F1-derived composite chassis for Ferrari's first-ever hybrid
By Darren Quick
September 28, 2012
Ferrari arrived at the Paris Motor Show with five models representing the Italian marque’s new full model range. These include coupé and Spider versions of the 458, the California 30, the four-wheel-drive FF sporting a new full-length panoramic roof, and the most powerful V12 ever built, the F12berlinetta. However, the big draw was the unveiling of a new composite chassis derived straight from Formula One technologies that Ferrari will use in its first ever hybrid model.
With the five models on display representing a new Ferrari generation already unveiled at previous shows, it was this new composite chassis that was the main focus of attention.
The limited edition vehicle, which has been dubbed the F70 by the automotive press, will be built around a composite chassis that uses four different types of carbon-fiber and is hand-laminated before being cured in autoclaves. This process is taken from Scuderia Ferrari, Ferrari’s Formula One racing division, with the company claiming the industrial carbon-fiber manufacturing techniques normally used by the automotive sector, such as Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), weren’t up to snuff.
T800 carbon is used for the main structure, with strategic placement of a unidirectional carbon-fiber tape (T800UD) used for reinforcement. Another type of particularly high tensile strength carbon-fiber known as M46J is used for the structural underbody and the cross-member to keep weight to a minimum. Tougher T1000, which is used in the nose-cone of single-seaters due to its impact absorption properties, is used in critical areas such as the doors. Finally, to prevent damage from debris thrown up from the road, the undertray is made from carbon-fiber that has been combined with Kevlar.
Despite the extra weight required to house the vehicle’s hybrid components, Ferrari says this composite construction results in an overall chassis that is 20 percent lighter then the Enzo, while also increasing torsional rigidity by 27 percent and beam stiffness by 22 percent.
The hybrid is expected to be feature the HY-KERS system being developed by Ferrari which combines a 12-cylinder engine and dual-clutch gearbox with two electric motors, one of which is dedicated to the auxiliary systems.
Hopefully the next revelation regarding Ferrari’s first hybrid will give us a clear idea of what the finished car will look like.
The video below gives an overview of the new composite chassis.