December 3, 2005 - The Bologna Motor Show provided the venue for Ferrari’s world unveiling of the FXX, a car aimed at a selected group of the marque’s most dedicated and passionate clients. This prototype, of which just 29 have been built, is the most technologically advanced GT car ever to emerge from Maranello. It will be used exclusively on track as part of a specific ongoing research and development programme featuring the first ever group of Client Test Drivers. The FXX has not been homologated for road use or racing. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the FXX is the truly innovative technical client constructor collaboration programme which we’ve written about previously.
The FXX is the culmination of Ferrari’s expertise in building special limited-series sports cars combined with its unparalleled racing experience. The FXX will provide the basic framework on which the specifics of future extreme models will be developed. The exceptionally powerful FXX delivers absolutely blistering performance: it is powered by an imposing 6262 cm3 V12 engine which develops over 800 hp at 8500 rpm. The gearbox is the result of the transfer of F1 technology and delivers gear change times of less than 100 ms. This is almost as fast as the F1 cars, themselves the absolute pinnacle of current technological achievement. The FXX has a dry weight of 1155 kg with a power-weight ratio of 1.44 kg/hp, and completed a lap of Fiorano in under 1’18’’00 – a time which gives an indication of the sheer power and performance of this magnificent car.
The FXX’s aerodynamic design is also particularly innovative – with a 40% increase in downforce compared to the already impressive Enzo. Ferrari’s F1 tyre partner, Bridgestone, developed a specific 19” slick tyre for the FXX., and Brembo created a special brake pad and cooling system for the 398 x 36 mm Composite Ceramic Material discs. Another unique feature of the FXX is its sophisticated telemetry system which monitors and provides feedback in real time. The instrument panel, supplied by Magneti Marelli, is specifically designed for the FXX and incorporates a new data acquisition system. A video camera is also installed on the roof of each of the cars, pointing towards the rear, with a special TFT display on the dash removing the need for rear view mirrors.
The FXX package also includes participation in a series of 14 track events organised by Ferrari on various international-level circuits over the coming two years in Europe, North America and Japan (meetings at Spa and the Nürburgring have already been confirmed for 2006). On these occasions, an official team of technicians will be on hand to provide any assistance and support required by the Client Test Drivers. In addition to these unique official events, Clients will also be able to take their cars out on the track independently during private sessions. If Clients wish to leave their car at Maranello while not in use, they will be transported directly by Ferrari to the various European circuits for the scheduled events.
Given the car’s exceptional performance and the unique nature of the package, delivery of each FXX also includes an advanced driving course with tuition provided by the best professional drivers. Courses take place at the Fiorano Circuit where Ferrari conducts its F1 single-seater testing. After the seat and the pedals have been individually moulded for each driver, there will be a traditional “shakedown” followed by a training session to introduce the Client Test Drivers to test driving methodologies. The first FXXs were delivered in mid-November and the last will be with their owners by the end of April next year. The FXX and the relative package cost a total of 1.5 million euro (excluding taxes). Applications to join the programme were evaluated by a special inhouse committee.
The F430 Challenge also made its Italian debut at the Bologna Motor Show. The new Prancing Horse competition car is derived from the 8-cylinder road-going berlinetta and will take part in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli single-series championship from the 2006 season on.
Ferrari has also reaffirmed the strong link between its GT and sporting divisions with the new F430 Challenge which is specifically designed to meet the expectations of its sportier clients. The F430 Challenge retains the same general look and 490 hp engine as the road-going version. However, it also incorporates a large number of significant track-oriented modifications and a host of new features not seen in the car currently used in the series, the 360 Challenge, which it joins on the track next season and completely replaces in 2007.
As ever, the transfer from Formula 1 is significant, particularly with regard to the braking system which uses carbon ceramic material (CCM) – a first for a Ferrari sports competition car. The electronic gearbox is also F1-derived and works in exactly the same way as the one used on the grand prix car. Thanks to a sintered twin-plate clutch and specific software, it also offers the same gear-changing times as the road-going F430 (150 ms). Fifth and sixth gear ratios have also been modified with respect to the road-going version, as has the final drive ratio, in order to make the most of the engine on all the circuits where the F430 Challenge will race. The new 19’’ slick tyres, developed specifically by Pirelli for this track model, are designed to comply with the very strict racing regulations that demand endurance whilst still delivering outstanding performance.
The F430 Challenge boasts a kerb weight of just 1225 kg (excluding fuel). Weight has been reduced in every area of the car: of particular note are the Lexan windscreen, the all-carbon fibre intake plenum cover, and specific exhaust system. To ensure that drivers extract the full benefit of the car’s performance on track, the E-Diff has been replaced by a mechanical differential and the EBD has been replaced with a mechanical system. Similarly, the stability control has been permanently disengaged, while the ASR can be switched off by the driver. All the other electronic systems have been set up in “race” mode, thus eliminating the need for the manettino switch. The ABS is always active.
Another important feature introduced in the F430 Challenge is the new steering wheel which has a quick release mechanism to provide easier access for drivers. The steering wheel also has buttons for communication with the pits, to set the pit lane speed and to interface with the new colour digital instrument panel. The rear of the car is characterised by the specific exhaust system which has high central tail pipes, and by the modified grille which increases the extraction of hot air from the rear of the engine bay. The anti-roll bars, springs and single-rate shocks have also been modified for racing use. The F430 Challenge also features new centre locking wheels and pneumatic air jacks for faster wheel changes in the pit lane.
The FXX and F430 Challenge are joined on the Ferrari stand at Bologna by the 2004 Formula 1 World Championship-winning single-seater, the 612 Scaglietti, and the coupe and spider versions of the F430. The latter two models have won a plethora of international honours between them, most recently prestigious German car magazine Auto Zeitung’s Supercar of the Year award. The F430 Spider was also named Supercar of the Year just last night by BBC Top Gear, completing a well-deserved double for the F430 with the coupe version similarly honoured in 2004.
2005 was an important year for Ferrari both in terms of the company set-up and the new products it unveiled.
In April, the Ferrari Maserati Group was dissolved and ownership of Maserati was transferred to Fiat in order to allow the Trident to establish a closer technical and commercial relationship with Alfa Romeo, particularly on the major international markets. Nonetheless, Ferrari and Maserati continue to collaborate on an industrial level, and with regard to technical projects, engines and sales networks.
At the end of July, the Abu Dhabi government development company, Mubadala, acquired a 5% share in Ferrari from Mediobanca and was immediately committed to being an extremely reliable and stable partner with a range of exciting new business strategies to share. In early November, Ferrari and Aldar, an Abu Dhabi real estate company, announced an exclusive agreement to develop an innovative and exciting Ferrari Area in Abu Dhabi themed around the Ferrari brand.
In October, Ferrari also announced the creation of a new Sales Unit for the Asia-Pacific region which covers a total of 13 markets, amongst which are Japan, China, Australia and Hong Kong. The region has enormous potential for development and is extremely strategic for Ferrari which envisages commercial successes in coming years.
Finally, just a few days ago, Donato Coco joined Ferrari, replacing Frank Stephenson as the Prancing Horse’s Chief Designer. Coco will now have the task of stimulating and directing the creativity of Ferrari’s partners, including Pininfarina with which the Prancing Horse has enjoyed an exceptionally long and fruitful working relationship.