Theme Park of the Day: Knott's Berry Farm

Vote of the week: Which Ferrari would you rather take for a spin?

October 28, 2010, 11:05 PM · Here's a completely trivial question for the week, inspired by this week's aborted opening of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

The indoor theme park in the United Arab Emirates was scheduled to open this week, but delayed its debut until November 4, following the death of one of the leaders of the UAE. The highlight of the new park is to be Formula Rossa, a Ferrari-themed Intamin launch coaster that, at a top speed of 149 mph, will become the world's fastest.

An unprecedented thrill, right? Well, actually, that's what many automobile fans say about the rare opportunity to drive one of the Italian car company's ultra-expensive sports cars. Heck, until I moved to Pasadena, I'd never even seen a Ferrari on the street.

So which would you rather do, if given this delightful choice? Would you rather climb aboard Formula Rossa for a zero-to-149 roller coaster thrill, or climb behind the wheel of a Ferrari for a drive? (To keep this close, we'll say you're limited to street driving with the Ferrari. No closed track.)

Inside the driver's seat of a Ferrari
The world's fastest roller coaster, or this?

I'm really looking forward to the comments on this one.

Replies (11)

October 29, 2010 at 12:34 AM · I would love to drive any ferrari! I currently can only build small replicas of the great cars. Affording a drive or even a simulated theme park ride is out of my league.
October 29, 2010 at 1:06 AM · If it wasn't for that street driving stipulation, this wouldn't even be close. A closed track with a fine-tuned piece of automotive artwork? Please, it would win by a country mile (which it would complete in about 20 seconds). As it is, having a Ferrari driving at normal highway speeds would be just short of criminal. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and Ferraris gotta drive - really, really fast.
October 29, 2010 at 7:13 AM · No speed limits here. Driving the Ferrari at high speed would be fun, but also irresponsible dangerous, no matter how legal. Driving the Ferrari at responsible speed would be rather boring. My small Honda already goes faster than any car should be allowed to go. No need for a Ferrari. So id stick with the coaster, even so that one would probably make me sick.
October 29, 2010 at 7:25 AM · One addition. That reminded me that Europapark used to sell a rental Ferrari car/hotel/park entrance package. They siced down to a rental Porsche now:
October 29, 2010 at 7:43 AM · Pshhh, I don't care much for cars (welcome to my little Ford Focus) so I'd take the coaster.

BUT when I posed this question to my guy friends they lit up and agreed on driving the Ferrari car. When I mentioned you have to follow the road speeds their eyes fell and they started whining...

...until one of them suggested that they would be cool going WAY UNDER THE SPEED limit if they could drive the Ferrari next to a crowded hangout filled with young ladies.

I still pick the coaster

October 29, 2010 at 8:11 AM · The question is vague; if it means that I will own the Ferrari, then it is a no brainer, but if it means to drive someone else's Ferrari, then I prefer to try the coaster.
October 29, 2010 at 11:41 AM · One thing to keep in mind:

On the roller coaster, you don't need any special skill or experience to get the full experience. Just sit down and ride. Everyone gets the same experience.

With the Ferrari, the more you know about driving, the more you'll get from that experience. If you've never driven a high-performance vehicle, if all you've ever driven is a low-end automatic sedan, then driving something like a Ferrari won't feel all that special. It might even feel less comfortable to you than driving a "normal" car.

On another note, since this is a Ferrari thread, I'll tell my story that bags on Lamborghini.

I'm driving my son home from soccer practice one evening, and we're stopped at a light in Old Town Pasadena. There aren't any other cars around, but then we hear the unmistakable throaty roar of something Italian.

Sure enough, a Lamborghini pulls up to our side. Incredibly, the driver starts revving the engine, like he wants to race off the line at the green. I have to laugh, since I'm sitting behind the wheel of a Toyota Echo.

Just for grins, I gun the engine, having no intention of letting up on the brake and racing. In the back seat, Brian laughs.

The light turns green, and I start to pull forward, expecting to see the Lambo logo on the guy's car fading into the distance as he blows me off the line. Instead, I hear this sickening, gargling, choking sound emanating from the Lamborghini.

He stalled it!

As Brian chortled with delight, we drove through the intersection, and I enjoyed the only time in my life that I will see a Lamborghini getting smaller in my rear-view mirror.

October 29, 2010 at 1:01 PM · Wondering why someone would possibly rather ride the ride than drive the car....
October 29, 2010 at 6:09 PM · The ride will accelerate much faster and smoother than I could in the car. Even if I COULD accelerate that fast, I'd be so disoriented I'd likely wind up as a lump of oozing goo in the middle of a blob of metal wrapped around a tree or sticking out of a wall.

