A Thousand Horses: the Ferrari FXX K

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From the earliest days Ferrari has always been about performance and exclusivity. Back in 2014, the current evolution of those twin targets was announced, the Ferrari FXX K. The planned production run is just 40 examples of this hardcore racer (all sold) so finding one at the Salon Privé was quite a coup. It demanded that a piece to be written.

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The FXX K is the third vehicle in the XX programme, preceded by the FXX and 599XX, both extreme cars intended solely for the race track. The FXX was based on the Ferrari Enzo and the FXX K has the LaFerrari DNA as its inspiration and foundation.

Andrea Bertolini, a long time Ferrari Test Driver and 2010 FIA GT1 World Champion gives us an overview of the car.

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Imitating the latest technology utilized at Le Mans and in Formula One this is the first Ferrari GT to have a KERS system to boost the normally aspirated V12 (what else?). The result is a mind-boggling power output, 860hp from the V12 and a further 190hp on tap from the HY-KERS system. One Thousand and Fifty Horsepower!

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Ferrari gave us a peek into the work that went into taking the LaFarrari to the next level. “The FXX K’s 6262cc V12 features new camshafts and a modified valve train with mechanical rather than hydraulic tappets. The intake manifolds have been redesigned and given a special type of polishing treatment. The exhaust system has been modified as its silencers have been eliminated.

The HY-KERS system has been evolved specifically for pure performance with the result that the driver can control the function logics from the specific 4-setting Manettino on the centre console: Qualify, for maximum performance within a limited number of laps; Long Run to optimise performance consistency; Manual Boost for instant maximum torque delivery; and Fast Charge, for a fast recharge of the car’s battery.”

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The aerodynamics have had the full treatment as well:

“A focus on delivering maximum efficiency at every stage of every track lap has resulted in extensive but integrated work on the entire car body in terms of both active and passive aerodynamics.

The front of the car is dominated by a twin-profile spoiler and a larger splitter, which is 30 mm lower, with a gap in its centre. This design is an application of the concepts developed to improve aero balance in the GT category of the WEC, which Ferrari has won for three consecutive years. Two pairs of vertical elements, an endplate and, externally, a dive plane, together with vertical fins channel the air towards the car’s flanks, generating a longitudinal vortex that creates a localized depression. This in turn sucks the wake from the wheels to the outside of the aerodynamic underbody. Along with the side skirts that extend out from the sills, the vortex helps isolate the airflow from the underbody to boost its efficiency.

The solutions on the rear of the car are highly sophisticated, too. The tail section is now higher and the mobile spoiler extends further for a total increase in extension of 60mm when fully deployed. A vertical fin and a small wing each side of the tail act as guide vanes in the low drag configuration and boost the spoiler’s efficiency in the high downforce one. This system also creates considerable downforce at the rear of the car, allowing the use of an extreme diffusion volume for the rear diffuser which optimises air extraction from the underbody. The section of the flat underbody just ahead of the rear wheels is also exploited to the full to generate downforce thanks to the reduced pressure in the wheel arch guaranteed by the direct connection to the rear of the car by a bypass duct.

The result is a 50% improvement in downforce in the low drag configuration and a 30% improvement in the more aggressive downforce configuration, resulting in a figure of 540kg at 200 km/h.

Vehicle dynamics are further improved by the adoption of Pirelli slicks complete with sensors that monitor longitudinal, lateral and radial acceleration, as well as temperature and pressure. This ensures an accurate analysis of the interaction between the tire and track surface, providing even more vital data to enable the traction control system to guarantee maximum performance.”

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What is like to drive?

Well Sebastian Vettel, the Ferrari Formula One Team Leader and four-time World Champion, certainly enjoyed putting the FXX K through its paces at the Fiorano Test Track, as can be judged from this video clip.

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The Ferrari FXX K represents the absolute summit of performance motoring that is accessible to those with sufficient wherewithal but even as I type these lines I know, I just know, that Ferrari will raise the bar again in a few years. Hang on tight for the ride.

 

(Photos: By the author, and additional material copyright and courtesy of Ferrari Media)

 

 

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