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A Dream Ticket. How to Win a Supercar {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

IN ONE MONTH'S time I shall be the ecstatic owner of a new rosso corsa Ferrari 360 Modena. It's left-hand drive admittedly, but beggars can't be choosers. Besides, after working my butt off on this magazine for the past 10 years to scrimp and save enough cash, I wasn't going to sit around waiting for my name to reach the top of the UK importer's order-book. Nope, when the time came, I signed my name on the dotted line and paid up before I could change my mind.

Of course, there's a small chance that things won't go my way. I suppose one of the other 2599 punters who also bought tickets for my Ferrari could get lucky but that's gambling foryou. You wouldn't do it if you didn't think you were going to win. And believe me, I am going to win.

Oh come on, you didn't seriously think I'd saved enough to buy a Ferrari? It was hard enough scraping together the money just for a punt at winning one. But when there's a spanking new 360 Modena in front of you and a pretty girl starts explaining that it could soon be yours. And there are only 2600 tickets up for grabs. At just £80 a go. And, yes, we do take credit cards. Well, you just would, wouldn't you?
William Hindmarch would, which is why he set up his company Best of the Best to run competitions like this. He kicked in his City job, spent nine months convincing the British Airports Authority to let him set up a stand at Heathrow and bought a brand new Porsche 911 to put on it.
"The first day was terrifying," says Hindmarch. "I sat there staring at this car wondering whether anybody was going to buy into the idea". Two years later and he's given away more than 20 sports and supercars ranging from a Lotus Elise to an Aston Martin.
But it is the Ferraris that really pull the punters in. That's why he now spends most of his time chasing down 360s for immediate delivery. "It's all about seffing a dream," he says. "So it has to be cars that are right at the top of everyone's wish list. That usually means paying a premium to beat the queues."
Not that it's too much of a problem. Do the sums and you'll see why: 2600 tickets at £80 a pop adds up to £208,000 for a Ferrari with a list price of £103,275. Hindmarch is quick to point out that the profits must cover the cost of the prime sites at Heathrow and Gatwick, not to mention the 30 staff who run the stands from 4am to 11pm each day. Britain's antiquated gambling laws mean that it can't be a straight raffle - some element of skill and judgement has to be included, so in the best tradition of '70s newspaper games, Hindmarch has settled on a spot-the-ball competition. Things have moved on a bit since the days of marker pens and tracing paper, now it's all done by screen pixels and graph co-ordinates. You move the mouse to where you think the ball should be and the computer prints out a ticket with the six-figure grid reference. Once all the tickets have been sold, usually within four to six weeks, a premiership referee comes into their lawyer's office and clicks on the spot he reckons the ball should be.
The computer simply works out whose co-ordinates are closest and, hey presto, some jammy git wins the car. But the real killer is that all the other punters who didn't win can then go to the company's website at www.bestofthebest.co.uk and see how close they came to scooping the car.
Clever. Very clever. The winner even gets £2000 towards insurance, so you can't use the old excuse about not being able to afford to run the thing if you did win it. But that's not the only trick. Hindmarch says many are the times when customers have gone through the motions of playing the game only for their wives to step in at the last minute and stop them placing the bet. "They nearly always pop back when their wife isn't looking and leave a magazine with their credit card in it, which I then innocently return to them a few minutes later with their ticket and credit card tucked inside."
Evil. I could happily click away a year's salary in 20 minutes, especially since you can now place bets online as well as on the stands at Heathrow, Gatwick and (soon) Stansted airports. Not that I'd recommend you do. You see, I've placed my bet and, as I believe I've already explained, that Ferrari is mine.

Back to Homepage 4 Jan 2022