The year was 2013, it’s the Geneva Motor Show, and the news is flying around that Ferrari just launched their newest and most powerful hypercar and it’s called, The Ferrari. It sounded absurd then but then the sights fell on the car in flesh and it was love at first sight. Ferrari had launched their ultimate expression of what a hypercar should be, and they were so confident about it, they simply named it, The LaFerrari — Italian for The Ferrari. And they were so right about it, because this car would go on to make history and go down as one of the greatest cars ever made as it built on the legacy of the Ferrari Enzo, The F50, The F40 and 288 GTO, all which were limited production supercars from Ferrari and were the truest representation of what the perfect car should be from their eras. The LaFerrari was joined by the McLaren P1, which was supposed to be the spiritual successor to the legendary McLaren F1 and the Porsche 918, Porsche’s take on what the best from Stuttgart can be and together these cars form the Holy Trinity of Hypercars in modern automotive culture.
On the design side of things, the Ferrari LaFerrari was born in the same wind tunnel where the Scuderia Ferrari develop their Formula 1 cars and it is an aerodynamic masterpiece. It looks absolutely bonkers, but this is not to make it look extravagant or anything. Everything on the car is biased on function over form and so it gets a lot of F1 tech on board and it can be seen across the exterior of the car. The front splitter works to keep the nose stuck on the ground by generating downforce along with massive air vents that help the radiator feed on air to cool the system and also move the hot air away from it. The bonnet also gets a massive exit vent which pushes the air over the top of the car and generate massive amounts of downforce. There are air channels across the length of the car to make it as slippery as possible as it cuts through the air and gaping intakes on the side of the doors that feed air to the engine bay and exit through the rear while also producing heaps of downforce. Every curve and contour on the car is specifically there to increase downforce as much as possible while also cooling and making the car slippery. The LaFerrari is an example of extreme aerodynamics for a road car that doesn’t want to look stupid while getting the job done. There is an electronic spoiler on the rear that works in tandem with the active aerodynamics system on the car, coupled with active winglets on the front and is monitored by an array of 21 computers onboard that work endlessly and continually to actively modulate the system for the best possible performance in any given condition. The driver gets to choose if they just want to drive where the system takes a back seat and optimize for comfort or you could put it on the extreme setting where it gets racy and the electronics go mental to extract crushing amounts of downforce as you wrestle the car on track to get the perfect lap. The car is pure functional art and even though everything on it is for a purpose, it’s a treat to look at and while the LaF was originally available in Rosso Corsa, they went out and gave it 2 more options — a Nero Black and Giallo Modena Yellow.
The insides of the LaFerrari are very simple and basic to save weight but that doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable. It gets leather seats that are bolstered into the carbon tub on which the chassis is built so they cannot be moved but are quite comfortable and will give you very good support when you push the car to the limit, if you simply have the guts to do that that is!, but to accommodate people, the steering and the pedals can be moved towards or away so you’ll be snug not to worry. The rectangular steering wheel inspired by the F1 cars gets all the driving mode settings and ignition button and pretty much everything that the driver would be concerned with and a digital instrument cluster behind it. There is a basic audio system that can connect with Bluetooth and has MP3/CD and USB and AUX ports so nothing fancy, not that you’ll hear anything with that massive V12 engine on the rear. The fit and finish though is very premium and deserving of the over a million dollar tag and is draped in Alacantara and carbon fiber.
The highlight however is the powertrain of the LaFerrari. This is the first hybrid car from the Italian marquee and the last mid engined V12 they would ever make which is also one of the reasons why they ended up calling it , ‘The Ferrari’. It is a longitudinally rear mid mounted 6.3L naturally aspirated V12 engine that’ll create 789 menacing horses at a screaming redline of 9250rpm and a peak torque of 516lb-ft. And it isn’t just another V12 from the house of Ferrari, this is proper F1 derived as it gets variable intakes, adaptive oil pump that can measure G-forces and runs at a super high compression rate. This engine will literally obliterate any of those turbocharged units you’ll see out there and the sound it makes is otherworldly. And then comes in the picture, the KERS hybrid system, straight out of F1, the Kinetic Energy Recovery System on the LaF isn’t here to make it the car greener and no it’ll not make the LaF run independently on battery power like the P1 or the 918 because Ferrari simply doesn’t want to make this car a competition to the Prius. The only purpose of the hybrid system is to push the car even faster and give it even more torque because while NA engines sound extremely godly and have incredible power, those redlining monsters don’t give out enough low end punch, and so with the KERS system mated to the engine, the car makes a bonkers 950 horses which is more than both the other cars of the trinity and a peak torque of 664 lb-ft. This powertrain is mated to a 7 speed DCT gearbox that comes with surgical gearshifts and super quick response, again owing to the technical expertise Ferrari have had from their experience in F1.
All of the technical wizardry and smart aerodynamics and this monstrosity of an engine make this car a real race car, in every single manner. It’ll take a corner tighter and faster than a LeMans spec GT3 car for real and beat it in a straight line to the pulp. The suspension on the car features more bits from F1 with carbon fiber wishbones and electronic dampeners that give excellent response and stick the car with the crushing downforce the active aerodynamics system generates as your insides rip your body apart as you take the tightest of corners at unprecedented speeds. It gets Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rubber with 19inch rims on the front and 20 inch on the rear with a 265/30 block on the front and a huge 345/30 block on the rear and the car will stick and rip the tarmac out when you push it to the limit in the appropriate mode with the incredible traction control on board. Braking duties are handled by massive Carbon Ceramics by Brembo which have a very strong bite and will bring the car dead stop from whatever speed you’re doing in no time. However turn the ESC and TC off, and it’ll also eat these tires with easy as it spins it wheels in simply any gear you put it in as that massive engine pushes monstrous power to the rear wheels. To support you, there isn’t much in the car for aids, but what it does have work very effectively, like the ABS, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control, Emergency Brake Assist, Rain sensing wipers and regular cruise control and that is it. Those 21 computers on board like mentioned before are dedicated only for the Active Aero system and deal with nothing else! However in the event that you do end up crashing the car, it has 4 airbags, and the powertrain can detach completely from the car and there are front and rear crumple zones.
To conclude, the Ferrari LaFerrari is and will go down as one of the greats of the automobile world in the history books as it leads the pack of the holy trinity of hypercars and brings forth an era of super powerful cars that will follow it’s path as it rewrites the books of what it actually means to be a hypercar. It has mind wrecking performance, is a wonder of technological marvel as it brings F1 tech in its purest forms down to the hands of regular people ( very rich regular people that is) and is simply without a doubt one of the greatest cars to exist. Only 499 of these were made with all of them sold even before it was unveiled so if you have money in your pocket that is north of 3 million dollars, keep you eye on the auctions and aftermarket for one of these to turn up because they rarely do and when they do, they cost an insane amount as the value of the car simply keeps growing and why shouldn’t it, with high profile customers like Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa having their own LaFs, there is a premium to pay to join that company and experience the true hypercar in the flesh.