What comes in between a road car and an F1 car, you ask? With a rapidly escalation level of crossover in technologies, less and less. But the narrow territory we're talking about is the XX development program – what Ferrari terms as their elite cadre of "client development drivers." That is, the customers who are willing to shell out big bucks – and we do mean big bucks – to test out the latest technological developments on the path from F1 cars to road cars.
The program initially launched with the FXX, an Enzo-based track car that was neither homologated for any racing series nor certified for road use (save a handful of well-heeled customers in some small countries where cash can overcome regulation). That was later improved upon with the FXX Evoluzione, an upgrade offered to existing owners/participants in the program. That, in turn, was succeeded by the 599XX, which has now led, somewhat expectedly, to the 599XX Evoluzione.
For another €185,000 (about $250k) over the €1.3 million ($1.75m) purchase price of the initial 599XX – existing buyers-in to the program can opt to upgrade to the Evoluzione model. That includes a two-year extension of factory-backed "test sessions", as well as a number of upgrades that center primarily around the aerodynamics package. Aside from the giant front splitter that juts out from the nose, you might notice a rear wing that would make a jumbo-jet blush. But it's not just a big spoiler: it's an adaptive one, too. Like the DRS mechanism employed in Formula One, the FXX Evo's rear wing can be opened up for reduced drag on straightaways or closed for increased downforce in the corners.
Coupled with an incidental 30-horsepower increase in output from the 6.0-liter V12 (for 740hp total), the 599XX Evoluzione can now lap Ferrari's private Fiorano test track in 1:15 – a full second faster than the existing 599XX... or nine seconds ahead of the 599 GTO, the fasted street-legal version of the same road-going GT. But with only 29 examples in existence – the first of which was just unveiled for the first time at the Bologna Motor Show – we'll just have to wait for the adaptive aero bits to trickle down to the rest of us. Details in the press release after the jump.
The 599XX with new evolution package
Bologna, 30 November – The 36th edition of the Bologna Motor Show provides the venue for the unveiling of an evolution of the extreme, non-homologated sports berlinetta, the 599XX. Ferrari has introduced a package of performance-enhancing technical features available to clients participating in the track-based research and development programme for the 2012-2013 seasons.
Already the fruit of the very finest Ferrari road car and Formula 1-derived technology, the 599XX now features improved chassis dynamics thanks to an active aerodynamic package integrated with the vehicles' electronic control systems, and the adoption of new Pirelli tyres. The car is also more powerful than before (750 CV) and weighs 35 kg less.
The key to the aero package is the active rear wing design which represents a new aerodynamic concept called 'opening gap'. The wing features two flaps, with profiles similar to those used in Formula 1, which rotate electronically to adjust the downforce between the front and rear axles in function of vehicle speed and the manoeuvre being effected. The result of this concept is better performance in cornering.
The 599XX active rear wing is actuated automatically according to specific parameters which are integrated with the car's other control functions (ESP, ABS, SCM and F1-Trac). As a result of this integration, all the electronic controls have been suitably recalibrated. The 'opening gap' system logic is based on the following parameters:
- steering wheel angle
- longitudinal acceleration
- lateral acceleration
- vehicle speed
The new aerodynamics package for the 599XX also includes a modified front splitter and a new rear diffuser featuring a larger surface area and redesigned fences and foot-plates. Total downforce at 200 km/h is boosted to 330 kg when the flaps are open and 440 kg in the closed configuration.
The adoption of side exhausts allowed the engineers to increase engine power by 20 CV to 750 CV (again at 9000 rpm), while maximum torque has been increased to 700 Nm. When combined with a final gear ratio that's slightly shorter to improve acceleration on technical, medium- to high-speed tracks, the result is that the car laps Fiorano in just 1'15".
The Ferrari stand at the Bologna Motor Show is devoted entirely to its racing activities and features the 458 Challenge, the mid-rear V8 berlinetta derived from the 458 Italia and Ferrari's fifth model for its single-make championship. This series, now in its 19th year, will span three continents – Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.
Also on the stand is the 458 Italia GT2 fielded by AF Corse. This is the car that won the Drivers' and Teams' title in the Le Mans Series and the Teams' title in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, and also contributed to Ferrari's taking the Manufacturers' title in the respective championships. The line-up of track-only Prancing Horse models is completed by the 458 Italia GT3 which made a superb FIA GT3 debut by winning the Drivers' title, and the FXX, Ferrari's "laboratory" car and one of the most technologically advanced non-competitive models in the world.
On December 3rd, the Show hosts three events featuring the Prancing Horse, two of which will see no less than 16 cars from the Italian and European Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli series taking part in the traditional end-of-year challenge.
The extensive programme planned for the competition arena will culminate in the traditional Scuderia Ferrari salute with an exhibition of the F10, the single-seater with which Ferrari competed in the 2010 Formula 1 season. The car will have a very special guest driver on this occasion: Giancarlo Fisichella.