Chris Harris made his Top Gear debut this evening behind the wheel of the ferocious Ferrari F12 TDF – but Harris hasn’t always had such a good relationship with the Prancing Horse.
In 2011, when Harris wrote a scathing blog post for Jalopnik entitled ‘How Ferrari Spins’, the boys at Maranello were more than a little miffed and knocked him off their list of ‘journos to lend cars to’.
In the article, Harris accused Ferrari of optimising test cars so they did well in magazine performance tests.
He said: “Sad to say it, but the ecstasy of driving a new Ferrari is now almost always eradicated by the pain of dealing with the organisation. Why am I bothering to tell you this? Because I’m p***ed with the whole thing now.
“It’s gotten out of control; to the point that it will soon be pointless believing anything you read about its cars through the usual channels, because the only way you get access is playing by its rules.”
He talked about the Ferrari 360 Modena press car, which was two seconds quicker to 100mph than a customer car he also tested – and a 430 Scuderia with ‘standard’ tyres that stuck themselves to the rollers during a dyno session.
“And this is the nub: how f***ing paranoid do you have to be to put even stickier rubber on a Scuderia?”, he added.
Despite building a reputation amongst enthusiasts for his YouTube videos, Ferrari banned Harris from driving its cars for a number of years.
In 2013, Harris did a review of the Ferrari 458 Spider, quipping “this car belongs to Ferrari, and I’m probably not supposed to be driving it, but I’m not going to dwell on that.”
The car, which was a Ferrari press car, was reportedly loaned to Jeremy Clarkson – who then allegedly lent it to Harris.
After several minutes of testing the 458’s oversteer abilities, Harris concluded that it was “an absurdly good car to drive.” The video got well over a million YouTube views. Soon after, Ferrari called a truce with Chris Harris and started loaning him cars again.