Speed in shape
In thoroughbred cars, aerodynamics play a key role in achieving and improving performance. For this reason, and to put its F1 racing experience to good use, Ferrari has always paid particular attention to aerodynamics in the design and style development of its GT cars.
Until now, the focus has been on improving efficiency by increasing aerodynamic down-force and enhancing the tyres' grip capabilities during braking or cornering, without increasing drag. As the upper part of the car body is shaped in such a way that it generates lift (unless aerodynamic devices like dams, spoilers or wings are added), the only way to create down-force on a GT car is by modifying the car’s underbody.
In order to make the most of its down-forcing capability, the underbody of a car needs to be flat or regular. Diffusers added at the rear of the car help to increase air speed and mass flow under the car still further. Ferrari made its first attempt to produce down-force on the F355 with an under-tray, by partially fairing the mechanical components and with two long diffuser channels at the rear.
After this first application, the floor design was gradually improved by fairing all the mechanics in the 360 Modena's underbody, and diffusers were added in front of the front wheels to increase the overall down-force and get the right aero balance.
The top-body of a Ferrari GT car needs to match both aerodynamic (minimum lift and minimum drag) and stylistic requirements. This is not an easy task since stylish bodies don’t often mean ‘wind-shaped’ bodies.
The slotted B-pillars on the 599 GTB Fiorano are an excellent example of the perfect marriage of aerodynamics and style. By opening the slot on the B-pillar it was possible to slow down and lift the air blowing on the rear top-body, which reduced lift and also cut drag, without changing the style and design of the car.
Until now the main focus for Ferrari's aerodynamic engineers has been increasing down-force and keeping drag under control. The goal for the future is to improve aerodynamic efficiency by greatly reducing drag while maintaining and, wherever possible, increasing down-force.
To achieve the target of drag reduction, Ferrari's aerodynamic engineers are focusing their attention on the areas that contribute most to drag.