The Ferrari 296 GTB and the Ferrari 812 Superfast Continue the Ferrari Curse

About 15 years ago or so, Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson proposed a theory about Maranello-based Ferrari and its storied Formula 1 team. By and large, that theory has gone on to prove itself true time and time again. Not only that, but you can trace back much of Ferrari’s history using this theory. And the Ferrari 296 GTB, and its front-engine cousin, the Ferrari 812 Superfast, are perfect examples.

Chris Harris is a sucker for the V12 in the Ferrari 812 Superfast, and rightfully so | Top Gear

Essentially, the Clarkson Ferrari Curse theory states that the boys and girls in Maranello are only capable of doing one thing at a time properly. Either Formula 1, or building road cars, but never, ever both.

The Ferrari Formula 1 team hasn’t been in top form for a while

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel makes his way into the famous Eau Rouge/Raidillon complex at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel at Spa | John Thys via Getty Images

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Put another way, Ferrari can’t build a good road car and a winning Formula 1 car at the same time. The key here is winning. Currently, the Ferrari F1 team is a solid mid-tier team, with drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc eeking out the occasional podium. Also currently, is the dawn of a new V6 era of Ferrari road car with the Ferrari 296 GTB. However, we’re nowhere near the Schumacher/Alonso period of Formula 1 dominance of the early 2000s.

Which, incidentally, proves Clarkson’s theory. Like it or not, Ferrari road cars back then were severely hampered by the brand’s new “F1 Transmission”, which was essentially a precursor to modern dual-clutch automatics. They sucked, they were expensive to maintain, and the stick cars were arguably faster. But, Schumacher was on a four-year winning streak.

The Ferrari 812 Superfast proves Clarkson’s theory

A red Ferrari 812 Superfast shot from the front 3/4 angle
The Ferrari 812 Superfast is, well, super fast | Ferrari

And that brings us to today. Ferrari’s F1 team has been in decline since roughly the debut of the phenomenal F430. Now, we’ve got amazing cars like the Ferrari 296 GTB, and, more importantly, the Ferrari 812 Superfast. First, the 812. Turns out, Maranello meant it when they called the Ferrari 812 Superfast “Superfast.” It’s basically the homogenization of all good things Ferrari.

You’ve got a naturally-aspirated 6.5 liter V12 making near as makes no difference 789 hp. That’s nearly 200 hp more than the Ferrari 296 GTB. The 812 is also RWD and far more comfortable than it has any right to be. And, per the Clarkson Ferrari Curse theory, Ferrari’s F1 arm could use some work, and the Ferrari 296 GTB and the 812 are immaculate.

So does the insane Ferrari 296 GTB

A red Ferrari 296 GTB shot from the front 3/4 angle
The Ferrari 296 GTB spelled the end of Ferrari’s storied V8 | Ferrari

Let’s talk about the Ferrari 296 GTB for a moment. For roughly $321,000 you get 654 hp and 546 lb-ft of torque. You can also option the “Assetto Fiorano” package which makes the Ferrari 296 GTB more track monster than pretty face thanks to different suspension and less weight. In short, the Ferrari 296 GTB is an exciting start to a renewed V6 chapter in the Church of the Prancing Horse. And, more to the point, it proves that Clarkson’s theory is dead-on.

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