“Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.”
I’m sure we’re all familiar with this quote from Enzo Ferrari, responding to his driver Paul Frère’s enquiries about the limited top speed of his 250 TR at Le Mans. As a man with a penchant for humor of the dry and often unintentional variety, it tickles me to think of what dear old Enzo’s stance would be on Ferrari’s latest generation of hypercar, one that actively chases aerodynamic perfection: the billionaire’s ultimate plaything, the Ferrari FXX-K Evo.
Now it would be unfair to Mr. Ferrari to hold him to his quote, and I will admit to my opening statement being loaded with flippancy. Of course, in 1960 aero technology was in total infancy compared to the materials and test facilities of today. Back then the running gear really did mean much more than wing setup, and such was the success of the Scuderia at the time that Mr Ferrari could afford to make such a bold statement. I am almost certain though that he would be nothing but impressed with the latest evolution of LaFerrari, particularly as the powerplant kicks out about 1,036 ponies and a tarmac-wrinkling 664lb-ft of torque. Ok so those numbers aren’t the biggest out there—they aren’t going to trouble a Chiron or something more ridiculous like a Hennessey Venom—but they are impressive enough, and the motor isn’t where the magic is in this car. Which is lucky, because the display model being wheeled out to motor shows across the land doesn’t actually have one…
No, the sorcery here is the work that has gone into its aerodynamic package. It commands and controls the air in its vicinity with the ruthless bullying of a dictator, forcing it through a combination of channels and scoops and ducts and wings, all upgrades on the original FXX that together create over 830kg of downforce at maximum speed. That’s getting close to the probable overall weight of the car, which is quite phenomenal. Suffice to say if you are one of the lucky few that get to drive one of these, the cornering ability and grip should be nothing short of spectacular, so good luck finding the limits.
Now the numbers associated with this beast have been on the tips of plenty of peoples’ tongues since it broke cover a few months ago, so I can’t tell you a lot that’s new. What I can wax lyrical about though is just what a beautiful thing this is in the flesh. The lines of the car are gorgeous—complex but never “busy”—and it retains that striking yet gentile nose, only with some additional cut-outs and carbon wing pieces that start to manipulate the air as the machine punches through it. Somehow these only serve to lift what was already a gorgeous face. There are no Botox horrors here.
From the canards and splitters up front, the journey of the air follows a similar path over the hood of the car, and underneath it all more spells are being cast. Those in the know say that the underside of this machine, with it’s new vortex generators, is a work of art in and of itself. Alas with no jacks nor large mirrors available to me, I was never going to get a photo of the bottom side without a secret door below the stage.
All that unseeable stuff aside, and disregarding the performance figures of the machine, the aesthetic improvement over the FXX-K comes at the rear end. As impressive as the first car was to look at, I always found it somewhat incomplete: the two raised winglets that sat on the flanks of the beast always made it look more concept than car, and it was as if the lead had run out in the pencils of Fainello and Manzoni. This new incarnation, as well as being more functional, destroys the odd form of the last model with a beautifully crafted rear wing that fills the gap left with some good old carbon fiber architecture.
The spine that protrudes from atop of the cars engine bay—complete with winglets of its own—connects the wing to the roofline, and provides one with a feeling that this new feature of the car hasn’t so much been made but grown. It’s very organic despite the vast amount of calculations that surely led to its final form.
As svelte and shapely as the new rear wing is, as your gaze rappels down the ledges of the rear end, things get much more belligerent and aggressive with the new rear diffuser. Although not much larger or wider, and with only a few additional pieces over the old model, this somehow adds even more menace to what was already a wild looking rump. Maybe over the top, maybe embellished, it nonetheless suits such a commanding car as this one, and one can imagine it dealing the final blow to the oxygen already passed through the belly of the beast.
This car is a triumph in terms of its aerodynamic evolution then, and whilst 99.9% of us will only ever get to marvel at the performance numbers of the machine, a lucky few will get to exercise it on the track instead of parking it in front of a department store where people will see you. That’s a good thing, and, despite what he once said, I’m sure the old man himself would approve.