FRN - Virtual Car Reviews
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From the Ferry to the Festival
(BMW M4 with "FRN" tag next to the BMW M3 E92)
As a person who enjoys almost every aspect of the automotive world, when a huge PR advertisement goes out stating there's to be a huge festival centered around cars and music happening in southern Europe, one would obviously jump at the chance. Alongside the commonplace hatchbacks, sedans, coupes and sports cars, there's the chance to spot some rare machines both from the past and from the present. That's not to say the tuning communities won't be present as well, with many drivers turning up in their own personalised machines. This is going to be good.
(Modified Hyundai Veloster Turbo)
I still can't believe I'm on a ferry packed with cars from all manufacturers and tastes. Even a quick glance over the balcony which looks down onto the transport deck reveals a rich mix of automotive culture. On the same deck, parked right next to each other sits a striking red Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2, a customised silver Ford Focus RS (looks like the first generation to me) which appears ready to tackle the rough terrain of the Italian countryside and a bold yellow Lamborghini which I've never seen before, though listening to other people on the ferry...it can only be the coveted new Huracán. I've never been so entranced by all these different cars until the announcement broke over the tannoy that we are due to arrive in Castelletto shortly.
(Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale taking part in the Il Tricolore Aereo event)
It's almost like an unspoken signal. As soon as the boarding ramp begins to drop, the harmonious noise of engines of all types fills the transport deck. Rasping four-cylinders, growling V6's, V8 monsters that seem to purr at first, then roar in delight of the open road ahead. At the top of the scale, the V10 power plants sing their shrill tone and mighty V12's scream as they bounce off their limiters. The smell of high performance engineering fills the ferry, until sunlight cascades through the open bay now the boarding ramp has dropped. My attention is on the Huracán, poised right at the front. I always like a new car that hasn't quite been seen by the public yet, this one is no exception to the rule. As soon as the ferry crew gave the all clear to depart the transport deck, the Huracán is off with neck-snapping speed and a ravenous snarl from that ten cylinder masterpiece of an engine. Blink and you'll miss it!
(Lamborghini Countach LP5000 QV at Sisteron Abbey)
Being a spectator at events like these means you catch sight of everything. The fleet of cars departing the ferry is indeed a varied bunch, including some rather fierce looking vehicles which are sitting towards the rear of the ferry. One is instantly recognisable as a Bowler EXR S, a mad creation which looks like a Land Rover on steroids. The others...well, one looks like a new-shape Dodge Ram, which has been lifted clear of the ground on huge tires and beefy suspension. A stripped cargo bed carrying nothing but a rollbar and a spare tyre, coupled with bull bars sticking out from under the front grille give it a lot of presence as it rolls off the ferry. The other gives no indication, yet is well kitted out to be a purpose built off-road vehicle. The only clue are the words "Rally Fighter" emblazoned across the front bumper. I can only assume - after watching those monsters depart in a flurry of noise and much tyre squealing - that this festival is going to have quite a few off-road events to keep the crowds entertained. Better head off myself to the main festival hub!
(Bowler EXR S fending off a modified Ford SVT Raptor)
My only downside to being a spectator at a festival where a lot of the cars are performance based? My rental car! It was nice of the PR team to arrange transport for me to get from town to town, but a Ford Ka? Really? It's like sitting in a sardine tin on wheels with an engine! Fortunately, it's got all the mod cons I need to carry out my journeys in relative comfort. Mind you, with some information I got passed upon boarding the ferry, I doubt I'll be using the Ka unless I have to hit a different town. That's all I know, though I've been told I need to meet one of the event staff at the main festival hub. I'll keep you posted!