ROSS BRAWN VISITS FERRARI FACTORY IN MARANELLO, CREATING SPECULATION OF POSSIBLE RETURN TO FERRARI F1
Ross Brawn has went out of his way to downplay the significance of his recent visit to the Ferrari factory in Maranello on Monday stating that he was there “with a group of friends as part of a tour of Italy – no more that that!”
Brawn, 59, was the Ferrari Formula 1 technical director during the team’s dominant period of the early 2000s. With his departure as team principal for Mercedes in December, fans are left wondering if this was more than a friendly vacation to see old friends.
A spokesman for Ferrari also downplayed the significance of Brawn being on property by saying that Brawn’s visit was “simply an Italian fantasy tour with friends scheduled for some time.” Brawn and his friends tried out two Ferrari road cars, including the new LaFerrari hybrid supercar on the Ferrari owned Fiorano test track.
Ferrari is off to the worst start in recent history with only one podium finish in the first four races. The lackluster start to the season has resulted in the replacement of team principal Stefano Domenicali with Marco Mattiacci, the former head of Ferrari’s North American road-car division who is a protégé of the top management of parent company Fiat.
April 30th marks the expiration of the first of two embargoes on the Ferrari LaFerrari. These embargoes are agreements between news agencies and manufactures to hold information and images of vehicles until a predetermined date. While embargoes are not unusual, they are frustrating for all of us that can’t wait for more information to be released on the newest car to come out of Maranello. With the first of two embargoes officially over, expect a lot of coverage of the hot new hybrid from Ferrari, the LaFerrari.
The first video to be released is from Evo and it is almost 10 minutes long. Dickie Meaden takes the 900-plus-horsepower hybrid for a run around the Fiorano test track and out onto Italian roads.
Rumors have been surfacing for some time now that Ferrari has been working on a track version of the LaFerrari called LaFerrari XX. There are reports that a variant of the LaFerrari XX equipped with a hybrid 6.3-liter V12 engine capable of producing 949 horsepower was seen putting down a six minute, 35 second lap time around the historic Nurburgring.
Latest rumors state that Ferrari has chosen to scrap the current powerplant in favor of the engine currently being used in Formula 1. This means that the 6.3- liter V12 hybrid will give way to a twin-turbo V-6 engine. This represents an extreme change in direction. It’s hard to tell how power and speed will compare between the two variants; however, the Formula 1 inspired engine package will definitely reduce weight, combined with a revised aero package and some suspension changes could result is much faster lap times.
Rumors are swirling this morning that the barely commenced LaFerrari XX project has unofficially set a track record at the Nurburgring for track-only vehicles with a stunning time of 6:35. If this rumor proves to be true, then the LaFerrari XX will have surpassed the previous record set by the Pagani Zonda R by 12 seconds making the LaFerrari XX the fastest production-based, track-exclusive car to ever take laps around the Nurburgring. This record will also smash all previous Ferrari track-based records set by the Ferrari 599XX, the only other track-only Ferrari to break the seven minute barrier at the “Ring”.
The French Rivera is known for its lavish yachts and exotic cars, even with that being said, it’s always nice to see two examples of Ferrari excellence together cruising the streets of Monaco. Both examples are done in Corso Rosso Red with black rims that provide a complimentary accent to these already impressive machines.
This day was bound to happen, even knowing that a sellout was guaranteed when only 499 are being produced, it’s still a somber moment knowing that the day has finally came. The LaFerrari was first introduced at the Geneva International Motor Show just 9 months ago. Only 120 of the 499 vehicles are slated to be sent to North America with each vehicle carrying a hefty price tag of $1.4 million.
The LeFerrari is going to rival the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and the future Acura NSX. Being the first (hopefully not the last) hybrid to leave the Maranello shop, the LaFerrari is powered by a hybrid HY-KERS powertrain that delivers 963 horsepower with a 0-60 in less than 3 seconds and a top speed of over 220 mph!
