The Bologna Motor Show in Italy brought to the world two cars at the extreme opposite ends of the motoring spectrum. Citro?s C-Air Play is a miniature sedan designed to offer driving enjoyment without too much speed. The other newcomer alla Bolognese is the Ferrari FXX, designed to offer driving enjoyment with the ultimate in speed. The FXX could bid to be the ultimate zillionaire's toy: just 29 have been built and they will be sold - at a price of $1.8 million a piece - to what the company describes as "a selected group of its most dedicated and passionate Clients."
The FXX owes much to the Enzo, Ferrari's limited-production super car, but it is even more advanced in its conception and is the culmination of Ferrari's expertise in building special limited-series sports cars combined with its racing experience. The FXX, Ferrari says, will provide the basic framework on which the specifics of future extreme models will be developed. The car delivers extreme performance: it is powered by an imposing 6262-cc V-12 engine that 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 milliseconds - almost as fast as the F1 cars, the pinnacle of current technology. The FXX has a dry weight of 2546 pounds, with a power-to-weight ratio of 3.18 pounds per horsepower, and has completed a lap of Ferrari's own Fiorano test track in under 1'18''00 - a time that gives an indication of the sheer power and performance of the car.
The FXX's aerodynamic design gives a 40 percent increase in downforce compared to the already impressive Enzo. Ferrari's F1 tire partner, Bridgestone, developed a specific 19" slick tire for the FXX, and Italian brake specialists Brembo created a special brake pad and cooling system for the 398 x 36 mm Composite Ceramic Material rotors. 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 rearview mirrors.
The fact that the FXX uses slick tires and has an inbuilt telemetry system provides a further hint as to its credentials as a folly for the rich - it cannot legally be used on the road, neither can it compete in any form of officially-sanctioned racing. It has not been submitted for approval by the bodies that approve motor vehicles for road or race use, but purchasers can use it on the Fiorano track, where they will be taught how to handle the beast, and on a selection of international race tracks, where races open only to the FXX and its selected ownership will be held. The $1.8 million package includes participation in a series of 14 events organized by Ferrari on various international-level circuits over the coming two years in Europe, North America, and Japan (meetings at Spa in Belgium and the Nrburgring in Germany 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 what Ferrari refers to as "the Client Test Drivers." In addition to these unique official events, Clients (for this much money, Ferrari calls them Clients with a capital 'C') will also be able to take their cars out on the track independently during private sessions. If Clients wish to leave their car at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters while not in use, they will be transported directly by Ferrari to the various European circuits for the scheduled events.
After the seat and the pedals have been individually molded for each driver, there will be a traditional "shakedown" followed by the 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. -Ian Norris
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