LaFerrari….Not a Yawning Matter!

LaFerrari

LaFerrari

When my cousin called me from Jordan to tell me about the unveiling of Ferrari’s Supercar at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, I thought there was a mistake as he kept calling it LaFerrari. Chalking the misunderstanding up to a bad long-distance connection and his Arab accent, I just Google’d “New Ferrari Supercar” and sure-nuff my cousin did pronounce it right, they named it LaFerrari.  Was it named out of a yawn or a blatant disregard to names as a whole, this puzzled me.

LaFerrari

LaFerrari

Assuming Ferrari would follow proper nomenclature protocol and name their new creation the F70, the LaFerrari was just beginning to unveil the first of many surprises.

LaFerrari

LaFerrari

Aside from the supercars obvious striking beauty and gorgeous stance, the technological advancement of this machine is most impressive.  Utilizing Ferrari’s KERS technology straight from the F1 circuit, LaFerrari’s HY-KERS adds an additional 161hp to the already overwhelming 789hp being produce by its 6.3L V12 internal combustion power plant totaling 952hp.  Much like a turbo charger, the KERS adds power directly to the combustions engines output making this drastically different than a simple hybrid system.

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

As you begin to peel off the layers of this sexy Italian goddess, her beauty becomes more apparent.  Four types of carbon fiber are used for the chassis bringing her curb weight to 3450lbs.  Considering the LaFerrari houses a massive V12, the weight of this supercar is quite remarkable.  The interior of the car has design input from Ferrari F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa to further heighten the driving experience (as if that was necessary).

Armed with Ferrari’s 7 speed twin-clutch gearbox the LaFerrari is rumored to have a top speed of over 220mph and a 0-62 in just under 3 seconds. 

Ferrari LaFerrari Active Aero Dynamics

Ferrari LaFerrari Active Aero Dynamics

Assisting the Brembo carbon-ceramics in the monumental task of slowing down this supercar are the active aerodynamics and diffuser that act as air brakes.

Not only is this the fastest road going car Ferrari has ever built, it’s also an important sign of things to come.  Being the first car designed and built in-house without the help of designer Pininfarina, the LaFerrari brings to an end a relationship that began over 62 years ago in 1951.  While Ferrari has stated they have no plans in ending their business relationship with Pininfarina this does mark a change.  By Ferrari’s embracing of hybrid technology much like Porsche did with their 918 Hybrid and Mclaren with their P1 Hypercar, it reinforces the belief this is the direction of all sports cars to come.

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

I am not quite sure how or why Ferrari named their amazing new supercar LaFerrari but one thing is for sure, there is nothing to yawn at after learning about this supercar.  You quickly forget about the name and it’s $1.2M price tag and just appreciate the car for its importance for Ferrari.  I am proud of Ferrari’s initiative but next time maybe they could get a little help with naming their new models.  

McLaren MP4-12C…THE BOYS ARE BACK!

McLaren Mp4-12C

McLaren Mp4-12C

We haven’t heard too much from the boys at McLaren over the past few years. I guess after creating the McLaren F1 there wasn’t really much more to say.  Being heralded as “the finest driving machine built for the public road” or having statements made like “the McLaren F1 will be remembered as one of the great events in the history of the car” would make anybody lazy, right? Wrong!

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

The boys are back with the much-anticipated predecessor to the McLaren F1, the McLaren MP4-12C.  Few cars arrive to the scene with as much pressure and expectation for nothing less than mind blowing stellar performance than McLaren.  Do you blame us?

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren boss Ron Dennis was quoted as stating the MP4-12C will out perform the competition in all areas: speed, emissions, and dynamics.  That’s a pretty bold statement considering the company the 12C is in.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see however considering the specs, I’d say they have a damn good chance of holding true to that claim.

