One of my favorite drives in the F50 was an early morning dash from Madrid to Lisbon in the early fall. We were up early and able to clear the city well ahead of traffic. Once off the outer ring road, it is a nearly straight 400 mile shot. At that time of day, you have the road to yourself and the temptation to let the F50 run is very hard to resist. Swing down off the slip road, shift up into 3rd, open up the throttle, and let it run to 8000 rpms. Hold it there for a few moments and soak in the sound of pure power before quickly slotting into 4th. Allow the rev counter to swing towards north again and repeat. Once into 6th, it was time to pick a cruising speed to hold. With the roads to our self, the F50 dispatched the miles in short order. At the 200 mile mark we crested a small hill to find a pair of Guardia Civil cruisers parked on the side of the road with the officers standing around having their morning coffee. Resisting the primal instinct to brake, we just waved and kept on going. Fortunately, they just waved back, we even got a thumbs up from one. Shortly after we crossed the Portuguese border and bid the highway farewell. While the F50 is brilliant at crushing distances, it is the most fun when carving up a good country road. Power, brake, drop into 2nd, turn in, hold the power steady, wait for the corner to open up, and then add power again. Repeat a few hundred times over the next couple of hours. Do it all smoothly and the F50 stays absolutely cemented to the road. Far too quickly we closed the distance to the Tagus River so it was back on the highway to cross the bridge over into Lisbon. By now it was approaching late morning and the heat was beginning to build. With the Barchetta set up, you don’t notice this at all until you have to crawl in traffic for a bit. Once clear of the city, it was next up into Sintra for a quick spin around the mountain and then down the coastal cliff road before heading to Cascais for lunch. The cliff road from Sintra to Cascais is one of the better driver’s roads in Portugal. Get it right and it rewards, make a mistake and the next stop west is New York. Good brakes, confidence, and a chassis you trust are key to a good run. The views down the cliffs to the Atlantic make it worth the trip. With the V12 echoing off the hills, down the mountain we went and then all too suddenly it was over. We parked at the restaurant by the beach and let the F50 tick over and cool for a few minutes. Four hundred plus miles had come and gone and I was really not ready to stop.
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