TRACK-ONLY HYPERCARS

PART 1: FERRARI

 

There are countless high-performance road cars that have been built with competition success as their prime objective, and in this respect Ferrari has perhaps been the most prolific.

FXX-K x2

Models like the late 1950s 250 Tour de France and the early ‘60s 250 GTO could be raced to victory and then driven home on public roads if the need arose. Others like the 288 GTO, F40 and the many 348/355/360/430/458 Challenge, Stradale and Scuderia variants since were also all conceived with racing in mind, while the more recent F50, Enzo and LaFerrari flagship hypercars were all built and sold specifically for road use (although Ferrari did produce three F50 GT racers).

Then at the Bologna Motor Show on 1st December 2005 Ferrari created a new niche with the unveiling of the FXX. Being a derivation of the Enzo which had gone out of production the previous year, the FXX wasn’t an entirely new model – it was effectively an Enzo on steroids – but what made it different from all previous Ferraris, and indeed all previous sports, GT and supercars, was that it was not homologated for either road use or racing. It may have cost €1.5 million plus tax (substantially more than a Bugatti Veyron) but you could neither drive it on the street nor race it. In Ferrari’s words, the FXX was “a car aimed exclusively at a selected group of its most dedicated and passionate clients, and around which a truly innovative technical client constructor collaboration programme has been developed”.

This started a trend and other track but neither road nor race models soon followed from other manufacturers, but as Ferrari instigated this exclusive niche we’ll start by taking a look at its amazing track-only hypercars.

FXX

2.FXX

In 1996 Ferrari quietly produced a very small number of FX models. Based on the flat-12 powered F512M, the FX featured heavily restyled bodywork and a Williams-BMW developed sequential gearbox. Although at least one FX found its way into private hands, it never went on sale to the general public.

Then in 2003 came the Enzo, from which sprang the FXX a couple of years later. Powered by an enlarged 6,262cc Enzo V12, the FXX developed over 800hp at 8500rpm while the improved sequential gearbox delivered gear changes in under 100 milliseconds – almost as fast as the Ferrari F1 cars of the day. With 40% more downforce than the Enzo, Bridgestone developed specific 19-inch slick tyres for the new model, while Brembo created special brake pads and a new cooling system for the composite ceramic discs. Another unique feature was the FXX’s sophisticated telemetry system which provided feedback in real time, while the Magneti Marelli instrument panel incorporated a new data acquisition system. A rear-facing video camera was installed on the FXX’s roof which, combined with a special TFT display on the dash, removed the need for drag-inducing rear view mirrors.

With a dry weight of 1,155 kg a slick-shod FXX could lap Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in under 1m 18secs. This put other Ferrari lap times in the shade – F40: 1m 31.5s, F50: 1m 28.0s, Enzo: 1m 25.3s. So, the track-only FXX was over seven seconds a lap faster than the road-going Enzo.

Given the car’s exceptional performance and the unique nature of the FXX Client Test Driver package, delivery of each car included an advanced driving course at Fiorano with tuition provided by pro drivers. After the pedals had been set and the seat individually moulded for each driver, there was a shakedown test followed by a training session.

Apart from the €1.5 million outlay, joining the FXX Client Test Driver club wasn’t easy. Just 29 cars were built initially and potential candidates had to be vetted by an in-house Ferrari committee. Once approved and funds were transferred, the FXX package included (in Ferrari’s words), “participation in a series of 14 track events organised by Ferrari on various international-level circuits over the coming two years in Europe, North America and Japan. On these occasions, an official team of technicians will be on hand to provide any assistance and support required by the Client Test Drivers. In addition to these unique official events, clients will also be able to take their cars out on the track independently during private sessions. If clients wish to leave their car at Maranello while not in use, they will be transported directly by Ferrari to the various European circuits for the scheduled events.”

At the time of writing there are a number of FXXs currently on the market in the US, Germany and the UK. Some have been converted for road use and all are listed as POA. Offers around the £2 million mark should be sufficient to start a conversation.

 

FXX EVO

3.FXX Evo

 

Ferrari’s FXX/Client Test Driver program was a success, so in late October 2007 the firm announced that the project would be extended into 2008-09 thanks to the development of an FXX Evolution kit. Using data from the 35,000 track kilometers covered by 20 client drivers in their FXXs over the previous two years (plus invaluable input from one M. Schumacher), the re-liveried Evo-kitted version produced 860hp at 9,500rpm, it could shift gears in 60 milliseconds (20ms faster) and gear ratios were adapted for the engine’s extra 1,000rpm.

Also included was a new 10-position traction control system, while both tyre and brake pad wear were reduced due to the Evo’s new front suspension geometry and revised set-up. With new rear wing profiles, a new rear diffuser and several other aero tweaks, aerodynamic efficiency was improved by 25%. The Evo kit also included more comprehensive telemetry which also monitored steering angle and brake pump pressure, while from 2008 clients could have two extra video cameras fitted.

According to Ferrari, the Evo kit cut the FXX’s Fiorano lap time by two seconds – from 1m:18secs to 1:16.

An 2005 FXX retro-fitted with an Evo kit was sold by RM Sotheby’s in Arizona in January 2015 for $1,622,500, while one converted for road use is currently being offered in the UK for £2.6 million inc. VAT. (Somewhat confusingly, it was reported by the US site roadandtrack.com in Feb this year that the same car could be yours for $12.5 million.)

599XX

4.599XX

Based on the 2007 599 GTB with its front-mounted 6-litre 620PS V12 engine, the track-only, £1.2 million 599XX was unveiled at the Geneva Show in 2009 with the plan to build just 29 examples over the following two years. Like the FXX, it was conceived as a rolling test bed for future models and so, in addition to the XX’s extra 110PS – it now made 730PS @ 9,000rpm with increased torque, it was equipped with a comprehensive assortment of performance modifications.

