Ferrari’s recently retired Formula One champ Michael Schumacher was back
behind the wheel of an F/1 racer, leaving trails of rubber as he slid the car
around the corners of a test track. Not far away, more than 1,000 Ferraris were
on display outside the white-brick building that used to serve as the home and
office of Enzo Ferrari. Earlier in the day, 52 Ferrari spiders had arrived at
the track after completing a 145-day relay through 42 countries. First in line
was a 125S model that was the first Ferrari ever built; Kimi Räikkönen and
Felipe Massa, two current members of Scuderia, Ferrari’s F/1 team, were the
car’s driver and codriver. And as happens just about everywhere he goes, Ferrari
president Luca di Montezemolo was mobbed by Ferrari owners and enthusiasts and
members of the media as though he were a rock star. Such was the scene during
Ferrari’s 60th anniversary celebration this summer at the carmaker’s
headquarters in Maranello, Italy.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual inside
the Ferrari factory, where workers were building by hand the first 430
Scuderias, Ferrari’s latest model, which was scheduled to be unveiled in
September at the Frankfurt IAA motor show. The new model is a two-seat
berlinetta based on the F430 Coupe, but it also represents the first small step
in what could become a monumental departure for Ferrari.
The 430 Scuderia
incorporates the F430’s 510 hp V-8 engine, but the car weighs 220 pounds less,
giving it a low weight-to-power ratio of 5.4 pounds per horsepower. As Roberto
Fedeli, Ferrari’s GT technical director, explains, by shedding some pounds, the
Scuderia might set a trend for Ferrari.
Fedeli says that if Ferrari upgrades
its FXX—the supercar that it introduced in 2005—and if the next iteration is
similar to its predecessor in size and weight (about 2,900 pounds), the vehicle
would be equipped with an engine at least as potent as the current FXX’s 800 hp
powerplant. That is one route the company could take. But Ferrari also is
looking in a different direction.
Its supercar of the future could instead
incorporate a 660 hp, turbocharged engine, similar to the one that powers the
Enzo, but that car would weigh 660 pounds less than the Enzo (about 2,200 pounds
total). “This car will have the same performance [as the heavier, 800 hp
alternative],” Fedeli says, “but it means we have to downsize
The concept vehicle that Ferrari presented (in shell form only)
during the festivities in Maranello was not quite as tall or as long as the FXX,
and it would have a carbon-fiber suspension and nose box. In addition to
increased performance, the smaller, lighter car also would have better fuel
economy than the Enzo and produce 40 percent fewer emissions—an eco-friendly
Ferrari, relatively speaking.
Yet such innovation has its limits; if it
weighed less than 2,200 pounds, says Fedeli, a Ferrari GT car would sacrifice
the qualities that make it such a pleasure to drive. Ferrari recognizes the
environmental benefits of a smaller model, but it remains focused on producing
cars that offer unparalleled performance. Still, the company is pursuing the
notion that building a bigger engine is not the only way to make a faster car.
“We’re not interested in having the most powerful engines on the market,” says
Amedeo Felisa, Ferrari’s general director. “You now have to think outside the