This road trip was never going to be like that, particularly if I was to work around the time commitments of my co-drivers. I had already decided to reduce the itinerary from two weeks to one, leaving the car in France and picking it up at a later date. I knew the distance would be easily covered in a week but soon came to realise that other aspects of my plans were a bit ambitious, particularly when you put traffic jams and getting lost into the equation.
As we got caught up in another traffic jam on the outskirts of Modena, it seemed that our plans to drive from Brescia to Maranello (Ferrari), Maranello to Sant'Agata (Lamborghini), and Sant'Agata to Castelfranco Emilia (Pagani) in one day were far too ambitious. Once again we were having navigational issues which only added to the tension and we rolled into Maranello with an hour and a half before we'd have to leave for our arranged tour of the Pagani factory - something I had no intention of missing!
Maranello seems like a place that you could spend a good few hours wandering around. If you like Ferraris then you simply must go there. Having seen only two Ferraris since Spa-Francorchamps, things suddenly and dramatically changed. There were plenty of the new FFs cruising around, the first I have seen. Test drive experiences in Californias were an obvious attraction for visitors and meant that these were also rolling up and down the roads almost constantly. We even saw another F355 parked there, the only other spotted in the course of the journey. The museum is well worth a look, with an excellent room dedicated to the company's motorsport successes over the decades, and lunch at Il Cavallino was a good call by Spencer, who had visited the town once before. For us though, the experience was rushed and the planned visit to Sant'Agata - the home of Lamborghini - was scrapped as we made our way to the Pagani factory at Castelfranco Emilia.
The Pagani factory is a small and unassuming place within an industrial estate on the edge of town, though I am told that they are soon to move to new premises. As you enter the building you are greeted by the sight of two Zonda Rs - racing specification versions of the car that placed Pagani alongside the established supercar royalty - before being given a knowledgeable tour of the small facilities and the practicalities of carbon fibre construction. Having been told it wouldn't be present, we were excited to see that the new Pagani Huayra was parked outside and we would be welcome to look around and sit in it. Apparently this stunning car is currently Horacio Pagani's daily driver.
If you get a chance to visit the Pagani factory, I can strongly recommend it. It is an amazingly welcoming environment and a great opportunity to see how a bespoke, low-volume manufacturer goes about things. They are rightly very proud of their products and talk with passion about the processes.