When the Red Baron gets behind a road car—even a fairly quick one—he looks so relaxed he might nod off. Well, part of the glamorous life of an F1 driver is promoting your sponsors, and for this sedate run, he had to demonstrate the world-class handling of the Maserati GranTurismo. Certainly beats talking about laundry detergent.
The ’09 GranTurismo S boasts a 32-valve V8 with 433 horsepower, and its acceleration—aided by a ZF six-speed automatic—is exhilarating. Nevertheless, when you’ve spent most of your adult life driving Formula One cars—much of it spent in the V10 era when engines made well over 900 horsepower—something which hits sixty in 4.7 seconds might feel Lincoln Towncar-slow.
Nonetheless, Schumi gets the car up on its tippy toes right after leaving the pits, and shows his passenger how to manage the car with the rears totally lit. Casually countersteering, he and the amazed man sitting shotgun go sideways at impressive speeds—impressive because Schumacher seems so unimpressed by it. As he drifts around and the passenger makes a reference to Apocalypse Now, Schumacher’s movements are so slow and deliberate, you know he’s not challenged in the least.
Though Schumi might feel restrained by the cornering grip, since the Maserati’s .89 lateral g might feel dull when he’s used to 4-g cornering, he does throw the car around the more technical sections, which he says offer some “nice sensations.” Somehow that sounds like a massive understatement, but then again, Schumacher is used to the finer things.