SO, I arrive at Dave Scotts' house to find the 599-GTB there, and I can tell at first glance that it is really something special. Bright and orange and covered with cool stickers that mean things in Italian (what does "Passione" mean in English, I wonder? I gotta get an Italian/English dictionary) the 599-GTB as instantly visible as something really really special. A quick Google of the price tag on one of these things balanced my awe with an equal measure of fear, and it was into the cockpit with me! I did not EXPECT to be impressed by anything with 4 wheels after my airplane adventures, but as soon as I saw the COCKPIT of this spaceship, my head turned. All leather and carbon fiber, with carefully-crafted vents and carbon fiber fairings and fittings and 3-D carbon fiber logos and hand-stitched leather accoutrements on carbon-fiber-chassis racing seats that basically looked like they were having sex without moving, once glance in the cockpit had me realize this was something special. No "ordinary" Ferrari 599 (oh my god.. i cannot believe I just referred to a Ferrari 599 as "ordinary"!), the -GTB is the track model of the 599, with more power, lust, aggression, rpm, and adrenaline, and less weight, cushiness, and muffler. The 599-GTB takes Ferrari' flagship touring car and cranks it up to 11. And then to 12 and then 13 just to prove that they CAN. So much DETAIL. So many shapes, subtle changes in color, textures, and feel, all with exquisite DETAIL.

Getting comfortable in the plush carbon fiber and hand-stitched leather racing seat, I inserted the key like I was inserting key to a missile-system in a Mission Impossible movie, and hit the start button.

Here is a strange question: What does $350,000 SOUND LIKE?
Well, I found the answer that morning: It sounds like a 599-GTB starting.
There is a very rapid chee-chee-chee of the V-12 turning that last a full 3 seconds as the beast primes it's pumps.
Then, as all of the fuel ignites at once, there is a fabulous vaa-ROOOOM!!!!!! as the engine lights like the main boosters of the space shuttle. Just as the hair on the back of your neck hits it's limit, the engine instantly refines itself and goes into a soft, deep, mellow burble, sort of like if a mechanical robot cat purring. And the cat weighs four thousand pounds and can kill you in 3 seconds. (If going 60 miles an hour into something can kill you, which it can).

At this point, I had to creep out of the car and up to the exhaust pipe and put my ear next to it. (Don't send me emails to complain. It's what I do.) Listening to the subtleties of the exhaust note, amongst the smooth, mellow, contented deep base gurgling, I could hear the chicka-chicka-chicka of the valves and pistons from the 599-cubic-centimeter V-12 emanating from the 4 exquisitely machined dual-radius exhaust stacks.

That was when my first hint of respect for the amount of work that must have gone into this car rose to the surface of my consciousness. Little did I know at that moment that while I walked up to that car bored and jaded, by the end of the weekend I would be begging the leader of the club to just let me drive it just one… more… time..

So, with the first hint of respect for the engineering in this beast becoming clear to me, it was off to the Ronald McDonald houses and the news interviews to follow. My driving, at this point, was SLOWER than other traffic on the road due to my primary emotions being fear and concern. The emotion of lust had not moved in yet to overpower those previous emotions, but the weekend had only just started. By the end of the weekend, it would.

