06-01-2011, 04:41 AM
Piacere di guidare
Location: Vista CA
Join Date: Feb 2007
Mein Auto: 428 Cabrio - ED'ed 8-14
A rainy day on Lake Como has us cooped up in the hotel (not really a bad thing – it's Lake Como after all), and I'm reflecting on the experience of having driven the Stelvio Pass 1½ times yesterday.
First off, I'm glad The Spousal Unit told me to go have fun by myself while she slept in. It gave me the chance to drive it aggressively since I did it early, without other traffic on the road. When we drove it again later, it was loaded with motorcycles, bicyclists (full admiration) and even a few campers, which made driving aggressively pretty much out of the question.
It's an epic road with amazing scenery, but "best driving road in the world" according to Top Gear? Wouldn't get my vote. It's certainly daunting, because it's very narrow, not in the best state of repair, and completely unforgiving of mistakes. But it's more a tires-and-brakes road than it is handling and balance.
Sure, it's an interesting experience to be accelerating down a narrow lane with a high rock wall on one side and some granite blocks separating you and the hereafter on the other, and with another rock wall the only thing visible in front of you, and thinking, "okay, the road's gonna turn sharply, get on the binders and downshift..". Repeat that 49 times on the way up and a whole bunch more, just not quite as tightly on the way down, and that's the Stelvio Pass.
But the hairpins are so extreme that you're really taking half of them at about 3 mph and the other half at maybe 10mph. So it's hard to carry any speed or rhythm or generate much excitement.
That's just me.
Maybe the issue is that the M3 is so competent that it takes a lot of the risk out of doing a drive like this one and kind of dampens the fear-fueled adrenalin rush that would probably be there in a car with less power, dodgy brakes, fewer gears and squirrelly tires.
As always, YMMV.
Key to today's pictures:
There's very little room for error on the north climb up the Stelvio.
Karen's question: "..we're going up there?"
You can see why the hairpins are best taken at about walking speed.
Le Mans Blue from above.
View out the hotel side window. Lake Como's the real deal.
Last edited by boothguy; 07-09-2011 at 10:49 AM.