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

Powered by a 3.8L Twin Turbo V8 producing 592bhp, the 12C goes 0-62 in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph.  Following in the McLaren F1’s footsteps, the 12C is the first production car to use the most cutting edge and latest space age materials like Magnesium and a single-piece Carbon MonoCell; weighting in at just under 3000lbs.  Additionally, words like “fuel efficiency” and “CO2 emissions” aren’t really spoken about when it comes to supercars.  McLaren however thought they would start that conversation with the 12C managing nearly 25mpg and an mpg/CO2 ratio being one of the best in the modern world.

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

While the interior’s forensic attention to ergonomic detail and the rear-tail brake-assist is quite impressive, the one thing I appreciated when learning about the McLaren MP4-12C was the price.  I’m not saying $250K +/- is affordable by any means, however considering the McLaren F1 was $1M car I think they have made great strides in making this car more attainable to not only the Saudi princes but to their sons and daughters as well!

McLaren MC4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

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FERRARI MUSEUM IN MARANELLO…A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN!

As I mentioned in my previous post I finally achieved one of my life long goals and made a pilgrimage to the Ferrari Factory and while there I had a chance to visit the Ferrari Museum (videos at the end).

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

Upon entering the museum I walked through the impressive gift shop, which has anything and everything you can possibly place a Ferrari shield on.  Walking through the shop I was greeted by the friendly Ferrari staff in spotless and perfect Ferrari uniforms.  I was given the option of purchasing a general admission ticket for 13 Euros or a touring ticket in which you actually board a bus and drive through the Ferrari Factory among other stops.  Being that it was a Sunday and the factory was closed I chose to save my money for more Ferrari gifts on the way out.

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

I really didn’t expect to see so many rare and amazing Ferrari’s as I did.  Among all the Formula 1 and Le Mans cars basking in all their glory, as fans snap off picture after picture, sat a few cars you rarely ever see.   I spotted a Super America version of the 599 Fiorano (protoypte?), and the 599XX Speciale both of which looked absolutely stunning just to name a few.

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

Ferrari SA Aperta aka 599 Super America in Maranello, Italy

Ferrari 599XX Speciale

Ferrari 599XX Speciale in Maranello Italy

Another really cool display was Enzo Ferrari’s actual office recreated in the museum complete with his desk, chair, coffee mug, hat, pictures on the walls etc… Once I reached the 2ndfloor I was immediately greeted by a beautiful red Enzo (F60) sitting in front of a Factory facade mock up and she looked right at home.

Ferrari Enzo (F60) in Ferrari Museum, Maranello Italy

Ferrari Enzo (F60) in Ferrari Museum, Maranello Italy

As I walked past the Enzo I stepped into a dark magical room that had ambient music playing while 8 F1 cars sit perched in front of flat screen TV’s displaying Ferrari’s winning race history (video below).  Trophies were displayed behind a glass wall while people starred in utter amazement at the heavenly room.  It was really something to have visited the museum and it turned out to be much more than I expected.  If you are ever anywhere near Modena I highly recommend you spend a couple hours of your time and head over to the Ferrari campus, you won’t regret it.

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MY PILGRIMAGE TO FERRARI….NOW MY LIFE IS COMPLETE!

Ferrari Factory in Maranello Italy

Ferrari Factory in Maranello Italy

Ferrari Enzo resting in the Ferrari Museum in Maranello Italy
Ferrari Enzo resting in the Ferrari Museum in Maranello Italy

In every car guys life there is a least one ultimate goal, a lifelong dream, a pilgrimage if you will.  No I’m not talking about a religious act or even a family tradition, I am talking about the few things you put on your bucket list before dying.  For some it’s going to the Indy 500 or to drive a race car, for others it’s simply to meet someone like Carroll Shelby.  For me it was visiting the Ferrari Factory!

