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Ferrari F142 (2009): Maranello’s new V8 sports car scooped

By Tim Pollard (artist’s impression by Larson)

Spy shots

10 April 2009 10:00

Ferrari is preparing to unveil its new V8 supercar, codenamed F142, later in 2009. We still don’t know the name of the production car, but some alphanumeric combination between F400 and F500 are possible badges for the F430 successor, reflecting the mid-engined V8’s displacement.

Our artist’s impression is compiled from the Ferrari F142 spyshots that have been circulating in recent months, suggesting a more modern look. That’s fitting for an all-new model that’s promised to move the game on in a substantial way for the first time in a decade.

Don’t forget, today’s F430 is essentially a rebodied 360 Modena, which dates back to 1999. Ferrari types will deny it, but lift the engine cover of Ferrari’s junior supercar and you’ll find F133e stamped in the engine bay; F133 was the codename for the 360 and ‘e’ stands for evoluzione, you see…

Ferrari F450/F500/F142/whatever: tell me about the tech!

This is where it gets interesting. The F142 project will stick with a V8 slung amidships, but apart from that the engineering recipe is markedly different from the F430’s. It’s an important advance: the V8 makes up three-quarters of Ferrari’s entire production.

We’re still not sure of the V8’s capacity, but it will definitely use Bosch-developed direct injection operating at exceptionally high pressures for this 500bhp application. One source we spoke to suggested the new car will use a downsized, turbocharged V8 to lower emissions and consumption, but other reports suggest a capacity stretched out to 4.5 litres or beyond. Expect plenty of details to lower internal friction, including super-polished camshafts to boost efficiency.

Whatever the final size, it’ll still be a high-rev screamer – such is the Ferrari way – and the California’s seven-speed twin-clutch transmission is set to provide the finger-flicking gearbox thrills. However, Ferrari’s software will be tuned for more sporting shift points than on the California GT.

Will there be a manual ‘box? Fewer than one in 10 buyers order the DIY transmission on the 430, so it’s conceivable the twin-clutch box will be compulsory. Ferrari was reported to be dropping stickshifts altogether, but CAR has learned that it’s seemingly relented and is about to announce a manual transmission option for the California.

And what of the Mille Chili influence on the new Ferrari V8?

The 2007 lightweight design study will influence the F142 project, insiders vow. There’s a possibility the fixed-seat system will be employed, doing away with heavy electric motors and lowering the centre of gravity and instead having pedals and instruments that  move.

Of more significance is the use of lighter materials. The F430 already uses aluminium extensively, but Ferrari is likely to add even more exotic materials made possible by the new V8’s likely price tag north of £150,000. Maranello’s new Mille Chili institute is already developing hybrid aluminium/composite honeycomb materials that could be used in the bulkhead between the cabin and engine bay for instance.

Net result? The new Ferrari V8 supercar is likely to weigh less than the 1250kg of today’s F430. We somehow doubt they’ll quite hit the eventual 1000kg target quite yet, but Ferrari chief insists that every new Ferrari heralds a technological breakthrough and F142’s is likely to focus on clever-clogs weight saving and active aerodynamics.

What about KERS on the new Ferrari?

Not yet. Ferrari is on record as saying a road car application isn’t likely before 2012 – but be in no doubt that Maranello is developing an F1-style energy recapture system for its showroom range. It’s slightly at odds with the light weight mantra, adding as it does 35kg of batteries on today’s F1 car.

Other high tech details on the new V8 will include the latest iteration of the E-diff, controlled by the mannetino, and standard carbon brakes. It’ll be built in the new Ferrari factory that started making the California – with new, more efficient and higher quality production promised as a result.

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