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Friday
Mar082013

LaWhat?

By Christopher A. Sawyer

You almost have to wonder if they let some 1950s PR hack — or the vacuous Paris Hilton — name the new Ferrari just prior to the Geneva Motor Show, and after an all-nighter. Yet Ferrari’s President, Luca di Montezemolo, claims the LaFerrari name came about, “because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company – excellence.” However, if it really is the ultimate, shouldn’t the car have been called La Ùltimo (and not run together like some trendy restaurant name)? Yet, as if to prove that this whole supercar nonsense has jumped the shark, di Montezemolo went on to say this: “[LaFerrari is] aimed at our collectors [emphasis added]. This is a truly extraordinary car which encompasses advanced solutions that, in the future, will find their way onto the rest of the range, and it represents the benchmark for the entire automotive industry.” Whatever you say, Luca.

Enough of the hyperventilating. Let’s cut through the BS and see what this old girl (LaFerrari is feminine, as would be the general term la macchina, or “the machine”) is made of.

Under the watchful eye of Ferrari F1 Technical Director Rory Byrne, the car was designed to place all major components within the wheelbase and as close to the floor of the carbon monocoque as possible. This lowered the car’s center of gravity by 35 mm (1.38 in) and put 59% of the weight on the rear axle. In addition, the seats are fixed, their basic shape molded into the structure (as is the battery box), and both the steering wheel and pedal box are adjustable. Made up of four hand-laid types of carbon fiber that are cured in an autoclave, torsional rigidity (+27%) and beam stiffness (+22%) are greater than that of the Ferrari Enzo it supersedes.

Under the hood is a 6262 cc V12 and 120 kW electric motor producing a total of 950 horsepower (789 from the V12, and another 161 from the electric motor). The V12 revs to 9,250 rpm, has a 13.5:1 compression ratio, and a claimed specific output of 126.25 hp/liter. Also, by using the instant torque available from the electric motor, Ferrari engineers were able to optimize the V12’s high rpm performance. Total torque is more than 664 lb-ft.

Magneti Marelli developed the HY-KERS hybrid system, which uses two motors — one in the dual-clutch gearbox that drives the rear wheels, the other in the engine compartment to drive the engine’s ancillaries — and a 132 lb battery pack assembled by the same team that builds the KERS system for Ferrari’s F138 F1 car. Not only do the batteries recharge under braking, when the electric motor becomes a generator and pumps energy back into the system, but also when the V12 produces excess torque, as in cornering.

The drag coefficient is claimed to be nearly 0.30, a surprisingly low number. With the shape honed via computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and time in Ferrari’s wind tunnel, the engineers were able to do things they can’t do in F1, like add active aerodynamic devices. That’s why LaFerrari features active features (front and rear diffusers, underbody guide vanes and rear spoiler) to produce downforce without increasing the car’s drag number. These deploy automatically based on pre-set performance parameters monitored by the car’s on-board telemetry. This same telemetry/computer control system also monitors the hybrid system, and chooses when and how to supplement the V12 with electric power, based on driver inputs.

As expected, the car uses Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes with lightweight calipers designed to direct cooling air to the discs. And, since Pirelli is the tire supplier for Formula 1, LaFerrari is fitted with P265/30R-19 tires in front and P345/30R-20 tires in the rear. Ferrari hopes to sell all 499 of the cars at a projected price of more than $1.3 million each. For more pictures, see the gallery below.

 

Technical Specifications

HY-KERS system

Total maximum power

949 hp

Total maximum torque 

+664 lb-ft

V12 maximum power*

789 @9000 rpm

Maximum revs

9250 rpm

V12 maximum torque

516 lb-ft @6750 rpm

Electric motor output 

120 Kw (161 hp)

CO2 emissions**

330 g/km

 

Performance

Maximum speed  

over 217.5 mph

0-62 mph

<3 sec

0-124 mph

<7 sec

0-186 mph

15 sec

 

Engine

Type 

65-deg. V12

Bore and stroke

94 x 752 mm

Total displacement

6262 cc

Compression ratio

13.5:1

Specific power

126.25 hp/L

 

Dimensions (in inches)

Length   

185.1

Width

78.4

Height 

44

Wheelbase

104

Weight distribution F/R:

41% fr, 59% r

 

 

Gearbox

 

7-speed DCT

 

Suspension

Front

double wishbones

Rear 

multi-link

 

 

Tyres (Pirelli P-Zero)

 

Front

265/30R - 19

Rear 

345/30R - 20

 

Carbon ceramic brakes (Brembo)

Front 

15.7 x 8.8 x 1.4 in

Rear  

15 x 10 x 1.3 in

 

Electronic controls

ESC 

stability control

High perf ABS/EBD

Performance anti-lock system/electronic brake balance

EF1-Trac

F1 electronic traction control integrated with the hybrid system

E-Diff 3 

third generation electronic differential

SCM-E Frs

magnetorheological damping with twin solenoids (Al-Ni tube)

Aerodynamics 

active

* with dynamic ram effect
**Undergoing homologation

 

 

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