At the Geneva motor show last year, Ferrari, the most magnetic and exciting car brand in all the world, revealed its most powerful road car ever. And yet, doubtless to Maranello’s boiling chagrin, the petrol-smelling internet was ambushed by a rival. Lamborghini unwrapped the Veneno, and that’s where everyone clicked. This, after all, was news: unlike the LaFerrari, no one knew it was coming. And it looked absolutely barking mad. The LaFerrari was unattainable, limited to 499 copies at £1.15 million. But Lamborghini trumped even that: more exclusivity, more money. Just three Venenos would be made, at more than twice the Ferrari’s sticker.
Ferrari’s frustration must have been multiplied by the fact it’d tried so hard. Immense engineering, design and marketing effort was spent launching a supercar that smashed boundaries all over the map. In contrast, the Lambo was a limited gesture, brilliantly calculated to get maximum publicity for minimum effort. As brand building, it was genius. As a car, less so.