Ferrari’s Next Supercar: The Ferrari LaFerrari

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onMarch 5th, 2013

Sure, the name sounds rather silly, but there is no hiding the fact that the Ferrari Enzo’s replacement, oddly named the Ferrari LaFerrari, is a technological tour de force. 963hp out of a F1 derived Hybrid KERS drivetrain. A carbon fibre chassis designed by F1 engineers, including the legendary Rory Byrne. Active Aerodynamic components to allow the most efficient downforce to drag ratio at any speed. All of this combine to create the fastest Ferrari road car to come out of Maranello.

Back in 2011, Ferrari launched their F1 race car, named the Ferrari F150 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. Ford, which has a storied history with Ferrari in the 60’s, happens to own the trademark to the F150 name for their line of trucks and threatened to sue. Ferrari had no choice but to rename their F1 car to the Ferrari 150° Italia. So it’s rather interesting that the Enzo’s replacement started off with the F150 as it’s codename, because there is no way that it would make it to production. Like the 2011 F1 competitor with the awkward name, the car we see here has been named the LaFerrari.

The drivetrain of the LaFerrari is a hybrid KERS unit that draws technologies from the Formula 1 side of the business. The car itself is an engineering exercise, as these new concepts will filter down to the rest of the Ferrari line over the years. The engine is a 6.3L V12 making 800hp, coupled to an electric motor capable of 163hp. With the electric motor producing instant torque at 0rpm, the V12 engine was tuned to make maximum horsepower at high revs, which allows the combined unit to have a smooth and powerful powerband throughout the rev range. The gearbox integrates with the electric motor, which combined with the aux motor that replaces the alternator, creates a seamless package that’s more lightweight than your traditional hybrid setup.

With a traditional hybrid powertrain setup, heavy batteries tend to ruin driving dynamics. Ferrari’s solution is to adopt the F1 KERS battery technology, which in a racing environment, must be able to hold a lot of power at minimal weight. The LaFerrari’s battery setup consists of 120 cells assembled into eight 15-cell modules, which pumps out the power of 40 standard size batteries, at a weight of 130lbs. The batteries are charged under braking, or from the engine when excess torque is created. Even the traction control system is designed with the batteries in mind; when bleeding off power in a traction event, that power goes to charge the battery.

The body work is typical of modern Ferraris, function over form. There are a lot of intricate details that look awkward to the eye, but serve an aerodynamic function to improve performance. Designed within the F1 wind tunnels, the LaFerrari channels air seamlessly around the car to create efficient downforce at high speeds. Several active aerodynamic devices changes the profile of the car in different situations. The flaps on the rear diffuser rise to increase air expansion and thus extraction capacity, the flaps on the front diffuser rise to increase expansion and generate the downforce required to balance that at the rear, and the guide vane on the front underbody, which at high speeds channels excess air away from the front radiator to reduce drag, closes to maximize efficiency.

No word on pricing for the LaFerrari, but at only 499 copies, rest assured that there are wealthier people than you that have already guaranteed their allocation and perhaps some of them will actually drive the shit out of them.

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