F1 For the Road – The Ferrari F50Posted by: Shelton Kwan onAugust 27th, 2014
It’s not often one gets handed the keys to a million dollar car. Well in this case, about 1.6 million, but who’s counting? It’s ironic that I’m the one that gets to write about this supercar. You see, I’m not exactly a fan of Ferrari. Don’t get me wrong, Ferrari makes some great sports cars, but I’m a diehard McLaren fan in the sport of Formula 1 and Ferrari has been our biggest rival over the checkered history of the two teams.
For me, driving a Ferrari is akin to a Red Sox fan wearing a Yankees jersey or, something closer to home, a Flames fan sporting Oilers gear. It’s obvious that the owner of this car has a good sense of humor, as he suggested that I close off our Summer Series by taking his F50 for a day. I promised to be open minded about the experience. Hell, I even wore a red shirt to pick up the car.
The Ferrari F50 is an interesting model in the line of Ferrari supercars released for sale to the public. Preceded by the 288 GTO and the F40, it was the first Ferrari road car that truly benefited from the transfer of F1 technology. The basic design mimics a Formula One car, starting with a light weight carbon fiber tub. The engine, acting as a stressed member, is bolted on to the rear of the tub. The powerplant, a 520hp 4.7L V12, is derived from the Ferrari 640 Formula One car, which won 3 races in the 1989 Formula One season.
Much like an F1 racecar, the suspension consists of independent wishbones, actuated by a pushrod system against horizontally mounted spring and shocks. Out back, the rear suspension is mounted to the gear box like a proper racing car. The shocks are electronically adjustable to optimize the suspension for different types of road or track conditions, and even feature a front lift system to protect from scraping the very expensive long overhang. It’s as close to a Formula 1 car on the streets as you can get.