Ferrari F12TDF pays homage to the Tour de France

Article by Christian A., on October 13, 2015

Ferrari has created a new car that’s designed for truly extreme road racing. Dubbed as the F12tdf, this new car is reminiscent of the 1950s and the 1960s such as 1956 250 GT Berlinetta, when Ferrari was the biggest name in the Tour de France road race, ensuring that the F12tdf will have capabilities that make it worthy of competing in the race.

Hence, the automaker built a car that offers the greatest performance without sacrificing handling and user comfort. Just like the cars that endured the legendary endurance competition, the new Ferrari car has been designed with an eye for meeting demanding conditions in both ordinary roads and the race track.

Ferrari has worked hard to introduce new features in critical areas of the car’s design, particularly the engine, aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics. Fans of extreme road driving will find the improved acceleration, roadholding and agility of the car as definitely the best in its class.

Ferrari’s engineers also took a few notes from the XX programmes that aimed to design high performance cars that can be driven by the ordinary driver, and implemented those learnings to the F12tdf.

This resulted to the larger front tires, which gave the car better lateral acceleration and improved steering wheel response times. Tire dimensions are now at 275 from 255, with front channel sizes to 10” from 9.5”. This design is complemented with the Ferrari Virtual Short Wheelbase system in the rear axle, which allows the rear wheels to move around a vertical axis and thus prevent oversteering.

The system makes this possible by automatically making adjustments to the rear wheels to achieve the best steering angle, using built-in electronic control logic to make the adjustments. This is a feature that can help ordinary drivers negotiate twists and turns on the road as easily as professional racers do – the setup keeps the car stable even when running at high speed.

These innovations ensure that drivers who have lesser time and experience in high performance vehicles can still try their hand at driving the F12tdf. The F12tdf’s excellent handling and amazing engine performance are further enhanced by a very efficient aerodynamic design. It has nearly twice the aerodynamic efficiency of the F12berlinetta – the F12tdf’s efficiency rating is at 1.6.

On the outside, a lightweight alloy is used as raw material for the five twinned spokes on the wheels. These materials all contribute to excellent weight savings; even the glove compartment was gotten rid of in order to maximize weight savings.

Exterior Design

The car is kept closer to the ground at high speed, with downforce at 230 kilograms when the vehicle is blazing through at 200 kph. The F12berlinetta’s downforce is just 107 kilograms less than that of the F12tdf. This is achieved by the car’s excellent design mechanics.

The front bumper generates most of the downforce at high-speed runs, thanks to its radically scooped lower section. It even features a splitter designed with inspiration from cars that compete in the race tracks. At the same time, the underbody and the sides are made more aerodynamic by the car’s dive planes, floor wings and louvres.

Even the rear end has been utilized fully to generate the downforce needed to keep the car’s stability optimal at high speeds. This is done by extracting air that passes through the inner wheelarch, using louvres on the rear section. In addition, the front flank uses an Aerobridge to improve the air flow from the front that also passes through the top of the sides.

The F12tdf also features a redesigned rear spoiler, which the engineers designed to extend 60 mm horizontally and 30mm vertically. The vertical orientation of the rear screen’s rake has also been boosted. This has the effect of giving the spoiler more room to generate downforce in, and to take advantage of that improved downforce.

The curve of the rear luggage hatch further expands on the effect of the rear spoiler design. The F12tdf also features a newly designed rear diffuser with three active flaps. The curved fences and vertical splitters in the diffusers further improve horizontal airflow over the body of the car, and visually distinguish the F12tbf from the F12berlinetta.

Finally, the underbody’s aerodynamics is enhanced by six strakes that have been designed after the ones found in GT-racing vehicles. These strakes make it possible for the F12tbf to have 30% more downforce than the F12berlinetta. In addition to improving the critical functions of the vehicle, Ferrari also gave special attention to the visuals and aesthetics of the new F12tdf.

Ferrari, after all, has always been about combining breathtaking aesthetics with functionality and power. For instance, the F12tdf looks more aggressive than any other car in Ferrari’s line, thanks to the expansion in the front and rear tracks. Ferrari also undertook a major redesign of the chassis from the front to the rear.

Ferrari adopted a formal design language that allowed it to blend the existing design of the F12berlinetta’s exteriors with the possibilities opened up by the new aerodynamic features of the F12tbf. The carbon fiber Aerobridge, which works to optimize airflow through the top of the F12tbf, is a result of this formal design language.

Interior Design

The cockpit, as well as other parts of the car’s interiors, also feature a predominantly carbon fiber design, which was employed in order to keep the car as light as possible to ensure optimal performance.

