out she gets booked for doing 12o klms in an 80 klm zone. Paula is a careful driver and this is her first ever speeding ticket but as she says, “It was worth it”. So after coping a $692 fine, she’s still smiling. Damn it I am usually the lead foot but on this occasion I behaved myself, would have loved to have gone for it.
Now this little escapade was no fault of the Prancing Horse staff. We had dropped back on the winding road and when a free piece of road came up Paula took this as an opportunity to play catch up and just test out the Ferrari’s handling power. Which of course is awesome. Each car has a walkie talkie so that the lead car can keep in touch. This is so handy when your car gets caught at the lights you can let the lead car know what has happened and they pull up to let everyone catch up. I radio through to Matt to let him know that Paula had been pulled over, so he promptly came back. He was so apologetic, but it was in no way his fault. Paula had been a bit naughty and paid the price. So once everything is settled we head down to catch up to the others. Paula is not so keen on driving now, so I hop into the drivers seat which frees up the F328 for one of the other drivers.
And off we go in convoy once again. David is behind us and he drops back so that he can gun his car to catch up again, mind you we all play this game at some time or another during the drive.
Kevin is in front and he takes off at every set of lights. Both guys are thoroughly enjoying their experience. Mind you the ladies are getting quite a kick out of it as well, especially now that each gets a turn to drive solo.
All too soon its time to pull into Barclay St and transfer back to our own car. The end of a truly amazing couple of days.
The Ferrari Drive experience makes and ideal gift and the recipient will love you forever. It’s also great if you just want to treat yourself. The guys at Prancing Horse certainly helped to make this a memorable trip. And we will return for a re-run, thats a certainty.
Here is the Sydney Weekender video that shows you just what you will experience.