On the Fiorano, essentially the problem is, I can't get a 599GTO the way I want one, with a stick. I'll eventually buy one, but I'm in no hurry because they aren't appreciating in value (yet) and won't for some time. So, I turned the GTB into
a GTO, and that's essentially; 1/3 software, 1/3 suspension/diff, and 1/3 engine. I'm 2/3rds of the way there now, we've not taken the heads off and reworked them, though we did replace the fuel pump with the GTO unit, and that made a difference in fuel delivery that was noticeable (also made a difference in fuel consumption, dropping efficiency from a terrible 13 MPG to an abysmal 10 MPG, unless it's simply cruising down the highway, but where's the fun in that?). We were able to separate the damper settings from the throttle response, which was a major deal, because, since the GTB is really a GT car, Ferrari (in their Italian "wisdom") decided that people didn't need to have those separated... if the customer wanted that functionality they'd buy a GTO or a Scuderia. You see where that's going, right? Anyhow, I can now get the instantaneous throttle speed with
damping that doesn't bounce me all over the road (like it does in "corsa"). The brakes are firm but not grabby and they have a consistent feel all the way to the stop, braking from 60 to 0 is 104 feet, which is amazing for a car that has a wet weight of nearly 3800lbs. So we didn't bother upgrading those, we just painted the calipers to make it look like we did.
So, what's left is taking the motor apart and frankly, I don't think it's necessary because the GTO makes 661bhp, or thereabouts, and we're already barking at 644ish. Right now, I'm not getting any clutch slip, and the pedal, while firm, isn't wearing me out. It's easy to get into a good rhythm with the way it's set up (at least for me it is). My mechanic thinks it's insane and calls it "nearly undrivable", but frankly he's used to driving automatics all the time and his manual driving skills aren't what they should be. I'm a better driver than him, there's no other way to say it, and yes
it annoys him to no end.
Where was I? Oh yeah, if we start fiddling again I'm afraid it's going to throw the whole car out of balance, because right now it's at a great place while not being at the bleeding, ragged edge. Essentially we'll need to start over, and I don't want to create more work for us just to eke out another 20 horsepower. One thing that's rather special about it, that you can't really say about most rear-mid-engined supercars, is that in the "normal driving" rev range, up to 5500RPMs, it's fairly relaxed and isn't trying to wear you out, or scare every farm animal within 5 miles with its induction noise. In that zone it behaves like a GT car, albeit one that's more aggressive than most others, so taking it into the city and stopping at traffic lights isn't an exercise in wild animal taming. You get right up to that soft limit and you can feel the car saying, "if you push any harder I'm going to push back" and you can form a type of mutual respect in public (and it won't try to kill you, or eat other cars or pedestrians), which is nice.
I imagine that the flappy-paddle 599 is already like that, more or less, but the stick isn't, and to get it "there" is work and money... to the tune of about $30k + labor (and the use of software and electronics that may not be entirely kosher, especially not with Ferrari themselves). The good thing is, the GTB has dropped like a stone in value, especially in the wake of the new generation of high-performance monsters, and in the USA you can find one for ~$150k if you're patient. Heck, in some parts of the world I hear you can buy them for not much more than what you'd pay for a bag of pretzels.
So even with all the work (a month's worth @ ~200 man hours) it was worth it, as it thoroughly thrashes other cars in its class, like the Merc SLR and Aston DB9. I'm absolutely putting it into my daily driver pool.