The design introduces a “wrap around” effect; it will appear that the carbon fiber instruments and satellite pods appear to engulf the driver like a protective womb.

Carbon fiber also features prominently in the door panels. Other materials in the car’s interior include Alcantara leather, which is used in the car’s cabin trim.

The interiors also feature patterned aluminum in place of floor mats, while the seats upholstery is made out of technical fabric.


The F12tdf’s power comes from its 12-cylinder V engine, which itself is based on the design of the award-winning powerhouse found under the F12berlinetta’s hood. A major factor in its acceleration and handling are the front tires, whose ratios are 8% larger than the ones found in the rear.

Most drivers know that larger front tires can cause oversteering, but Ferrari has thought of how to counter that. To compensate, an innovative rear wheel steering system has been installed in the F12tdf. The system ensures that the response time from the steering wheel to the drive remains optimal, while keeping the car stable even when driving at high speed – attributes that are necessary for extreme road racing.

This gives the F12tdf unparalleled performance when turning and accelerating in corners. Fans will be delighted to find out that the car is capable of cornering speeds that are higher than most other cars with the 87% reduction in downforce enforced by the F12tdf’s design.

Due to various innovations, the F12tdf is lighter by 110 kilograms mainly because of the predominantly carbon-fibre design of the chassis and interiors. The engine, transmission and running gears have also been redesigned with weight savings in mind.

As a result, the F12tdf exhibited mind-blowing acceleration figures during testing. From a full stop, the car’s powerful engines and lightweight design have made it possible for the car to take only 2.9 seconds to accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour, and 7.9 seconds to accelerate to twice that speed. The car clocked in an impressive 1’2” lap time in the Fiorano circuit.

Of course, with its impressive running power, the car needs excellent braking mechanisms as well to come to a stop safely. Ferrari has designed all-new Extreme Design one-piece brake calipers just for this purpose. Debuting on the LaFerrari, the system allows the car to come to a full stop from 100 kilometers per hour from a distance of 30.5 meters.

Slowing down to 0 kph from 200 km/h will require only 121 meters. Central to the F12berlinetta’s performance is its 6262cc 65° V12 engine. Thanks to the hard work of Ferrari’s engineers, the new V12 engine features an uprate from 740 cv to 780 cv.

This horsepower output comes out at just 8,500 rpm, which brings the car’s specific power output to 125 cv/liter. Eighty percent of the car’s maximum torque of 705 Nm is achievable at low rpms of 2,500, which means that the car’s accelerating performance is smooth and unparalleled up until the 8,900 rpm mark.

The F12tdf’s engine is also tailor-made for its specifications. The engine features new mechanical tappets and variable-geometry intake trumpets. These features are commonly found in Formula 1 cars, ensuring the same performance for the new extreme road vehicle from Ferrari. The F12tdf’s transmission also allows drivers to shift gears faster in both directions.

The shorter gear ratios (shorter by 6% than most) give a 30% improvement in upshifting and 40% in downshifts. This is all thanks to the custom-made F1 DCT transmission that the F12tdf is equipped with.

Press Release


Ferrari reveals the F12tdf which pays homage to the Tour de France, the legendary endurance road race that Ferrari dominated in the 1950s and ‘60s, particularly with the 1956 250 GT Berlinetta which won four consecutive editions in a row. It was a race that rewarded cars that combined maximum performance with the driveability and ease of use that enabled the competitors to race for hundreds of kilometres a day over fast, tortuous roads and on circuits. The F12tdf is the ultimate expression of the concept of an extreme road car that is equally at home on the track, and just 799 will be built.

The F12tdf is a concentration of technical innovations which involve all those areas central to Ferrari’s DNA: engine, aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics. As a result, in terms of acceleration, roadholding and agility, the new berlinetta is second to none.

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.

A radical redesign of the bodywork, interior, engine, transmission and running gear, along with the abundant use of carbon-fibre inside and out, has slashed 110 kg off the car’s overall weight.

All of these factors combine to produce record performance figures: 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds and 0-200 km/h in 7.9 seconds in addition to a substantial boost in lateral acceleration. The F12tdf laps Fiorano in just 1’21”.

Outstanding stopping distances are guaranteed by the adoption of the new Extreme Design one-piece brake callipers already seen on the LaFerrari. This new-generation system means the car can brake from 100-0 km/h in just 30.5 m and from 200-0 in 121 m.