No, I'll take the coaster for now, thanks. If I could have the Ferrari for a week, that might be worth it. Then I could work my way up to a challenging drive.

October 30, 2010 at 10:03 PM · I voted drive the Ferrari. This is only a difficult choice if you're thinking "speed limits on public roads" means an F430 Scuderia or Enzo in LA rush hour. Sure those single clutch flappy paddle gear boxes would be a pain in slow, stop-and-go traffic. However, neither the particular Ferrari nor the road was specified. The California, aesthetically and dynamically challenged though it may be, is still a decent drive and a fine GT, as Hammond demonstrated on Top Gear's second quest to find the world's greatest driving road (more on that later). On the right road, even the more track-oriented models would be an absolute joy to drive (see Clarkson in Top Gear's first best driving road episode). The Daytona is a rolling work of art regardless of the setting.

For the right road, a Mulholland or GMR run would possibly do nicely. For those looking for a more sedate drive, many stretches of highway 1 will do. This is just my backyard. There are countless fantastic back-country, mountain, canyon, or coastal roads throughout the US that would be a blast even at legal speeds.

Venturing outside the US, go back to those Top Gear episodes for inspiration. The Stelvio Pass and the Transfăgărăşan are practically made for experiencing the joy of driving even in a supercar. And, still well within the limits of this hypothetical scenario, imagine soaking in the great motoring history of the public road sections of the Circuit de la Sarthe. Though if we have a Ferrari budget on a drive like that, a Ford GT would be the better choice, for obvious reasons.

Now, to soap box a bit, a previous commenter said his or her civic was already faster than a car "should be allowed to go" and notions like that bother me quite a bit. The problem we have today is not cars that are too fast, but people being allowed to operate a motor vehicle who in reality shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel of a golf cart. Modern freeways could be navigated in modern cars by a half-talented driver at speeds well into the triple digits. The problem is, many if not most "drivers" aren't half capable. Car control and solid vehicles dynamics aren't even taught to new drivers in the US, just simple rules of the road, which are promptly forgotten or ignored. Control of the vehicle is way down many licensed operators' priority lists, below talking on the cell phone, eating and drinking, reading, texting, and applying make-up. Most operators can't drive a car with three pedals, much less properly heel-toe. Making vehicles bigger, heavier, stronger, and safer wasn't enough to save careless operators from themselves, so in come the mandatory electronic nannies to take over the breaking and throttle when the operator messes up. (Notice I'm not using the word driver, intentionally). That still wasn't enough, so now we have "blind spot warnings" and automatic collision avoidance braking because looking out the windows is apparently just too demanding of the people we license. In Finland, new drivers have to perform on a wet skidpad to pass their licensing test, among other stringent, performance and competence centric requirements. Now they have the right to be called drivers. It truly is a shame that those who really can drive must be limited by the lowest common denominator and the demands to dumb everything down. Sorry for the rant. This was in no way meant to imply that anyone here is not a good driver. I am only speaking in generalities (dangerous I know) about the larger public's attitudes towards driving and the dangers those attitudes pose for driving enthusiasts, people who have taken the time and effort to hone and develop what I consider to be a nearly lost art.

October 31, 2010 at 2:11 AM · So I actually had to push, yep I know very cowardly of me, but in all fairness I think they both would be nice experiences in their own right. The speed limit on the Ferrari is the equalizer. One week or a week end Ferrari, wouldn't be close either.

@Tyler I agree with some of your points, moistly there's a lot of bad drivers out there. That's a given... But although I don't think speed necessarily is "evil" I think it does creates more dangerous situations out there. Less reaction times to evade the slow drivers and it makes the crashes "if they occur" a lot worst. Especially with those bad drivers out there driving at the "best" their ability's would aloud. (Actually he said little Honda, so I thought s2000 not Civic, but who knows...)

~But I like the idea of the speed especially in a "controlled" environment. Fastest I've ever gone was on a little slope on a stretch of highway here in P.R., it was about 1AM and two of my friends and I were returning from a big party. I got up to 127mph on my 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse, then out of the corner of my eye I see that one car on the left lane ahead tried to pass the car in front of him. He entered our lane to the right at about 50mph!! With about 10 or 15 cars distance I put on the brakes but not all the way cause at that speed even a little touch of the brakes make the car tremble considerably, and is very easy to loose control. So I managed to stop the car with out dying... The words "Road Rage" came to mind. I kept looking at the guy, he didn't look at me (not once)like he didn't even knew what just happened. So I know I was breaking the law, but no matter who was driving I won't cross in front of someone going 100+ miles, driving so slowly. That's the problem with speed, especially with people who can't drive past 60mph and aren't aware of their surroundings. So + 100mph in controlled environment sounds really good...


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