By on February 15, 2011

EVO Magazine’s Chris Harris was recently taken to task here at TTAC for daring to diss the Mazda MX-5, a move that had many of our readers bemoaning the out-of-touchness that seems to come with access to the world’s fastest, hottest cars. Now, however, Harris is lashing out the ultimate sacred cow of the performance car world: Ferrari. In a lengthy rant over at Jalopnik, hotshoe Harris lays into Ferrari’s “bullshit-control-edifice,” revealing that Maranello custom-tunes its cars for track tests, fitted non-stock rubber for a 430 Scuderia dyno test, and “turn[s] up at any of the big European magazines’ end-of-year-shindig-tests with two cars. One for straight line work, the other for handling exercises.” Ferrari even prevents its “approved” journalists from borrowing private Ferraris. And, concludes Harris,

The control freakery is getting worse: for the FF launch in March journalists have to say which outlets they are writing it for and those have to be approved by Maranello. Honestly, we’re perilously close to having the words and verdicts vetted by the Ferrari press office before they’re released, which of course has always been the way in some markets.

Should I give a shit about this stuff? Probably not. It’s not like it’s a life-and-death situation; supercars are pretty unserious tackle. But the best thing about car nuts is that they let you drive their cars, and Ferrari has absolutely no chance stopping people like me driving what they want to drive. Of course their attempts to stop me makes it an even better sport and merely hardens my resolve, but the sad thing is its cars are so good it doesn’t need all this shite. I’ll repeat that for the benefit of any vestige of a chance I might have of ever driving a Ferrari press car ever again (which is virtually none). “Its cars are so good it doesn’t need this shite.”

Obviously, this is exactly the kind of media manipulation that has been tolerated by the motoring press for too long. And, based on the fact that a number of online reviews of the new Mclaren MP4-12C have been written without attribution, the pressure put on testers of high-po metal comes from more than just Ferrari. Kudos to Harris for calling out the spin, and here’s hoping these poor practices continue to be brought to light.

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12 Comments on “Chris Harris Exposes The Ferrari Spin Machine...”

  • avatar

    Wow. He’s such a serious journo. How dreamy! *batting eyelashes*

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Porsche operates in precisely the same fashion right here in the United States, which is why my first-ever Porsche press trip was also my last.

    • 0 avatar

      God forgive me for defending you, but:
      I remember the “Guards Pink” comment and it was spot-on.
      Obviously, Porsche knows more about boxer engines than they do about color.
      Greys are usually perceived at the extremes as washed-out-black or dirty-white, which in that GT3RS’s case re-contextualizes the ordinarily red-looking color in the manner you cited.
      If Porsche wanted that red to LOOK red on a predominantly grey car, they should have measured the value-raise above black for that shade of grey, and then commensurately LOWERED the value of the red some factor of that, ie: somewhere toward the Garnet end of things.
      ->Then you have your grey car with wheels that actually appear red.
      (They could have also done a tint-match or compliment in the red if the main was a Chromatic grey.)
      -None of which they’d have to do if the main color were Guards red (scheme-inverted) as it would set the context.
      Obviously Zee Chermanzz are just too grumpy and can’t take any crit.

  • avatar

    I usually quite enjoy his reviews and apparently, enough people do for him to be able to drive a 997 GT3 to work, to which I say kudos.

    To be honest, I also kind of agree with his stance on the MX5. Sure the car is great value, RWD, pretty lightweight etc. But true sports car? Meh. If I think about a real sports car, the MX5 does not come to mind…But we’ve had that discussion already.

    I think it’s unavoidable that he’s going to be critical of some great cars. Most cars he drives are bound to be great but what we’re intersted in is how they stack up to the other great offerings at the same pricepoint. So I’m glad he wrote this article, though I’m thinking some of it may be out of frustration for getting snubbed by Ferrari to attent their press events. I imagine the pizza served at these events could be quite tasty.

  • avatar

    Atleast the GTR is really (or not completely). Egos buy cars on status. Lambo is in business cause of this. Small NA motors in RWD MR cars can only go so far.

  • avatar

    I’m having a hard time navigating Jalopnik…  When did they redesign their site with no real index page and the headline list on the right?

  • avatar

    Having spent a short bit of my life in the professional auto industry, be it Ferrari or GM, it isn’t any surprise that any auto company does this. They have to make the product look competitive.  Not saying its right, but it is the way it is.

  • avatar

    I wonder where Jeremy’s boys gets the cars the Stig tests?
    Also this is why Consumer Reports buys their cars. Granted nobody buying a super car cares about CR dots, but everyone knows the game is rigged, atleast CR has found a work-around.

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