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The LaFerrari unveiled at the Geneva international motor show

News International-French

11 Mar 2013

An iconic name for a car that encompasses the very best of prancing horse passion using composite chassis and bodyshell.

The wraps are finally off the LaFerrari. The Prancing Horse’s eagerly-anticipated limited-series special, of which just 499 will be built, made its world debut today at the Geneva International Motor Show.

“We chose to call this model LaFerrari,” declared Ferrari’s President, Luca di Montezemolo, “because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company – excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving. Aimed at our collectors, this is a truly extraordinary car which encompasses advanced solutions that, in the future, will find their way onto the rest of the range, and it represents the benchmark for the entire automotive industry. LaFerrari is the finest expression of our company’s unique, unparalleled engineering and design know-how, including that acquired in Formula 1.”

For Ferrari the development of a limited-series special like the LaFerrari represents an opportunity to experiment with all the technological solutions that will later filter down onto the production cars. Of particular significance in this context is the introduction of the hybrid system which, making full use of the Scuderia Ferrari’s F1 KERS know-how, has resulted in a solution that exalts Ferrari’s fundamental values – performance and driving thrills. The hybrid technology used, known as HY-KERS, represents the perfect combination of maximum performance and lower emissions (just 330 g/km of CO2.)
The LaFerrari is equipped with dynamic controls that are integrated for the first time ever on a Ferrari road car with active aerodynamics and the HY-KERS system. A very advanced and uncompromising approach was also taken with the interior design which features an HMI inspired by F1 single-seaters.


The choice of a chassis and bodyshell made of composite materials

To attain the performance goals set for the LaFerrari, Ferrari drew not only on the Scuderia’s F1 experience in the choice of materials, design and engineering, but brought in the expertise of Rory Byrne, the legendary F1 designer who was responsible for no fewer than 11 of Ferrari’s World Championship-winning cars. A working group of GT and F1 engineers designed a chassis which would provide maximum rigidity and minimum weight, despite the constraints imposed by incorporating the hybrid system. During the engineering phase a number of functions were integrated within the chassis design to reduce weight. One example is the seat structure which is part of the chassis, lowering weight and ensuring a more compact architecture and a lower centre of gravity.These uncompromising solutions guaranteed a significant improvement in performance characteristics over the chassis of the Enzo Ferrari, with torsional rigidity increased by 27 per cent and beam stiffness up by 22 per cent, while weight has dropped by 20 per cent. The chassis is built entirely in-house in Maranello alongside the F1 single-seaters using the Scuderia’s materials and production processes. Just like in F1, pre-preg composites of aeronautical derivation are employed: four different types of carbon-fibre are used, because each area of the body-in-black is engineered to guarantee the functional requirements it has to meet.


Most of the tub is made of T800 – a first in the automotive sector – with both fabric and unidirectional tape being strategically hand laid up to ensure that the right material is in the right place. T1000 unidirectional tape and fabric is used in areas that are important for passenger compartment protection, such as the doors and the sills. Its high energy absorption characteristics pass the strictest side-impact legislation norms. Structural elements of the body are made using M46J unidirectional tape and fabric which is extremely rigid, but lightweight. For the underbody, carbon-fibre is combined with another specialist composite material, Kevlar®, which is used to protect the carbon structure from road debris damage.The multi-material approach was adopted for the entire body-in-black in order to reduce the number of components to the benefit of lower weight. An example is the one-piece rear section, which is a single piece hand laid-up using a combination of M46J and T800 carbon-fibres to obtain a very lightweight, yet rigid structure. The carbon-fibre is cured in the same autoclaves used for the F1 chassis in two phases between 130°and 150° C using vacuum bags to remove any voids in the laminate.


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