The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
Ferrari has launched its latest flagship V12 at this year's Geneva Salon. The newest front-engined car from Maranello will carry the name of the company's test track - and provide commensurate performance. With its all-aluminium chassis/body, a 5,999cc (hence the name) variation on the Enzo's motor, and the fastest gearchange yet outside of an F1 car, Ferrari say the new two-seater "sets a new benchmark of excellence in the sports car world". Who would disagree with that?
The key to the car's performance lies with the 620 hp (at 7,600 rpm) V12 combining with the light chassis and bodywork to make a weight-power ratio of less than 2.6 kg/hp.
The car draws on styling cues from its 250 GT and 275 GTB predecessors, as well as the wide 'open mouth' grille of the 612 Scaglietti, and the interior of the Enzo. The car's big 'feature' is the 'flying buttress' B-pillars that help channel air around the curved rear screen without raising drag.
The optimisation of the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano's underbody, the rear diffuser and flying buttresses have resulted in an aerodynamic load of just 160 kg at 300 km/h. Similarly, the Cd - drag coefficient - is just 0.336. Lengthy testing in the wind tunnel at Ferrari plus various simulations have yielded exceptional results in terms of both downforce and drag.
Inside the cockpit, the passenger areas of the car are trimmed in leather while the driver area and controls boast more high-tech detailing in carbon-fibre and aluminium.
In addition to the steering wheel and manettino (the steering wheel-mounted vehicle dynamics control switch, originally developed for the 1996 Formula 1 season), the central rev counter with a choice of red or yellow background and solid aluminium passenger controls, the new Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano also boasts new styling cues including a central grip to provide extra support for the passenger and new adaptive racing seats featuring carbon-fibre side rests. Other standard accessories include front bi-xenon headlamps and rear LED lights, dusk and rain sensors, dual-zone climate control, electrically adjustable steering-wheel column, hideaway radio/CD player and key with integrated volumetric anti-theft device with motion sensors.
The 599 GTB Fiorano also showcases several new technological developments from Ferrari; F1-SuperFast, F1-Trac, SCM and an evolution of the 'Manettino' switch on the steering wheel, first seen on the road in the F430.
The new generation F1 gearbox that debuts on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano is a further development of the F1 gearbox used on all of the models in the Ferrari range.
The F1-SuperFast system enhances the car's high-performance capabilities by using the elastic energy within the transmission components, together with the integrated electronic engine and gearbox management programmes, to speed up gear change times. The various stages involved in changing the gears are implemented in parallel (non-sequentially) and this results in exceptionally fast gear shifting. In fact, it cuts overall gear-shift times to just 100 ms. The system is integrated with the manettino and the driver is still free to choose between either the Automatic mode or the Launch Control setting which offers smoother starts from standstill.
Born from thousands of kilometres of testing on road and track, both in racing and road cars, the system continually monitors the speed of both front and rear wheels and features predictive software that estimates the maximum available grip in advance, compares this information with the vehicle dynamics model stored in the control system, and adjusts its reactions to suit, optimising traction by modulating power delivery.
The result is easier, smoother high-performance driving, thanks to maximum grip out of bends (a 20% increase in acceleration compared to a traditional traction and stability control system) and predictable handling even in extreme situations. The F1-Trac is integrated with the manettino which adapts the car's behaviour to the driving conditions: the Sport setting provides the best balance between stability and performance on the road while Race ensures clients maximum performance combined with consistently brilliant handling. The F1-Trac system is another world first for Ferrari.
SCM (Magnetorheological Suspension Control) Suspension
Unlike traditional oleodynamic systems, magnetorheological (MR) fluid suspension systems react instantly to road conditions and driver inputs, thanks to the fact that the dampers use a fluid the viscosity of which is modified by applying an electronically controlled magnetic field.
What this means in practice is greatly improved body control which in turn directly improves handling and road-holding thanks to optimal tyre grip in all road conditions. The result is a much safer and more enjoyable driving experience courtesy of reduced roll and greater control when accelerating, braking and cornering. This is the very first time the SCM (Magnetorheological Suspension Control) suspension has been used on a high performance sports car.
Evolution of The Manettino
The manettino integrates the stability and F1-Trac traction control systems, the F1-SuperFast gearbox and the SCM (Magnetorheological Suspension Control) fluid suspension. This means that the driver can select the correct setting for the grip conditions at any given time. The manettino's readouts are displayed on the new on-board Multi Display unit so that the information important to each specific setting is instantly available to the driver (e.g. lap times, tyre temperature and pressure or trip computer readouts.)
As always, a raft of options are available to personalise the 599 GTB to each owner's exact requirements.
Racing and Track includes CCM (Carbon Ceramic Material) brakes, 20" Challenge one-piece rims with run-flat tyres, four-point harnesses and a cockpit roll-bar. The Scuderia wheel arch shields and coloured brake calipers complete the look for sportier clients.
Interior and Materials includes a new Enzo Ferrari-inspired carbon-fibre steering wheel with LED rev display which can be specified along with a special carbon-fibre trim kit for the door panels, instrument panel, gear stick surround and sill kick panels. Various types of leather trim are also available for the seats and interior too. Travel and Equipment accessories include front and rear parking sensors, iPod-friendly set-up, satellite anti-theft system and a specially tailored luggage set.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but it is understood to be at a similar base level to its predecessor, a little lower than the 612 Scaglietti.
Text - Classic Driver
Photos - Ferrari
ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter