Car-Iconics co-owner Stephen Gannon bought his dream Ferrari 575M HGTC in 2019. In August 2020 he drove it to the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Here he recounts the trip of a lifetime…
I’d wanted a Ferrari 575M for years, and when I turned 60 last year I took the plunge and bought the most sought-after version, the HGTC. It commanded a £16,450 premium over a standard 575 when new, and got upgrades including lowered and stiffened suspension, larger 19-inch alloys with stickier Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres and Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes that really improve stopping power, particularly under harder use. The 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V12 makes the same 508bhp as all 575s, but it sings just a little louder thanks to a revised exhaust system.
Ferrari’s focus with this package was to retain everything that made the 575 so effortless over long distances, but to sharpen it up significantly for track work – it was developed at both Ferrari’s Fiorano test track and the Nürburgring, with help from Michael Schumacher. A trip to the Nürburgring with friends seemed the perfect way to put all that to the test.
My HGTC was specified from the factory with the roll bar, rollcage and carbonfibre-shelled race seats with harnesses, which makes it even more suited to the racetrack, but it’s also a first-paint car with incredibly low-mileage and I have to admit I was a little nervous – we gave it a full PPF wrap to protect the bodywork from stone chips.
We’ve been going to the Nürburgring with friends for 20 years now and met a group at the Channel Tunnel to convoy through France and Belgium together – with a McLaren 650S, 650bhp Porsche 997 Turbo, Lotus Exige 260 Cup, Raeder Motorsport-prepped BMW M4 and a couple of Multistrada motorbikes, it was quite a crew.
My son and Car-Iconics partner Daniel was ten years old when he first met these guys, and was enjoying passenger laps with all of them long before he passed his test – he soaked it all up, took the best bits of all their driving, then combined it into the style he’s got today. I’ve done plenty of laps, but Daniel’s got over 1000 ’Ring laps under his belt, and to say he’s handy is an understatement – he set a 7min 23sec lap here in his track-prepped E92 BMW M3 V8, so we knew early on that Daniel would do the track driving!
Near Spa we turned off the main roads and took the fast-sweeping roads through the Ardennes forests and on to the Eifel mountains that are home to the Nürburgring. Even the journey to the circuit was fabulous – those roads really suit the 575’s blend of long-legged comfort with performance that still takes your breath away, well over a decade on.
We arrived at the Nürburgring in gorgeous 30-degree sunshine on 8 August and it was so quiet, with virtually no queues at the tolls – it’s how I remembered the Nürburgring 15 years ago and it really was an opportunity not to be missed. We bought two laps, enough to experience the car without pushing my pride and joy too hard.
With Daniel at the wheel, the HGTC worked brilliantly on the Nordschleife, especially the long, flowing sections where it could really stretch its legs – he had it pinned for the long climb out of Bergwerk, and was flat in fourth and fifth and still pulling at 155mph when we had to back off for traffic – the power just feels relentless from that masterpiece of a V12.
But there’s more finesse to it than that – the ’Ring’s full of tricky compressions, crests and quick direction changes that can really unsettle a car, and the revised HGTC suspension gives the 575 almost unbelievable poise and mechanical grip, especially for a relatively heavy car. The carbon-ceramic brakes really came into their own too, giving Daniel real confidence to brake late and hard. It’s certainly an experience I won’t forget in a hurry!
We overnighted in Bad Neuenahr, a beautiful walled Roman city, then took to a deserted and derestricted section of autobahn the next day. Even at high speed the 575 felt incredibly stable, and we were certainly making progress – at one point the speedo indicated 322kph (201mph), with the sat-nav confirming a true 193mph! It was such an epic trip, and the perfect way for the 575M HGTC to prove just how capable it truly is.
Stephen plans to keep hold of his own HGTC, but Car-Iconics has exceptional examples of the Ferrari 575M HGTC ready to enjoy now. Visit our ‘In Stock’ section and get planning your own epic adventure today.