Like most people, I’ve always felt the Ferrari F12berlinetta (I didn’t forget a space, that’s how they like the name) was a little too tame. I mean, only 740 HP? Acceleration that only slams your brains mostly out the back of your head? We deserve more. Happily, Ferrari listened, and now we have the Ferrari F12tdf.
The ‘tdf’ there doesn’t stand for ‘turbo diesel flapjacks’ as many have speculated, but rather is a tribute to the Tour de France endurance race that Ferrari did so well in back in the ‘50s and ‘60s with their GT cars. In keeping with that theme — fast, comfortable GT cars turned into track beasts, Ferrari has taken the F12berlinetta GT car and transformed it into this, a powerful, drivable road car that’s also amazing on the track. They’re only building 799, because if they did 800 that would just cheapen everything.
Here’s some of what Ferrari did to their front-mid F12 to get to the F12tdf, according to their press release:
The F12tdf’s performance is assured by the 780 cv, naturally-aspirated V12 derived directly from the F12berlinetta’s multi-award-winning engine. The car’s exhilarating dynamic behaviour, specifically its lateral acceleration in corners, is due to an 8% increase in the ratio of the front tyres compared to the rear ones. The car’s natural tendency to oversteer as a result of the change in tyre sizes is compensated for by the innovative rear-wheel steering system – known as the Virtual Short Wheelbase, which is integrated with the other vehicle dynamic control systems – that guarantees the steering wheel response times and turn-in of a competition car while increasing stability at high speed. Cornering speeds are also higher thanks to the significant increase in downforce - +87% - which has reached unprecedented levels for a front-engined V12 berlinetta.
So, power is up by 30 HP, and we get 520 lb-ft of torque out of that 6.2-liter V12. That’s good enough to get the car from parked to 60 MPH in 2.9 seconds, and eventually top out at 211 MPH. Holy crap, right?
The Virtual Short Wheelbase system sounds very interesting — it seems to be a rear-wheel steering system that, as they say, compensates for oversteer while allowing for faster cornering times. This should be worth looking into in more detail as soon as we know more.
It seems that a lot of these vehicle dynamics changes are to make the car more drivable to the well-heeled amateurs who tend to buy these cars — customers Ferrari gracefully calls “gentleman drivers” in their press release. As they say in their press release
Ferrari’s engineers sought to create an extremely agile and powerful car which could also be driven by less expert drivers. They drew on the wealth of experience built up in the XX programmes which are dedicated to developing extremely high performance cars driven by non-professional drivers.
... which to me sounds like they’re trying to deprive the world of cameraphone videos of wealthy-but-stupid Ferrari owners losing control of their cars and taking out fire hydrants.
The F12tdf looks even more purposeful and aggressive thanks to all of the aerodynamic surfaces and improvements (bigger wings, diffusers, everything for twice the downforce as the F12berlinetta), as well as a deliberately spartan cabin with alacantara instead of leather, for weight saving reasons. There’s weight-shaving tricks all over the car, for a loss of a good 240 lbs over the common F12.
Also, it looks great in yellow, like all cars.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but knowing Ferrari, I’m sure this limited-edition, track-and-touring-capable supercar will be very affordable. At least compared to, say, starting an asteroid mining venture.
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