24 hours in a Maser MC Stradale
A yachtsman needs one thing before he sails across the Atlantic: a Pot Noodle. We have a fast Maserati and the clock is ticking...
Posted: 06 Aug 2012
There are several ways to slice this. A conventional approach would favour spreading the load across a minimum of two days. However, armed with a car like the Stradale, the TopGear approach is to attempt a little light, unofficial record-breaking ourselves. Our satnav suggests that, with a fair wind, this journey should take 20-odd hours, if we regulate the fuel and caffeine stops pretty rigorously. Having done some research on Signor Soldini, though, we reckon that's the very least we can do. Soldini, you see, is one of the world's most experienced round-the-world yachtsmen, a man who routinely stares death and 50ft-high waves in the face, and who once deliberately scuppered his own chances in a race to rescue a rival who had got into severe trouble. A proper hero, in other words. What would he think if Team TG took a leisurely 48 hours to drive 1,800 miles in a Maserati?
Exactly. We also decide it's our duty to bring a little bit of Britain to keep him company during his record attempt, hence the plastic bag containing a jar of Marmite, a curry-flavoured Pot Noodle and a copy of today's Daily Telegraph tucked behind my seat. We are proud cultural emissaries.
Having gone under the sea rather than sailing over it, we're in France early. This leg of the journey is pretty familiar, having driven to Paris, Le Mans and beyond more times than I can remember. Never in a car quite like this, though. Put the words Maserati and GranTurismo together in the same name, and you conjure up a Sixties Technicolor automotive dream. Whether you were a playboy, film star or ageing Lothario with an impressionable young lady along for the ride, in a Maserati 5000 GT Allemano, Mistral or Ghibli, you were in for a rare treat.