Ferrari Formula 1 Cars at The Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Ferrari Formula 1 Cars at The Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Ever since I was lucky enough to have gotten a job at International Auto restoring vintage Ferrari’s as a teenager, I have had the urge to make a pilgrimage to the Ferrari Factory.  I would hear stories about how the wealthy doctors I worked for would get flown to the factory by Ferrari to view their new models.  It sounded so cool I immediately made visiting the factory one of my top goals.  Fast forward 20 years later and I finally did it!

Standing in front of Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Standing in front of Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Let me first say it wasn’t the easiest to find.  We flew into Milan and made our way towards Modena after staying a few nights in Venice.  I went cheap and declined Hertz’s $300 up-charge for GPS and decided to use a map purely out of spite (not the best idea).  After driving aimlessly for 4+ hours I knew I was getting close as signs for Maranello began to appear.  Soon thereafter I glanced to my right and behind the trees and bushes on the side of the road looked like what appeared to be a race track.  I thought to myself could it be? Yes it was! The Ferrari test track.  As I continued down the road another few minutes, and as the trees cleared away, there it was, just like I imagined, Ferrari heaven!

Formula 1 Cars in Ferrari Museum

Formula 1 Cars in Ferrari Museum

I turned off the main street and pulled in to a large parking lot which was surrounded by the Ferrari Museum, multiple Ferrari stores, cafes and most importantly Ferrari rentals.  I was immediately overwhelmed and couldn’t speak as everything became silent; my wife was snapping her fingers in front of my face to see if I was still conscious.  A nice Italian boy walked up to me and asked if I wanted to rent a Ferrari and I just starred at him.  Ferrari’s were driving past me from the left and from the right. It was so much sensory overload , I really almost shut down.  Finally my wife grabbed me with both arms and pulled me towards the museum as I was unable to make any decisions.

Ferrari Engines Inside Ferrari Museum at Maranello

Ferrari Engines Inside Ferrari Museum at Maranello

We paid the 13 Euro entry fee and walked around in awe at the display of race cars, models, trophy’s etc…  I took a ton of pictures and will have a post specifically on the museum soon after this post.  Upon leaving the museum I ran into that kid that asked me if I wanted to rent a Ferrari earlier that day.  Without hesitation I said yes.  Fifteen minutes and 85 Euro later I was in a Ferrari California Spider with Francesco and my wife flying down the back roads of Maranello; more on this to come as well.

Ferrari California Spider Test Drive in Maranello

Ferrari California Spider Test Drive in Maranello

I had 2 more stops before leaving this magical place; the actual factory and the test track.  While both of these are off limits to common folk, you could still drive to it, pay homage and snap off a few pictures, both of which I did.

Pista di Fiorano aka Ferrari Test Track

Pista di Fiorano aka Ferrari Test Track

More to come on actually going through the Ferrari Museum and my test drive of the Ferrari California.

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FERRARI 599 GTO…POSSIBLY THE ANSWER WE’VE ALL BEEN SEARCHING FOR!

Being known as a major car guy, I am often posed the question ”if you had to pick only one favorite car what would it be?”  This question is torture to someone like me because I have about 50 favorite cars and they change on a daily basis.  I will have to say however, that the car that has almost gotten my answer to that evil question would have to be the Ferrari 599 GTO. 

I am a huge fan of the 599 Fiorano because it embodies so many things right about a sports car of this caliber.  It is a true sports coupe in every sense of the word. Powered by a massive V12 and ensconced in the best leather in the world; what more can you want? Well how about being able to say you own the fastest Ferrari road car ever made for starters? If that’s not enough, how about being able to say you drive a car with about 661bhp and 458 lb.-ft of torque and weighing in 220lbs less than the 599 GTB? Satisfied?

Aside from the jaw dropping technical data, it’s also quite special to own a GTO.  Ferrari doesn’t often label a model GTO unless it has some serious umpf to back it up.  The last car to be labeled a GTO was the infamous 288GTO whom people still make replicas of to this day.  Now let’s talk sound.  Have you ever heard one of these cars go?  If you haven’t, stop everything you’re doing and find one you can listen to.  Actually, I will place a youtube video of a 599GTO at the bottom of this post, so feel free to disregard my last sentence.  This car sounds as if they dropped an F1 car on the highway and let it go to town.