Due to lighter engine components and the extensive use of composite parts and carbon-fibre body panels, weight was reduced by 270kg to 1,430kg. With revised gear ratios and electronics, shift time was reduced to the FXX Evo’s 60 milliseconds while significant, experimental aerodynamic changes were introduced. These included small winglets to the rear for increased downforce (up to 630kg at 300km/h), boot-mounted fans that sucked air from the rear diffuser when it wasn’t needed, and even small air jet pumps in the rear light sockets that sent air pulses to the tail section to further reduce drag.

The 599XX also had nine different traction control settings along with three different magnetic suspension settings, all of which combined to give the car outstanding performance. The quoted figures were 0-62 in ‘less than 2.9 secs’ with a gearing-limited 196mph max, while lap times were 1m:15 secs at Fiorano along with a then record-breaking 6m:58.2s on the Nordschleife.

In addition to the now established vetting procedure, 599XX client drivers were expected to attend three private test sessions and provide Ferrari with feedback on the car.

A 2010 599XX was estimated by RM Sotheby’s in Feb 2014 at €800k – €1.1 million, while a similar 2010 example located in Rome is currently being offered at £950k.

599XX EVO

5.599XX Evo

As with the FFX’s Evo package, Ferrari announced a similar Evo kit available to existing 599XX owners in late 2011. Unveiled at the Bologna Show of that year, the most significant development was a new aero package along with an optional £160k active rear wing. This wing featured electrically-powered rotating flaps which adjusted downforce between the front and rear axles to give improved cornering performance. A modified front splitter and a new rear diffuser also helped increase the 280kg downforce produced by the 599XX at 200km/h to 440kg, while overall weight was reduced by 35kgs.

The adoption of side-exit exhausts helped the XX Evo’s V12 to pump out 750PS (20PS more) along with even greater torque (700Nm), and this along with new Pirelli slicks meant a quoted Fiorano lap time of 1m:15s. So, no quicker than the cooking 599XX, then? Well, the Evo version would have been a fraction or so quicker, but the truth is that Ferrari has been in a bit of a pickle over its quoted Fiorano lap times for at least the past 25 years…

Just six 599XX Evos were built and delivered in 2012, along with about a further 15 XXs that were upgraded to Evo spec. There don’t appear to be any XX Evos for sale anywhere at present, but current owners might be tempted by offers of in excess of £1 million.

FXX-K

ferrari-track_6.FXX-K

Although based on the road-legal Ferrari LaFerrari, due to the extensive development that went into its design Ferrari considers its FXX-K to be a model in its own right. What is unarguable is that it’s the latest in Ferrari’s highly exclusive line of hypercars for which you neither have to pay road tax nor hold a current racing licence. Unveiled at Ferrari’s Finali Mondiali event at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in late 2014, the K in FXX-K is a reference to its F1-inspired KERS kinetic energy recovery system, more accurately referred to as HY-KERS in FXX-K guise.

At €2.5 million apiece about 40 have been built, and for that you get 1,050 hybrid horsepower, 860 of which are provided by the track-tuned 6.3-litre V12, with 190 coming from the car’s also track-optimised electric motor. This compares with the road-going LaFerrari’s 963hp total (800+163). The FXX-K’s powertrain also delivers over 900Nm of torque while power delivery can be adjusted by four driving modes: Qualify (max performance over limited laps), Long Run (consistent performance), Manual Boost (instant max torque) and Fast Charge (rapid battery recharging).

Although the FXX-K’s active-aero body is festooned with all manner of scoops, vents and winglets, it’s arguably even more attractive than its road-going sibling, and all those aerodynamic modifications have resulted in 540kg of downforce at 200km/h, or some 100kg more than even the 599XX Evo can manage.

The FXX-K’s Pirelli P-Zero slicks have sensors that monitor not just pressure and temperature, but also longitudinal, lateral and radial acceleration, and this data helps the car’s traction control system deliver peak performance at all times.

Ferrari doesn’t quote performance figures for the FXX-K, but it’s safe to assume that it would trump the LaFerrari’s sub 3-second 0-62 time and possibly its 217mph max too, depending on gearing and set-up. However, a Fiorano lap time has been quoted: 1m:14s – some five seconds quicker than the LaFerrari, with only an estimated one second of that difference being down to the FXX-K’s slick tyres.

All 40 FXX-Ks were spoken for, but a quick search reveals one in Dubai to be on the market for €4 million with another, purportedly in the Durham area, being offered at €3.9 million. A third was apparently being touted in March this year for £3.5 million, although whether they’re all the same car with two or more brokers hoping to make a buck we don’t know. Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s Commercial Director and the man in charge of the XX program, probably would though…

FXX-K EVO?

7.FXX-K

No, the car with glowing discs pictured above isn’t an FXX-K Evo because at the time of writing no such beast exists, at least not outside the Maranello factory’s inner circle. An Evo version would seem logical, and rumours and speculation of just such a car began flying around at least two years ago, but for the time being that’s our walk around Ferrari’s fabulous non-road, non-race hypercars completed.

As mentioned at the top, the FXX got the ball rolling, but others from Aston Martin, Maserati, McLaren, Lamborghini and Pagani were to follow, and continue to do so. We’ll be taking a look at those quite soon, but in the meantime we’ve created bespoke finance solutions for numerous hypercar buyers. To discuss how we can help you own the car of your dreams, call one of our experts today on 020 3355 0035.

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