When looking at a car as an investment, the LaFerrari is a solid bet. Take into consideration other limited production Ferraris that have went up in price such as the Enzo. 10 years ago Ferrari introduced the Enzo for $650,000, now the Ferrari Enzo will cost well over $2 million. Executives at Ferrari expect the LaFerrari to do the same thing. Marco Mattiaci, president and CEO of Ferrari North America, said that the LaFerrari is “going to be the benchmark of the auto industry…its trajectory is going to follow exactly the vintage Ferrari cars. This is a unique piece, the first hybrid Ferrari.”
It can be quite hard to make a car look sportier than the original without ruining the complete design. German supercar turner DMC set out to accomplish that feat on the newest member of the Ferrari fleet, the 2014 LaFerrari. DMC has taken this hybrid to a whole new level by combining elements from the Ferrari GTO, the XX and FXX. All the changes made for this digital rendering were cosmetic with zero alterations being made to the LaFerrari’s original DNA except for a race inspired exhaust. For as wild as the FXXR is, these ideas may not be farfetched. Many of the carbon fiber details and the sharper lines, not to mention the rear spoiler are items that can all become a reality should Ferrari introduce a track edition. There is no word as to whether DMC has any plans to actually build the FXXR. One serious setback to making the FXXR a reality is that there are only 499 potential customers in existence and with the LaFerrari costing $1.4 million, it’s hard to say if any of the owners will be willing to undergo such a radical transformation.
Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has just re-signed with Real Madrid making him one of the highest paid athletes in the world earning more than $23 million a year. With that much extra cash laying around there is always some money to put to good use such as buying a $1.4 Million LaFerrari and becoming one of only 499 people in the world to say that they own Ferrari’s first hybrid supercar (not bad for bragging rights).
The LeFerrari is designed to rival the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder. Having the distinction of being Maranello’s first hybrid, the LaFerrari is supported by two HY-KERS electric motors that assist the LaFerrari’s powerful V12 engine to produce 963 horsepower with a 0-60 in less than 3 seconds and a top speed of over 220 mph!
Ronaldo has long been known as a supercar aficionado. Other supercars that make up his collection include a Ferrari 599 GTO and a Lamborghini Aventador. Not that Ronaldo needs any more cash, but he may find the LaFerrari to be a solid investment when considering that Ferrari’s limited production Enzo has more than quadrupled in price in less than 10 years. When taking into consideration the collectability of a vehicle that is both Ferrari’s first hybrid and first supercar to break 900 horsepower, it’s easy to imagine that the LaFerrari will soar in price before too long.
The Ferrari LaFerrari is the newest flagship vehicle of the Ferrari fleet and rightfully so. With a combined power output of 930 horsepower and a limited production run of only 499 units, the LaFerrari follows in a proud tradition of limited vehicles to come from Maranello. Other head-turning limited editions from the recent past include the F40 and the Enzo.
This most recent example of Ferrari excellence was seen recently driving around the curvy streets of Monaco dressed in a stunning shade of Red. While the sight of exotic cars cruising the streets of Monaco is not all that rare, it is always a treat to see such a limited production model as the LaFerrari.
The LaFerrari has barely been on the road and now one is already up for sale. SEMCO GmbH in Munich claims to be selling the car for a hefty $3.24 million that is almost double the initial retail price. This type of situation is seriously frowned upon by Ferrari who goes to great lengths during its selection process of potential buyers to weed out any perspective “scalpers” who are just looking to flip the car for a quick buck. Ferrari wants to ensure that the people who purchase these limited vehicles are going to hold on to them for a long while. With the LaFerrari, this practice was so apparent that Ferrari Chairman, Luca di Montezemolo chose the final list of buyers personally. This strongly suggests that whoever is selling this vehicle should not expect to be on Ferrari’s hot list of buyers any longer.
If anyone is wondering why a vehicle fresh off the production line would resell for twice the original retail price, there a two reasons that come to mind, one is that limited production vehicles such as this have a tendency to continuously go up in price just like the Ferrari Enzo that is now worth 3 times its original retail price. The other reason is that the LaFerrari is an amazing car that can launch from a dead stop to 60 mph in under 3 seconds.
