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Classic Driver at the Geneva Show: Ferrari 599XX and HGTE

As we previewed last week, Ferrari had two very special 599s on its stand at Geneva – one of which was the 599XX, an extreme track-day prototype intended for a very select group of clients. As with the Enzo-based FXX before it, the car is effectively a mobile laboratory using highly advanced technologies, often from F1. It will be taking part in Ferrari-dedicated track events in 2010/2011 with non-professional drivers at the wheel, helping to develop future technologies which can be applied to road-going Ferraris.

The plethora of aerodynamic, electronic control and handling innovations, says Ferrari, ‘can be summed up in one highly relevant statistic: a Fiorano lap time of just 1 minute and 17 seconds’.

While based on the 599 GTB Fiorano, the car’s very extensive modifications have resulted in a maximum power output of 700HP at a startling 9000rpm. Meanwhile, 280kg of aerodynamic downforce at 200km/h (and 630kg at 300km/h) has been achieved by some impressively innovative steps. For example, the front underside of the show car was completely faired-in, while the vents which channel hot air from the engine bay have been moved to the bonnet. A mesh grille in the rear diffuser was pointed out to us, and it was explained how two boot-mounted fans draw air from under the car and channel it out through grilles by the tail-lights. Other clever tricks include ‘synthetic jets’ in the rear of the car to control and smooth the air-flow and reduce drag.

Sitting nearby on the Ferrari stand was the 599 GTB Fiorano with the Handling GTE (Gran Turismo Evoluzione) package. The package includes stiffer springs and rear anti-roll bar, plus new settings for the magnetorheological shock absorbers when the manettino is at its sportier settings. The ride height has been lowered, while optimised tyres feature a compound offering even better grip.

There are also some styling touches, such as the 20in split-rim wheels with a diamond-cut and matte silver finish; and a matt-black rear diffuser highlighting the chromed tail pipes. Inside, the mix of full-grain leather, black Alcantara and carbonfibre trim has a distinctively sporty feel.

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: headlineauto

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