Coming out of the Ronald McDonald house news interviews, I began to ease into my comfort zone with this car. At first my driving was timid, just listening to the burble of the V12's exhaust moving through the cars' power-train as the cheap, common SUV's that inhabit South Carolina lumbered around me in traffic, but soon my confidence began to build a I began to feel at home in the cockpit of the Ferrari flagship. Soon, I started to get on the gas a bit, listening to and feeling every nuance of feedback coming back to me from the car: And there was plenty of it, all subtle. At first, you just hear a deep, mellow burble as you roll down that highway at maybe 70 miles per hour or so. The V12 is PURRING, and the mellow rumble moving through the car is calm and soothing. Then, you decide to pass some 'tard going slow in the left lane. This will be an illegal right-lane duck-n-pass, where you drop right, hit it, fly past, and slip diagonally back into the left lane as you fly past the 'tard asleep at the wheel in the passing lane. (OK. My aggressive side was starting to come out.) So you have your smooth mellow gurgle from the complex 12-cylinder engine, and tap the little paddle on the left side of the steering wheel twice, which drops you down instantly from 6th to 4th. The mellow gurgle goes up an octave, but just as you have time to register the sound, you put the gas about halfway down. No, three-quarters of the way down! All of a sudden, the zombi asleep at the wheel in the passing lane starts moving BACKWARDS! In fact, it is not just him, but ALL the other cars on the highway that are moving backwards now! So weird! Now, there is the sound of that crazed tasmanian devil from the old Road-Runner cartoons coming from inside the engine bay: A whirring, pulsing, FRANTIC throbbing of unleashed power that can only last MOMENTS before someone's head explodes. You are past just not the sleeping zombie in the passing lane, who has in-explicably put his car in reverse, apparently, but now carrying an inertia that has ALL the cars on the highway falling rapidly behind you.

And that is the first 3 seconds.

You then get off the gas, but the cars' significant weight and very low drag remain, as you carry your energy past the next dozen cars before you finally just have to hit the brakes. This machine has high weight, low drag, and an incredibly complex, powerful, and efficient engine and transmission, so it BUILDS speed nearly instantly, and then HOLDS IT. It is really just exactly like those Star Trek episodes where the captain says "ENGAGE!" and the stars turn into lines of hyperspace flying at you from the vanishing-point. There is just one command, and the appearance of your whole Universe changes. I actually found myself coming up on slower traffic with just a few miles per hour advantage on them, yelling "ENGAGE!" to myself in the cockpit and then entering hyper-space to pass. If there ever was a starship on Earth, this is it!

Ok so that was maybe three-quarters power, now time to feel the full acceleration of this machine. Off of an on-ramp and then onto the on-ramp at maybe 5 miles per hour. This is my standard 'max-acceleration' move: At the start of the on-ramp, with nothing but empty road in front of you leading onto at least a 2-lane highway, and nary a pedestrian or other car in sight, this is the place I can safely and mostly legally go full throttle from a standstill to noteable speed in any car. Just slowly rolling at the top of the on-ramp, I smoothly but rapidly depressed the pedal to the floor, and the tasmanian devil instantly awoke, the deep base of the now thundering exhaust complimented by the HOWL of the V-12 screaming out its' mechanical pulses. Counter-tuning the deep base and high while the engine managed to make at the same time was the intermittent shrieking of the rubber on pavement as the rear tires came in and out of the skid, the traction control system working brakes and throttle to keep the tires right at the ragged edge of their traction, which, like antilock brakes, involves a certain amount of chirping and hopping as the system finds just where that ragged edge really is. As this is happening, there is a solid 1 G of acceleration pushing you back in the seat, and within about 2 seconds the RPM is at redline, so you tap the paddle to the right of wheel and hit second. The 1 G of acceleration remains, and the tires continue their busy chirping and hopping, as the cars on the highway ahead come to a stop. In another 1 second they cars are moving backwards, and you tap the paddle a second time and the transmissions pops into third gear in an eye-blink. Fear and desired to keep your life and your drivers' license take over,  you get off the gas, but the cars on the highway are still moving backwards as your heart asks your brain whether it is ok to stop racing.

That was about 5 seconds.

My hands shaking just a little, I gingerly returned the supercar to the safety of my garage for the remainder of the day, and as I pulled in I got a phone call from the Ferrari Club president. "Hey Austin, we are way over-mileage for our section of the lap across America, so you really are not supposed to drive that car other than straight home, and also I just wanted to let you know, they have a GPS in that car that sends an email to the central headquarters every time it goes over 80 miles per hour, so be sure not to speed."