Words: Matt Master
A look at Ferrari’s rich tradition of Evo models
The recent unveiling of Ferrari’s FXX K Evo is the latest step in an intense and uncompromising development process at Maranello. Another rarefied handful of highly limited cars that take halo status to the next level, sharpened and refined to almost impossible extremes.
The FXX K Evo is a technological tour de force that marries the remarkable performance advantage of the FXX K over the road-legal LaFerrari to a heavily revised aerodynamic package.
A new twin-profile fixed rear wing works in conjunction with an active rear spoiler, abetted by additional fins, vanes and vents that manage airflow over, under and through the Evo’s reworked all-carbon body. Downforce has increased by 23 percent over the FXX K, now generating a scarcely credible 830kg at V-max.
Like all its FXX predecessors, the Evo is a development project available to a select community of Ferrari owners for whom these track-only testbeds offer a unique insight into the workings of the Scuderia.
It is a way for Ferrari to share and explore with its customers performance advances gained at the pinnacle of road/race research.
And it’s a practice with history. The aborted Group B racer that became the iconic 288 GTO was the first car from the stable to spawn the “evo” moniker.
The 288 GTO Evoluzione dispensed almost completely with the elegant outlines of its road-centric sibling and focussed instead on low weight, increased power and, of course, aerodynamics. This was the car that would have taken Ferrari into Group B racing had the formula not been scrapped over safety concerns.
The model gave almost immediate rise to the F40, a swansong for Enzo himself that, despite borrowing heavily from its competition-bred forebear, had to be a road car first and foremost. It was only when Ferrari unveiled the F40 LM that the “evo” principle was revisited.
These cars were created with the support of Michellotto and sold to privateers who demonstrated the phenomenal potential of the F40 in racing trim. It was far lighter, far more powerful and further enabled by reworked aero.
The process was essentially revisited in the F50, although this time it was an in-house effort to turn a road-going flagship into the competition car it was dying to be. The F50 GT would have competed against the McLaren F1 GTR and Porsche 911 GT1, turning up the wick on its road car programme via the staples of increased power, lightness and aerodynamic fettling.
The myriad benefits of this sort of development sowed a seed, and by the time the next performance lodestar arrived, in the form of the tech-heavy Enzo, it would herald the start of the now familiar FXX programme. Power was up to around 790bhp in the FXX, transferred via a revised transmission, with active aero and F1-inspired on board telemetry.
This ultra-exclusive customer programme has remained a part of Ferrari’s development agenda ever since, giving rise to the wild 599XX and the FXX K – the “K” signifying the presence of kinetic energy recovery, a contemporary F1 performance system.
These cars continue to push the engineering envelope, melding race-bred technologies to a direct road-going lineage. The FXX K Evo is the latest and perhaps greatest stride forward, exploring the limits of aerodynamic efficiency, its extraordinary performance gains dovetailing with invaluable data for future-proofing Ferrari on road and track.