We’ve been on a thrilling grand tour with Ferrari’s 211mph F8 Tributo

I’ve just been on a fabulous grand tour in Italy – on the road, on track and even in the workshop – with the scintillating new 211mph Ferrari F8 Tributo.

And fittingly for the most powerful V8 in Ferrari’s history I had as my driving partner for the road-trip from the firm’s headquarters at Marenello the engaging Yorkshire-born professional racing driver and coach Abbie Eaton – who is also test-driver on Amazon Prime TV’s ‘Grand Tour’ hosted by former BBC Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

Doubly fitting, as the last time I drove a V8 Ferrari, the 488 Pista, I was paired up with Mr May himself for what turned out to be – for a Ferrari at least – a relatively, leisurely but no less entertaining drive.

Grand Tour: Ray Massey took the Ferrari F8 Tributo for a first drive near the manufacturer's headquarters at Marenello with professional racing driver and coach Abbie Eaton, who is also test-driver on the Amazon Prime car show Daily Mail motoring editor Ray Massey tried the £203,476 Ferrari for size at the global launch of the Italian brand's latest supercar model The new design includes this S-duct in the bonnet, which inhales air from below and directs it over the bodywork to generate downforce The new leaner, meaner and lighter Ferrari V8 Tributo is successor to the 488GTB and it is named 'in tribute' to the award-winning V8 engine beating at its heart which has been named four times Engine of the Year If you want one, you better be willing to wait as there's a waiting list of 12 to 18 months. Loyal and long-standing customers, who already have garages filled with Italian Stallion emblazoned supercars - are at the head of that queue already Ray Massey gets to the grips with the 211mph supercar on the twisting roads around northern Italy After a stint on the road, Ray was given access to Ferrari's Fiorano test track to push the F8 Tributo to its limit. Or close to, at least All Ferraris have to be pretty, and the F8 Tributo doesn't disappoint. It's a well-proportioned car with plenty of drama The new Tributo has 50 more horsepower yet weights 40kg lighter than the 488GT it replaces, according to Ferrari's spec sheet Despite the Tributo's stunning looks and awesome acceleration from rest to 62mph in just 2.9 seconds and to 124mph in a cracking 7.8 seconds, it is an unexpectedly easy car to live with. We might even dare to call it an 'everyday' Ferrari Other tweaks reducing the weight include a carbon-fibre rear spoiler, a rear-window in Lexan material, which is lighter than glass and gives a gorgeous view of the mid-rear engine below, and bumpers made from lighter plastic materials 'It really is a cool car': The F8 Tributo needs to be as it has to reduce the heat generated by the engine's extra horsepower and achieves a 10% reduction in thermal performance Ray says the car is remarkably easy to use when dawdling through town amid low speed traffic, and very comfortable and yet still very engaging as a grand tourer on the open road After spending plenty of time in the driver's seat, Ray said the F8 Tributo is surprising comfortable inside on long journeys, mainly thanks to the very supportive chairs It's not as loud as the whaling naturally-aspirated B8 engines of times gone by, but it still pipes through plenty of thunder and burble under acceleration. Ferrari says the engine sound is pure not synthetically enhanced into the cabin Will this be the last hurrah for the pure-petrol Ferrari V8 engine as it shifts towards hybrid power/ If so, the Tributo is a fitting swansong for this incredible powerplant Spanner man: Ray Massey donned in official Ferarri mechanic overalls to take a closer look at this iconic V8 engine Ray helped out fitting the V8's intricate and finely engineered pistons. First he adjusted the settings and applied oil Ray then gently but firmly slotted the piston into the engine block Ray then gently but firmly slotted the piston into the engine block

Ray helped out fitting the V8’s intricate and finely engineered pistons. First  he adjusted the settings, then applied a liberal quantity of lubricating oil, before gently but firmly slotting it into the engine block

As an unskilled guinea-pig, I helped out fitting the V8’s intricate and finely engineered pistons – first adjusting the settings, then applying a liberal quantity of lubricating oil, before gently but firmly slotting it into the engine block and hearing and feeling it slot into place with a very reassuring ‘click’.

The very good news for customers is that this was a test engine – and won’t be fitted to anyone’s actual car.

Nor to any car I’ll ever drive, thankfully.

But having experienced the intricate work at the heart of the Ferrari engine, I can sum it all up in just one word. Respect.

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