The limited production hybrid (only 499 units will be sold) LaFerrari that was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show introduced the world to a hybrid system derived from Scuderia Ferrari’s F1 KERS technology. The current version of the HY_KERS that is available on the LaFerrari does not feature an electric only option even though the system is designed so that in future applications a car can be driven in electric mode only. The LaFerrari is the first Ferrari to utilize the benefits of the HY-KERS system. The gasoline engine in the LaFerrari is a 789 horsepower 6262cc V12 that revs to a maximum 9,250 rpm. The LaFerrari also features a 120 kw electric motor, giving the vehicle a combined power output of 950 horsepower.
The hybrid system is made of two electric motors developed in cooperation with Magneti Marelli. The first motor powers the driven wheels and the second the ancillaries. Developing the HY-KERS system in cooperation with Scuderia Ferrari allowed for considerable weight reduction pertaining to the individual components to include a battery pack that weighs 132 pounds. The batteries of the HY-KERS system are charged in different ways: the batteries will charge every time the V12 produces more torque than required such as what is achieved during cornering and every time under braking or even hard braking with the ABS active is achieved.
The LaFerrari’s Brembo braking system is also integrated into the hybrid system with several new features including new lightweight calipers designed to guarantee correct cooling and carbon-ceramic material discs. This has helped to allow the LaFerrari to put up track times 5 seconds faster than the Enzo and 3 seconds faster than the F12 Berlinetta.
Here are a few of the previously unseen concepts for what became the LaFerrari that are now on display at the Ferrari supercar-technica design mito’ exhibition at Mueseo Ferrari. These pictures help provide an exclusive look into the vehicle concept development, full scale prototypes and study models help illustrate the birth of the LaFerrari that was originally unveiled at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show. The exhibit helps to recount the steps taken by explaining in detail starting with how the designs transverse from the 1984 GTO to the first concept thru final creation of the supercar.
Recently, Formula one driver Fernando Alonso was given an opportunity to take out the still camouflaged Ferrari LaFerrari for a test drive around the 1.86 mile test track with GT driver Andrea Bertolini as his passenger.
“I am always happy to spend a few days in Maranello. Apart from working on the car and being in close contact with the team,” said Alsonso. “Sometimes I’m able to see some of the production departments which are the heart of the company. This time I met up with people who are never in the limelight, but they have an incredible love for their work.”
Earlier this week a LaFerrari was out on the Fiorano racetrack. Nothing strange there, LaFerrari’s belong out on the track, what are strange were the sounds that were coming out of Ferrari’s first hybrid. This little racer did not have the familiar exhaust note of a normal LaFerrari. It sounded a lot more like the note from the turbocharged V-6 engine that we will see in Formula 1 next year. It goes without saying, that these two engines have a much different sound and are impossible to confuse, suggesting that there is more to this story.
We are not sure exactly why Ferrari would choose to test the new Formula One engine in a LaFerrari. A common speculation is the guess that the drivetrain may be easy to change out on the LaFerrari making the initial drivetrain tests easier to do this way. Then again, it’s anybody’s guess; we expect that Ferrari will shed some light on this soon enough.
Ferrari announced earlier this year during the unveiling of the Ferrari 458 Speciale at the Frankfurt Motor Show that they believe the 458 Speciale to be “more fun than the Ferrari F40.” Even without seeing one in action, everyone from around the world was eager to see what the new 458 Speciale could do.
British racing magazine Autocar got the opportunity to take the Ferrari 458 Speciale out on the track. Steve Sutcliffe was the lucky man who got to find out if the Ferrari 458 Speciale lived up to all the hype. During the video, Steve makes specific reference to the upgraded gearbox that allows 44% faster downshifts. He is also very impressed with the LaFerrari-style brakes and the new traction control system that allows the driver the ability to slide without spinning.
The 458 Speciale includes the same 4.5-liter V-8 engine that is found in the stock 458 Italia; the engine has been tweaked to produce 596 horsepower and 398 lb-feet of torque. This results in the Ferrari 458 Speciale having 34 more horsepower that the standard 458 Italia, making the 458 Speciale the most powerful naturally aspirated V-8 ever built by Ferrari. The 596 horsepower engine allows the 458 Speciale to achieve 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds with a top speed of 202 mph.