The engine is the F12berlinetta’s 6262cc 65° V12 on which Ferrari engineers worked to boost maximum power output from 740 cv to 780 cv at 8,500 rpm, yielding a specific power output of 125 cv/l. The engine’s sporty response is assured by a maximum torque figure of 705 Nm (up from 690 Nm) at 6,750 rpm with 80% already available at 2,500 rpm, resulting in unparalleled, progressive pick-up all the way to the red-line at 8,900 rpm.

Numerous modifications have been developed for this engine, starting with the use of race-inspired mechanical tappets and variable-geometry intake trumpets used on Formula 1 cars which help boost volumetric efficiency at high revs.

The F12tdf is equipped with a specific version of the F1 DCT with 6% shorter gear ratios that delivers 30% faster upshifts and 40% faster downshifts.


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.

Extraordinary chassis dynamics, in terms of maximum lateral acceleration and responsiveness, are in part achieved by the increase in the front tyre dimensions, which jump from 255 to 275, along with the front channel size – up from 9.5” to 10”. This modification guarantees higher lateral acceleration generated by the front axle but, alone, this would have caused oversteer on the limit, making the car more challenging for less expert drivers.

To enable even gentlemen drivers to make full use of the performance, Ferrari developed its new Virtual Short Wheelbase system. Debuting on the F12tdf, the rear axle is active, allowing the rear wheels to pivot around a vertical axis.

Using model-based control logic developed entirely in-house by Ferrari, the rear axle steering automatically adjusts the rear wheels, working out the optimal steering angle as a function of the steering wheel angle, speed of steering inputs and vehicle speed.

The Virtual Short Wheelbase improves the car’s responsiveness to make it feel more agile, with instantaneous turn-in that can be best appreciated on twisty roads and on more technically challenging tracks while, at the same time, improving stability at high speeds.


The F12tdf’s aerodynamic performance is nothing short of record-breaking – its aerodynamic efficiency figure is 1.6, almost double that of the F12berlinetta. Downforce is 230 kg at 200 km/h, which is an impressive 107 kg more.

Development affected every area of the car’s surface, producing striking elements that lend its forms a unique sleek power. At the front, a highly complex bumper contributes to downforce generation. It features a radically scooped lower section and incorporates a competition car-inspired splitter, dive planes, floor wings and louvres to boost the efficiency of both the sides and the underbody.

The Aerobridge on the car’s front flank has been redesigned to increase the energising effect of the air flow along the top of the sides, while at the rear, louvres on the wheelarch create a depression that extracts air from the inner wheelarch, thereby increasing the efficiency of a section of the underbody that is usually little used in generating downforce.

The rear spoiler is now 60mm longer and 30mm higher, while the rake of the rear screen has been made more vertical to extend the surface area over which the spoiler can generate downforce and to capitalise on its advantages more effectively. The concave curvature of the rear luggage hatch either side of the rear screen further enhances the solution.

Three pairs of GT-racing-derived strakes have been adopted on the aerodynamic underbody and are responsible for 30% of the increase in downforce compared to the F12berlinetta. The rear diffuser has been completely redesigned and now sports a system of three active flaps. It has been split into three channels and features curved fences and vertical splitters to boost the power of the vortexes and enhance the expansion of the flow in the horizontal plane. This radical aerodynamic design work essentially created a whole new car that also marks a major stylistic departure from the F12berlinetta.


Designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, the new F12tdf has particularly imposing yet sensual forms, the product of Ferrari’s continuous commitment to melding sculptural beauty with functional demands.

All of the bodywork panels, from the chiselled nose to the tail, have been revised. Wider front and rear tracks also give the car an even more aggressive stance.

In terms of the formal design language, the objective was to create a sophisticated interaction between the sculptural surfaces of the F12berlinetta and a more graphic treatment of the various new aerodynamic features. The best testament to this intent is the evolution of the Aerobridge, the design of which is further enhanced by the use of bare carbon-fibre. Developed in such a technical manner, this component combines with the other details in creating a coherent aesthetic approach to the whole car.

The car’s uncompromising sportiness is expressed with the same degree of purity in the deliberately Spartan cockpit. The wrap-around effect that embraces the driving position is intensified by the use of carbon-fibre housings for the instruments and satellite pods. The door panels have been pared back to a single carbon-fibre shell, while the glove compartment has disappeared to be replaced by simple knee padding. Alcantara rather the traditional leather was chosen for the cabin trim, technical fabric for the seats and patterned aluminium instead of mats for the floor, once again with the aim of saving every last ounce of weight.

The F12tdf’s specification is completed by lightweight alloys with five twinned spokes that are designed to have the narrowest section possible to reduce unsprung weight.

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