Testing Ferraris

In the course of his years at Ferrari Mike spent an enormous amount of time test driving Ferraris.  Some of these tests took place on circuits, such as the Modena autodrome or the Imola racetrack, but much of the testing was on ordinary roads (unthinkable these days!).  This might mean tearing up and down the autostrada to Rome or Napoli simply to clock up a lot of miles at speed (there were no speed limits on Italian autostrade in those days, and very much less traffic), or driving over the Appenines to Livorno and back to see how the car handled on bends and up steep hills.  Mike was known to steady the wheel with his knees while making notes.  His diaries contain detailed notes on the results of these road tests.  On one occasion, when driving down to Rome, he passed an Alfa Romeo full of policemen going flat out with the sirens wailing; a bit further on he caught up with an other Alfa Romeo, also going flat out – these were the criminals the police were chasing.  Then he slowed down, watched them go past him, and finally overtook both cars again.  When he got back to the factory he told the mechanics he’d been watching a “cops and robbers” film.

Next: GT and prototype racing