LaFerrari represents a point of reference for all super sports cars, no matter where they are manufactured.
By Nathaniel Stillman
Every now and then, Ferrari gives the world a work of art on wheels, something that exemplifies how far we can go when it comes to engineering a car. In 1984 it was the GTO, in 1987 the F40, in 1996 the F50, in 2002 the Enzo...and in 2003, the debut of LaFerrari.
All are special editions form the luxury carmaker, a historic link between the racing prototypes driven by Gerhard Berger, Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso, and Ferrari's commercial production.
Roberto Fedeli, technical director of Ferrari, explains the value of these special editions in these words: "these models are exactly in the middle. There are F1 and the GT models, and among them we have these vehicles. We want to transfer competition technology to production, and this is the way to go. In these vehicles we want to include all the innovations we have, not only one of every two components, but all that can be part of a WP. They are simply a preview of the technology that will be present in the future range."
LaFerrari is the latest of addition to this collection, presented at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, held March 7th to the 17th. It already represents a point of reference for all super sports cars, no matter where they are manufactured. This is not only the fastest Ferrari in history, but also the first hybrid from the cavallino rampante.
This model offers a total power delivery of 963 CV. It boasts a V12 engine of 6,626 cubic centimeters, able to yield no less than 800 CV, and is able to turn to a regime of 9,250 rpm, compounded by a 163 HP electric engine. With this mechanics, the vehicle was able to establish a few records. LaFerrari reaches 100 km/h (60 m/ph) in less than 3 seconds, and it gets from 0 to 200 km/h (120 m/ph) in less than 7. In addition, its top speed is above 350 km/h (217 m/ph).
The combustion engine shares its technical performance with the HY-KERS, the KERS version currently used in Formula 1 single seaters, adapted for road cars. It's a high performance battery charged with the energy recovered by the vehicle as it brakes, and whenever the V12 generates more torque than required. This energy is the force that moves the electric engine to assist the combustion engine, allowing the car to get more potency without increasing the consumption or CO2 emissions.
Ferrari said that in the future, the HY-KERS system would allow their sports cars be to be driven only in electric mode for a few kilometers. The Italian brand hasn’t given specific information about the combined fuel consumption of LaFerrari, but pointed out that it is less than the Enzo´s, and also its CO2 emissions have dropped by 50%, to stand at 330 g/km.
The spirit of Formula 1 is not only present in the engine; you can feel it in every square inch of LaFerrari. In fact, this road car model has been developed alongside the F138 single-seater. Its cockpit is built completely out of carbon fiber, with the same technology used in competition to protect pilots in case of accidents.
The driver´s seat in LaFerrari is a completely new concept drawn from F1. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were directly involved in its development, which resulted in a functional cockpit inspired by driving on the track. The seat is fixed, but the steering wheel and pedals are highly adjustable to adapt to the driver's preferred position.
Ferrari will manufacture only 499 units of this model, but it has already received requests that more than double that figure, which demonstrates the success it has achieved among the brand´s loyal customers. LaFerrari is already a real collector piece, even before stepping on the roads. Its price is around one million euros (1.3 million dollars).
The main competitor of LaFerrari is the McLaren P1, another new super hybrid, which was also featured in the Geneva show. Its production is limited to 375 units. They will be available for sale for 866.000 pounds (1.3 million dollars or one million euros at current exchange). The McLaren P1 has a V8 gasoline engine of 3.8 liters, connected to an electric engine that delivers a combined maximum output of 916 HP. The P1 is capable of reaching an electronically limited top speed of 350 kph (217 m/ph). It accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (60 m/ph) in less than three seconds and 0 to 300 km/h (186 m/ph) in 17 seconds. ■