Dallas Keuchel laughs. He laughs when he enters the atelier in the new Centro Stile in Maranello and sees it. He laughs when he admires it up close. He laughs even more when he lowers himself into the passenger compartment, adjusts the seat and places his hands on the wheel. Dallas Keuchel is one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball. Thanks to him, the Houston Astros won the World Series in 2017, for the first time in the team's history. But the cool head that a champion like him needs on the pitcher's plate disappears when he arrives in front of the car that until now, he had only admired in photographs: the Ferrari Monza SP1. “It's just incredible, unimaginable. I don't know whether I'll be able to sleep tonight”, jokes Dallas.
This close encounter with the latest addition to the special limited series is the final stage of Keuchel's day-long tour of Maranello. This occasion was the first time that he had visited the Ferrari headquarters, one of the stops on a short holiday in Italy, during which he visited Rome, Florence and Venice. There was only one way to start the day - with a factory tour. “For me, it was like living a dream. To see how these cars are made up close, to observe these works of art that combine craftsmanship and technology at the highest levels, made me fully appreciate the strength of the Ferrari brand, and why it has become a reference point throughout the world."
Thinking back, which was the first Ferrari that really made an impression on you?
“I was just a kid when the Enzo came out: an incredible model, both in terms of its design and its performance. But all Ferraris are just fantastic. If I think that until a few years ago I could never have even imagined owning one of these things, it's just unbelievable for me."
You now own more than one: do you use them on different occasions?
“Yes, for sure. For example, I use the 488 Spider to go to training, the GTC4Lusso if I want to travel in comfort and my F12tdf when I have an important meeting or - I admit it - if I want to show off a bit."
How important is driving comfort to you?
“It's important, for sure. Although I would be willing to sacrifice a little comfort for performance."
Are there any similarities between your sport, basketball, and Ferrari cars?
“I'm a pitcher, and I know that the speed at which you throw the ball towards the hitter is important, but it's not everything. You also need control, the ability to change direction, and fast reactions. All these are characteristics that you also find behind the wheel of a Ferrari."
Do you listen to music when you're driving?
“Yes, when I'm driving closed top models, like the GTC4Lusso or the F12tdf: I listen to a bit of everything, from classic rock to rap and hip hop. But when I'm driving a roadster, I prefer to hear the sound of the engine, and of everything around me. It's an exciting experience."
Speaking of open air driving: at Maranello, you used the Tailor Made programme to configure a 488 Pista Spider: what kind of experience was it?
“Being able to choose every single detail, from the materials to the colour of the tiniest elements, is fantastic. I tried to keep a sense of my own style, which allowed me to create something a bit out of the ordinary. I'm left-handed, and unpredictability is one of my strengths as a pitcher. Similarly, I like to find something unusual on my Ferraris, whether it's an asymmetric line or some stitching in an unexpected colour. It's like building your dream piece by piece, and being able to touch it at the end of the process. And to drive it!"