I was just reading a rather interesting, yet still speculative article about what new rides Ferrari would be letting lose on the streets of the world from their Maranello factory, and then these spy shots hit the web today.
In some ways, Ferrari’s 599 GTB Fiorano is the longest in the tooth, and, therefore, the one most in need of replacement. But how can you begin to replace a car that is already so potent that it is still one of the world’s benchmarks?
Well, there’s no easy answer to that, other than the mysterious mention of ” … sporting a 700-plus-horsepower 6.3-liter V12 backed by a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox … [and] direct injection … ”
Sure, more displacement and more power can answer a lot of questions, and it’s pretty obvious that of a car of this caliber (remember, the jaw dropping performance of Ferrari’s 458 Italia is for the entry model car), Ferrari is not going to put in a plant that cranks out less … but what else is going on here. Or at least, what else can we determine from the photos? A lot of things.
Since this is a test mule undergoing a mechanical shakedown, a lot of the body mods are there to both throw off in the incautious, and simply to cover up what might be going on underneath the composite skin.
For starters, you can see from closer inspection that a lot of these body parts are from the 599 GTO. The hood, for example, has those big breather gills from the 4th Gen GTO. This could have been done only as a ruse, but, as is more likely, it was done to expel the heat emanating from beneath the bonnet. 700-plus-horsepower coming from a 6.3-liter V12 means, more than anything else, heat, and a lot of it. So, under testing, who cares, just get the thermal loading out from under the hood. Most likely though, there will have to be some sort of provisions similar to this on the future Ferrari 599.
Curiously you can see that the front vents on the trailing edges of the upper front fenders have been reduced in size, if not blanked out altogether. You would think that the opposite would be true, but for whatever reason, Ferrari are not doing it this time around.
Something that I would personally speculate is that Ferrari will also do is some sort of combined headlight and aerodynamic treatment as they have done on the 458. You can’t see that here, meaning that it is most likely still in development (i.e. figuring how much bypass air to route over the tops of the fenders to cut lift) which is why the headlights seem to be attached with gaffers tape.
The same goes for the radiator and brake openings as well as that totally kluged strip of pop-riveted metal just below the front of the hood. All of that area will have to be carefully sculpted in one of Ferrari’s three in-house wind tunnels to make the car serve the multiple masters of thermal loading, aero balance and aesthetics.
Towards the back, it seems that they haven’t done anything at all different with this test rig (other than go with the GTO bits). The brake inlet is there ahead of the rear wheels as is the massive outlet just aft of the rear tires. The huge GTO diffuser is still in place too, so it looks like they aren’t even interested in tackling the rear end aero just yet.
My best guess: Engine, cooling and interim drivability testing.
Ferrari is looking to get the big bugs of the plant worked out with this guy, and then they’ll start futzing around with the rest.