We've already caught a glimpse of Ferrari's race-bred 599XX supercar, but now we know what makes it tick.
Not only that, but the folks from Maranello have also put the word out to any budding test drivers out there, asking - nay, pleading - for interested parties to thrash the 599XX around some of Europe's most challenging racetracks.
There's one small catch: You'll need a long history of Ferrari ownership, and enough cash to pay for your 599XX "test car". How much cash? Ferrari doesn't say, but it's a foregone conclusion that "a whole lotta dough" is a good ballpark figure.
What you get for your money is a car that's too extreme for the road, and one that probably won't fit into any existing racing category. Useless then? Far from it, for Ferrari says that the 599XX delivers the "purest Ferrari driving experience".
The 599XX will only be able to be driven at Ferrari-organised track days, much like the similarly extreme FXX supercar that preceded it. However, the whole purpose behind the 599XX project is to allow engineers to test, tweak and refine technology that could eventually find its way into the Italian marque's road-going cars.
Technology like an automated transaxle that can swap cogs in just 60 milliseconds, an optimised V12 engine that revs to 9000 rpm and puts out a huge 515kW (690hp), and an active-aerodynamics package that uses fans to increase downforce.
There's also carbon-ceramic brakes with carbon brake pads, heavy use of carbon-fibre in the chassis and some huge slick tyres to keep the 599XX glued to the track.
Despite all this race-inspired tech, Ferrari says that the 599XX "retains the ergonomics of the road-going model, which are essential for non-professional drivers engaging in intensive track driving."
Oil barons and plutocrats take note: you won't have to cut your truffle intake in order to squeeze into this monster.
If you think you might be able to make some room for this in your diary, check out Ferrari's press release below. ("put the cat out... check... get new door for the XB... check... fix the freakin' step... done... test drive new Ferrari thingy... mate, nah, not sure I can squeeze that in...")
WANTED: PEOPLE TO HELP TEST THE NEXT FERRARI SUPERCAR.
Ferrari is looking for people to help it test the prototype for its next generation of supercars with the launch of the Ferrari 599XX at the Geneva Motor Show (3 March 2009) but before applying for the job, applicants will need to have a history of Ferrari ownership and be prepared to buy their Ferrari test car.
Following on from the successful Ferrari FXX programme in which a select group of owners bought the unique FXX prototype and then drove it with Ferrari engineers present at race tracks around the world so that Ferrari could gather data and information, the Ferrari 599XX debuts a host of new technology that is under development. Like the FXX, the 599XX will be offered for sale, but will only be able to be used at Ferrari organized test track days.
The Ferrari 599XX targets owners looking for the purest Ferrari driving experience, unfettered by the rules and regulations on the public roads.
Conceived exclusively for track but not official competition use, and thus unrestricted either by homologation limitations or regulatory restrictions, this extreme sports car incorporates the very best of Ferrari technology, the fruit both of Ferrari?s Research and Development Department?s labours and Ferrari?s long experience and experimentation in F1.
The plethora of aerodynamic, electronic control and handling innovations used together for the first time on a single car make this model a genuine technological laboratory. The solutions adopted for the 599XX ? many of which will remain exclusive to it - enhance its levels of performance and can be summed up in one highly relevant statistic: a Fiorano lap time of just 1 minute and 17 seconds. Although it is such an extreme car, the 599XX still retains the ergonomics of the road-going model which are essential for non-professional drivers engaging in intensive track driving.
While based on the 599 GTB Fiorano with the same transaxle layout and engine type, this prototype is an extreme track car. Ferrari?s engineers have carried out extensive work on the engine?s combustion chambers and inlet and exhaust tracts. These modifications, combined with the fact that internal attrition has been reduced and the maximum revs have been boosted to 9,000 rpm, helped achieve the target power output of 515 kW at 9,000 rpm.
Particular attention was also paid to cutting the weight of the engine unit components. This was achieved both by optimising forms ? as in the new crankshaft ? and adopting exclusive materials, as in the carbon-fibre used for the intake plenums. A new gearbox shift strategy cuts overall gearchange times to 60 ms.
The 599XX is characterised by an innovative electronic concept called the ?High Performance Dynamic Concept? which has been designed to get the maximum performance from the car by managing the combination of the car?s mechanical limits with the potential of its electronic controls. The mechanical and electronic systems work together to get the maximum performance from the car under extreme high performance driving, for consistent lap times. The handling has been improved thanks to the adoption of second generation SCM suspension system. Track usage is also made easier thanks to the new ?virtual car engineer?, a screen in the car that provides a real-time indication of the vehicle?s efficiency.
The 599XX?s aerodynamics were honed in numerous wind tunnel test sessions with the result that the car now boasts 280 kg of downforce at 200 kmh and 630 kg at 300 kmh. The front underside of the body is completely faired-in and the vents that channel hot air from the engine bay have been moved to the bonnet.
The ?Actiflow?? system increases downforce and/or cuts drag depending on the car?s trim cornering conditions, courtesy of the use of a porous material in the diffuser and two fans in the boot which channel the air flow from under the car out through two grilles next to the tail-lights. Winglets have been added to the rear buttresses to increase downforce. while synthetic jets have also been incorporated into the rear of the car to control and smooth the air flow and to reduce drag.
Ferrari?s engineers have also used F1-derived ?doughnuts? which partly cover the brake discs and wheel rim. These have the dual function of improving both aerodynamics and brake cooling.
In terms of the bodywork, composites and carbon-fibre have been widely used and the engineers drew on their experience in working with aluminium to reach the weight target. The development of increasingly high-performance materials has also benefited the carbon-ceramic material braking system. The brake pads are now made from carbon-fibre which means that the callipers are smaller whilst guaranteeing the same efficiency. The new racing carbon ceramic braking system also delivers shorter braking distances and is generally more efficient due to the weight saving.
The 599XX comes with slick tyres (29/67 R19 Front and 31/71 R19 Rear) specifically developed to maximise stability in cornering and increase lateral acceleration. They are fitted to 19 x 11J wheel rims at the front and 19 x 12J at the rear.
Prices and availability of the Ferrari 599XX are available only on individual request.