I just spent two days in driving-nirvana with a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta on a road trip to Duffy Lake road. Duffy Lake has been on my bucket list for several years now. I’ve written episodes for First Rides based in Duffy Lake road and I have re-edited those episodes and re-chosen cars multiple times, however none of it has come to fruition until this past Monday. Thanks to a generous Ferrari F12 owner, I was able to take this magnificent machine out on a roadtrip up the Sea to SKy highway, past Whistler, past Pemberton and finally to the crown jewel of Duffly Lake road.

Jason and Steve at Duffy Leke

Jason and Steve at Duffy Leke

The first part of the journey was the drive to Duffy Lake road which took 2 hours. This allowed me to sample the power of the F12 and to familiarise myself with the handling and the many features on the car in preparation for the assault on Duffy Lake road. The first thing to say is that the F12 is an extraordinarily fast car. A supercar/hypercar owner on twitter said “be careful, it is much faster than it feels”; advice I took to heart. Here is what makes the F12 such a fast car: the F12 has a naturally aspirated 6.3 L V12 engine that produces 740 bhp with a top speed of 211 mph. A zero to sixty time of 3.1 seconds which is helped by a seven speed dual clutch. Impressive numbers, however you have to physically drive the car in order to fully appreciate the veracity of those numbers.

In 2013 I toured the Ferrari factory and witnessed V12 engines being hand built by Ferrari technicians so I felt a small kinship with the engine in the front of my F12. Supercars are defined by how they deliver their power; a Lamborghini Aventador gathers itself and then hurtles its mass down the road, whereas the F12 instantously releases its power and the V12 keeps on pulling and pulling. The Sea to Sky highway allows you to get into a rhythm with the car, breaking mostly by lifting of the throttle (a skill many Sea to Sky drivers lack).

Ergonomically the Ferrari cabin takes some getting used with a plethora of dials, information screens and buttons festooned on the steering wheel. I had gotten used to the turning indicators located on the steering wheel thanks to driving the FF and the California T this year. An essential button is the “bumpy road” button which softens the suspension to cope the less than smooth road surface of Duffy Lake road. The manettino switch is your most used dial, essentially changing the dynamic set up of the F12. Your options are wet, sport, race, CT off and ESC off. I utilized wet, sport and race, but was not brave enough to turn off the traction control or the the electronic stability control. The most frustrating interface was the radio, fortunately the audio delight of 740 bhp from the V12 provided all the media entertainment I needed.

 

Ferrari F12 steering wheel

Ferrari F12 steering wheel

 

 

 

Manettino

Manettino

 

 

 

I love the sound of Ferrari engines. They roar but they do not overwhelm you like a Lamborghini. The V12 of the Aventador drones on once you reach a steady speed, while the F12 delights you on the way to its cruising altitude then settle downs waiting for you to unleash the sonic fury all over again. The walkie-talkies my cameraman Steve had brought to communicate during filming did not work, but thanks to V12 roar he always knew when to start filming as he could hear me coming a long way off.

We made it to Lillooet Lake which marks the beginning of Duffy Lake road where we pulled over to set up the GoPro cameras. I was full of nervous excitement, and in awe of the stunning scenery of British Columbia. The first section of Duffy Lake skirts Lake Lillooet followed by a set of deep and shallow switchbacks leading to a relatively straight section where I could unleash the F12. The first ten minutes of Duffy Lake definitely got my adrenaline pumping. The landscape is dramatic, soaring mountains, lush green vegetation, accompanied by a strong flowing mountain river. Our first stop over was Duffy Lake itself which skirts the road. We pulled over to take some pictures and enjoy the serenity. Standing by Duffy Lake drinking in the snow capped mountains and breathing in the fresh mountain air was a tonic for my soul.

Ready to drive Duffy Lake road.

Ready to drive Duffy Lake road.

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Duffy Lake road is a single lane road and possesses a rather abrasive surface so thank god for “bumpy road” setting. Rather more unsettling was the loose stones and gravel on the road which one could constantly hear pinging off the F12.. This caused me some concern for the F12’s bodywork. A long car journey would not be complete without dead bugs on the windshield, several times I thought it was raining, instead it was a horde of bugs immolating themselves across the windshield. As we plunged deeper into the heart of Duffy Lake the landscape changed from lush green and was replaced with stark wind blasted craggy mountains.

My favourite section of Duffy Lake is a u shaped bend that I have endlessly viewed on google maps. I have sketched out multiple diagrams of how to film a car on this section. Sadly our failure to get our drone flying cut short some of the more dramatic shots, however it was a thrill to stand on a rocky out crop and view the bend for myself after contemplating it for so long from a computer monitor. Steve remained at the outcrop to shoot me going down the hairpin bend and back up again. The first few runs were quite vigorous, then a family of deer gathered by the roadside for a meal so I slowed down to let the family enjoy their dinner.

The bend near the end of Duffy Lake road. Seton lake in the background.

The bend near the end of Duffy Lake road. Seton lake in the background.

F12 before big bend.

The drive home was rapid, and tranquil, the fading light shepherding us on our way back to Vancouver. Our grand adventure took us on a 500km round trip odyssey. Two memories stand out from the return journey, one, the lack of traffic and the ease with which the F12 ate up the miles, and two, watching Steve knitting beside me, hopefully as a result of my smooth driving. Yes Steve has a passion for knitting, please take a look at his site www.ittakesballstoknit.com.

My driving is so smooth a man can knit.

My driving is so smooth a man can knit.

I want to thank Nick for once again generously loaning me one of his cars, and allowing me to enjoy another new Ferrari experience. My abiding memory of this magnificent machine will be of how fast the F12 is and how fast I was able to go within my comfort level.