 

The Ferrari 599 GTO is truly a collectible car and is somewhat reasonably priced at $410K.  Is any car reasonable at $410K you ask?  Well, if you compare it to the next closest thing, the 599XX priced at $1.2M, the GTO seems like a steal!  With that being said, the Ferrari GTO is going in my dream garage and might be my answer to that age-old question, “if you had to pick a favorite car, which one would it be”.

Now close your eyes and listen to video below:

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FERRARI UNVEILS THEIR NEW 458 ITALIA SPIDER….IS THIS REAL LIFE?

I am a huge Ferrari fan.  I have loved Ferrari since I was a baby.  As a teenager I had the unique experience of restoring and race prepping some of the rarest vintage Ferrari’s in the world. This left me with a very deep knowledge and passion for these cars.  As a child I always admired the 308’s as these were iconic cars that showed up in the TV shows and movies I grew up with.  I must admit, I hated the 348 and 355 models but was relieved to see the 360 Modena debut.  I didn’t love the car but it was definitely a step in the right direction.  When the F430 arrived, it corrected any shortcomings the 360 Modena had and made me very content with the car.

Once Ferrari debuted the 458 Italia my heart instantly started to pound like a scene from Tom and Jerry.  They nailed the design perfectly and brought back the intimidation and sex appeal that model deserves.  In typical Ferrari fashion, they have once again outdone themselves.  Ferrari has just announced the unveiling of their much awaited 458 Spider!  Unlike all their Spiders in the past, Ferrari has done the unthinkable and forgone the traditional fabric hood for a newly developed, Ferrari-patented hardtop.  The hardtop is claimed to fold back and stow ahead of the engine bay in 14 seconds at the press of a button.  This new system actually weighs 55 lbs less than the fabric hood system on the previous F30 Spider.

Just in case you’re not already aware of the stats for the 458, it’s powered by a naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V8 which produces 562 hp at 9000 rpm and 398 lb-ft torque at 6000 rpm, goes 0-62 mph 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 198 mph.

Check out the video below!

BLOWN AWAY BY AYRTON SENNA DOCUMENTARY TITLED ” SENNA”

This past Sunday I had the distinct pleasure of viewing one of the best documentary’s I have seen in a while.  The film was simply titled “Senna” which documented the life of Formula 1racing phenom Ayrton Senna.  I don’t think there is anyone in the car world that hasn’t heard the name Senna, but for those who haven’t, it really didn’t matter.  I actually brought my wife, who doesn’t know much about racing, and she walked out of theater in tears adoring Ayrton like the rest of us.  Don’t get me wrong, it certainly didn’t hurt to watch footage from the onboard camera as Ayrton flies through the streets of Monaco on the big screen either.

Although there was some amazing footage of Formula 1 racing and excellent documentation of the Senna/Prost wars, the film was so much more inspiring than that.  Ayrton was such a sincerely loving individual in which the film did an amazing job of showing.  I really felt as if I knew Ayrton as a friend after leaving the theater.  To many, Ayrton was a modern day hero, an underdog that everyone rooted for, because he fought every day for God and his country against impenetrable odds.  He did so because he couldn’t stop as he was quoted saying in the film.  He was a true and whole person  and an amazing competitor in every sense of the word.  He is very much missed.

The Director of the film, Asif Kapadia, was brilliant enough to get what the goal of the film was about and worked diligently with Ayrton’s family and film team to produce this wonderful tribute of a great man.  Asif was kind enough to hang around after the film for some Q & A which I was able to record and put at end of this post.  I was also fortunate to snag a picture with Asif.  If you haven’t done so already, please show your support, go out and see Senna or buy the DVD you will be very happy you did.

Watch Asif talk about making the film after the debut: