• Video: Ferrari California T Takes a Trip to Monte Carlo

Being a test driver for any one of Italy’s finest auto brands is a difficult job. We can’t even begin to imagine the amount of pressure involved with that job. It’s not enough that you simply know how to drive; often times, it’s more important for you to know every little element about the car you’re driving, even down to the minutest of details.

But there are a lot of perks that come with having that specific role. Just ask Valentino Balboni, the former chief test driver of Lamborghini who has a Lamborghini Gallardo named after him.

Ferrari test driver Raffaele De Simone still has a lot of years left before he can be in the class of Balboni or even Dario Benuzzi, Ferrari’s own godfather among its test drivers.

But De Simone has become an integral part of the Prancing Horse since coming on board in 2000 as a 20-year old neophyte. These days, De Simone is one of Ferrari’s most popular test drivers, which affords him the right to drive pretty much any Ferrari he wants using company time. De Simone can even go into joyrides masquerading as test sessions, as was the case recently when he decided to take a Ferrari Calfornia T to Monte Carlo.

You can immediately tell from the beginning of the video how comfortable De Simone is behind the California T. He knows it inside and out, which also explains why navigating through the Col de Turini mountain pass looked like a leisurely stroll through the park for the guy. In between describing all the technical machinations of the California T and driving the car full throttle on one of the toughest stages of the Monte Carlo Rally, De Simone still had time to enjoy himself as he was doing it.

That’s the sign of a man who loves his job and wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.

Ferrari California T

2015 - 2016 Ferrari California T High Resolution Exterior
- image 576990
Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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