Ferrari Challenge champion Florian Merckx has tried out the new Ferrari Roma, revelling in its pure GT spirit and letting himself get carried away by the timeless beauty of its forms
A renewed marriage of elegance and power takes new shape the Ferrari Roma, inspired by the classic forms of the ’50s and ’60s and the Gran Turismos of the past. Among those bewitched by the Roma’s harmonious, elegant proportions is Florian Merckx, champion of the 2016 Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific and a stand-out competitor at the Trofeo Pirelli in the European series. The Belgian took the car out for its debut at the International Media Test Drives. Against the evocative backdrop of the Langhe in Piedmont, Merckx got to try out the extensions made possible by a 3855cc V8 with 620 hp and the outstanding dynamics of the 2+ coupé.
‘Driving the new Roma was a pleasure and an intense moment of happiness,” the Belgian began when he stepped out of the car. ‘I even caught myself starting to smile multiple times because the driving experience was just so pure.’
And he kept smiling throughout much of his journey through the land of Barolo, as he sped through vineyards, round bends revealing postcard views, over hills and rises that inspired frescoes like the ones you see around Montelupo Albese and Serralunga d'Alba, down roads that would delight any driver and bring the Roma’s dynamics to the fore. ‘In terms of handling the car handles like a real GT, very powerful and fun, but it’s still perfect for long-distance travel. Being able to drive it in such a beautiful and varied landscape gave me the chance to make the most of its potential, enjoying it in its natural environment. The feature that struck me most was probably the gearbox, the fluidity and rapidity of the gears shifting is out of this world. I've never experienced anything like it before.’
Merckx went on to talk about the pure aesthetic pleasure that one feels when looking at a Roma. ‘This car was made to be driven, but it is also an absolute work of art in terms of design. The more you look at it, the more you love it.’ A judgment that seems to have been shared by the jury at the Car Design Award, who recently bestowed their prize on the new Ferrari.
‘Sometimes it’s difficult to capture an emotion in words,’ the Belgian ended, ‘but the perfect balance of proportions and the elegance of these forms made me appreciate and understand the hours of research and work that have gone into its creation, leading to a very sophisticated final result. This is without doubt a masterpiece!’