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Geneva 2013: Ferrari LaFerrari – A Closer Look

Ferrari has a long and proud history of coming up with fantastic
model names. Think about the Testarossa, the California, the 550 Maranello, the
599 Fiorano and the new F12 Berlinetta, these are all beautiful Italian names
that just sound right.
 
Then there’s Ferraris halo model hypercars. In 1987 Ferrari celebrated forty
years of fantastic road cars with the F40. It had a 471hp, 2.9 liter twin turbo
V8, 1100kg curb weight, a top speed of 201mph – which made it the fastest
production car of its time – and a raspy exhaust note like no other, it’s still
widely regarded as the most exciting supercar of all time. Then in 1995 came
the F50. And in 2002 came the F60, a car that was so brilliant, Ferrari named
it after the founder of the company, it was called the Enzo – another brilliant
name.


This year at the Geneva motor show, Ferrari rolled out their successor to the legendary
Enzo. And they were especially creative with the name of this one, they called
it the The Ferrari… Well, technically
it’s called the LaFerrari, which roughly translated to English or American, or
damn well any language you like is The
Ferrari.

The biggest problem for me personally, will be when I inevitably go
down to the shops carrying my £1 million with the intention of purchasing one
of the 499 LaFerraris to be built. I’ll waltz into the showroom and announce
that “I’d like to by The Ferrari” and he or she will obviously ask which one
and I’ll say “The Ferrari!”, “which Ferrari!?” they’ll ask. And that
conversation will just go on and on until the very last LaFerrari is sold to a
Middle Eastern prince and rather annoyingly, I’ll be forced to shop around for
the McLaren P1 or the Porsche 918 instead. Allegedly (not really), those funny
Italians from Maranello were sitting at breakfast on the morning of the Geneva
reveal, and over a bowl of spaghetti, in between discussing various drag
coefficients and types of salamis – technical things – one chirped in with
“MAMA MIA! We’ve forgotten to name it!” or something equally Italian. You’ve
got to love the Italians.

Obviously they had their minds focused on the important things, like
the engines. The LaFerrari uses a modified version of the F12 Berlinettas 6.3
liter V12. By upping the compression ratio to a dizzying 13.5:1 the V12 now
sings to a sky high 9250rpm redline where it produces 790hp, add in a 160hp
electric motor that helps boost low end torque and compensates for the
increased compression ratio, and you get a total of 950hp and 663lb ft of
torque in a car that weighs close to 1300kg.

So as you’d imagine, it’s quite fast. 0-60mph takes less than three
seconds, the 0-124mph run is dispatched with in less than seven seconds and
0-186mph takes less than fifteen seconds! FIFTEEN! But it’s not just all about straight-line
speed because the LaFerrari laps the Fiorano test track in less than 1 minute
and 20 seconds, that’s a pretty substantial five seconds quicker than the Enzo,
which was no slouch either.

Much of all this on track speed comes down to the stiffness and
lightness of the car. The LaFerrari has a carbon fiber tub, which – rather
cleverly – uses different types of hand-laminated carbon fiber for different
parts of the tub. Without getting too James May, the main chassis uses T800UD type
carbon fiber – the ‘UD’ bit stands for uni directional -, the structural parts
of the LaFerrari use a higher tensile strength carbon fiber while the doors use
T1000 carbon fiber which has fantastic impact absorbing properties. This has
allowed Ferrari to reduce the cars overall weight even further than if a single
high strength type carbon fiber was used while improving safety and structural rigidity.

The seats are actually built into the tub and each car has a
uniquely sculpted drivers seat that is specifically molded to gently cup the
owners buttocks – which is a bit weird. That means the seats can’t be adjusted,
so instead, the pedal box and steering wheel are fully adjustable, just like in
an F1 car. The interior is all very driver focused, techy and nice.
Unsurprisingly Massa and Alonso helped out during the design process. And while
we’re on the topic of design, just look at the thing! It’s undoubtedly gorgeous.
I’m especially fond of its rear end and side panels; thank goodness the enormous
gob from the prototype car was just a mock up.

You’ll notice there’s no enormous rear wing or any other blindingly
obvious aerodynamic solutions and that’s because there are lots of little vents
and flaps all over the body and beneath the car that suck in and direct air for
cooling and aero, plus there’s a svelte retractable rear wing. The car has two
different aero settings, high downforce and low downforce, this allows the LaFerrari
to maximize its speed through the twisty bits without sacrificing top speed
with unwanted drag along the straight bits.

Then there’s the electric motor, unlike in the McLaren P1 the
LaFerrari never runs in pure electric mode. Ferrari says that’s because one of
the main characteristics of a Ferrari is the glorious engine noise, and that’s
something they want to preserve. Ferrari also recognizes that the only way to
ensure the future of the naturally aspirated V12 engines they’re so committed
to is to add in a hybrid system like HY-KERS. So the LaFerrari constantly
combines both petrol and electric power sources to improve response,
performance and efficiency. It’s a win -win- win!

So while Ferrari might’ve forgotten to properly name their stunning
new hypercar, the The Ferrari, they
certainly haven’t forgotten how to build an extraordinarily capable, show
stopping hypercar.

Want to see this epic speed machine in action?
Hint: yes, you definitely do, check out the video below.

       

Let us know how much you want one by
tweeting us @CarhootsUK. Or do you prefer the McLaren P1? Let us know!

By Aiden Taylor

*title image courtesy of www.ferrari.com*

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