Ray Massey takes the new Ferrari 488 Pista for a spin with James May

‘How far is it to the test track from here?’ asked my driving companion for the day, as we pulled over on a remote Italian mountainside in Ferrari’s latest supercar, the 488 Pista.

‘About an hour,’ I ventured, looking at the time and distance details on the sat-nav.

‘How long have we got if we’re to make our slot?’ ventured my wingman.

‘About an hour. If we get a move on. Now. Right now. And miss lunch,’ I intoned looking at my watch.

Some wag with a sense of humour at Ferrari had clearly thought it would be a wheeze to pair up yours truly – not exactly the fastest performance car driver in the parish – with ‘Captain Slow’, aka James May, formerly of BBC’s Top Gear and now the Grand Tour for Amazon Prime.

Ferrari teamed up Ray Massey, right, with Grand Tour and ex-Top Gear star James May, left, to test drive the new 488 Pista Race day: Ray and James argue over who was slowest in the Ferrari 488 Pista His nickname from fellow presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond is Captain Slow, but James May is not really a slouch behind the wheel, says Ray Massey The 488 Pista is pretty phenomenal to drive, says Ray, especially for a self-confessed ‘ordinary driver' for whom it makes light work of piloting a supercar The new supercar’s Pista name means track and Ferrari claims it can be both a racer out there and civilised for the road Aerodynamic tweaks mean the  Ferrari 488 Pista also has up to 20% more ‘downforce’ to help keep it rooted to the tarmac A run with a Ferrari test driver in full track mode  was the automotive equivalent of a virtuoso violinist playing a Stradivarius, says Ray Massey A run with a Ferrari test driver in full track mode  was the automotive equivalent of a virtuoso violinist playing a Stradivarius, says Ray Massey

A run with a Ferrari test driver in full track mode was the automotive equivalent of a virtuoso violinist playing a Stradivarius, says Ray Massey

A masterclass by Raffaele behind the wheel with me strapped into the passenger seat was awesome and awe-inspiring.

In full track mode with all the safety key settings off, it was the automotive equivalent of a virtuoso violinist playing a Stradivarius. 

My faffy racing harness came into its own and kept me wedded firmly to my seat during a roller-coaster ride. Few if any drivers will be able to take this car to the limit in the manner of the man who fine-tuned its performance handling.

It’s a far better car than I am a driver and I couldn’t scratch the surface of its capabilities – though Raffaela’s full-blooded no-prisoners circuits did give me a seat-of-the pants insight.

But it’s easy enough to drive for yourself if you don’t feel compelled to push it to the limit

I wonder if James May will buy one? 

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