2012 Paris Motor Show: This is the Ferrari F70 bodyshell

Article by Christian A., on September 30, 2012

We got a look of Ferrari’s next big project -- a “limited edition, special series” car – at the Paris Motor Show. It is believed to be the successor to the Ferrari Enzo. Ferrari didn’t display a full car. Rather, what Ferrari showed was the ultra-strong, lightweight bodyshell of the new hypercar. There are reports that this new Enzo will be named the F70.

So far, we’ve learned that the new car will have an output of at least 900 hp due to a large V-12 engine mated to an electric motor. Plenty of carbon fiber was used on the last Enzo so it’s to be expected that the new car will do too. However, Ferrari said that the typical industrial carbon fiber manufacturing techniques didn’t result to a product that met expectations.

So to guarantee that the new car meet its soaring standards, it developed a process of hand-laminating carbon fiber. Four different types of carbon fiber -- T800 carbon, T800UD unidirectional tape, ultra high tensile strength M46J carbon, and supertough T1000 carbon – were used by the body. The car will get a carbon fiber/Kevlar undertray so that its underbody will be protected from incurring any damage from the road.

Its body now has the appearance of a closed Formula 1 car. This isn’t really a surprise since the people who worked on the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team had designed and built this car. It is more rigid by 22% and is lighter than the Enzo by 20% too. The weight savings was enough to offset the hybrid system’s weight. As a result, the new car isn’t heavier than the predecessor.

During the planning phase of the LaFerrari, its architecture proved to be a challenging issue for the design team. After all, the Ferrari was aiming to achieve an ideal weight distribution that has a 59-percent distribution to the rear. Likewise, Ferrari is aiming to give the LaFerrari a compact wheelbase while making sure that its massive hybrid system is securely accommodated. This configuration allowed Ferrari to place all masses between two axles of the LaFerrari. Moreover, all masses were placed as close as possible to the floor, thereby lowering the sports car’s center of gravity by 35 mm.

Playing a big role in achieving those goals is the way the cabin of the LaFerrari was laid out. For instance, the driver’s seat is fixed and customized to its occupant, although the pedal box and steering wheel could be adjusted. Interestingly, the driving position in the LaFerrari is similar to a single-seater, a design that was decided upon following consultation with Scuderia Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Both Formula One drivers were active during the development of the LaFerrari.

On the other hand, the chassis of the new LaFerrari makes use of four types of carbon fiber, all processed (hand-laminated and autoclave-cured) by the carmaker’s racing department employing the same design and production processes used in an F1 car. Because of this, Ferrari was able to integrate various functions -- like seats and battery compartment -- into the chassis, thereby improving torsional rigidity (plus 27 percent) and beam stiffness (plus 22 percent) while making the structure as light as possible.

Admirably, LaFerrari is Ferrari’s first car to feature the HY-KERS system. This system employs an internal combustion engine, a high-revving 6.2-liter V12 powerplant (up to 9,250 rpm) that delivers 800 CV and features a high compression ratio (13.5:1) and a high specific output (128 CV per liter). In this system, the engine is coupled with an electric motor that provides 120 Kw (163 CV). Overall, the HY-KERS system provides a combined output of 963 CV and combined torque of more than 900 Nm.

Since the electric motor provides almost instantaneous and high level of torque even at low revs, the performance of the V12 engine could be optimized at higher rpm – thereby ensuring constant power supply across the rev range.

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