Answer; not much if it comes in the form of a Ferrari 458 Italia. Witness the somewhat amusing ‘100 quickest laps of all time’ lists published at the back of the Christmas double issue magazine.
The lists themselves refer to the times we’ve recorded over the years on all the cars we’ve road tested around the dry and wet handling circuits at MIRA. Topping the all time fastest list around the dry circuit is, you guessed, the Ferrari 458 Italia with a deeply impressive lap of 1min 08.9sec. In second place is the Ferrari F430 Scuderia, and in third is the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
So then your eyes wander across to the list for the wet handling circuit, and you find that by some peculiar twist of fate the 458 Italia is actually 100th and last on the list with a time of 1min 12.7sec. Ahead of it, in 99th place, sits a Volkswagen Touareg. A few places higher up is a Fiat 500 1.4. And in 86th slot – 14 places higher than the 458 Italia – lies the not especially performance-orientated Kia Sorento CRDi.
Thing is, although the GT3 RS doesn’t even make the top 100 (thanks largely to its Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, which are safe enough on wet roads but fairly hopeless when it comes to dealing with puddles, of which there are quite a few on this particular circuit), the 430 Scuderia appears miles higher up the list than the 458. It beats the Italia by an amazing 1.4sec, despite being several years older as a design and wearing tyres that are, in theory, less capable than those of the 458 in wet conditions.
It might be worth remembering that the next time you find yourself on a wet road, driving your 458 Italia, and a Ford Focus or something equally innocuous appears in your rear view mirror, you should pull over and let him pass. Otherwise it could well end in tears. And a very large insurance claim to consider…