Cars

The new Ferrari 296 GTB is available with an Assetto Fiorano specification, as is the SF90 Stradale and the SF90 Spider, but what makes this track-focused set-up – named after Ferrari's own test circuit – so special for each Prancing Horse model?
Words – Ben Pulman

When Ferrari unveiled the SF90 Stradale in 2019, it really unveiled two new models.

This is because alongside the standard model – and never has the word ‘standard’ been so inadequate as when used to describe a record-breaking 1000cv supercar – the Prancing Horse also revealed an Assetto Fiorano version.
Titled after Ferrari’s own test track in Maranello, its name alone tells you all you need to know: this is a model focused upon enhancing performance on a circuit.

It was the first time on a Ferrari that clients could choose between the ‘standard’ (that word again…) model and a version with a more sports-oriented specification. But it wouldn’t be the last: the SF90 Spider that followed in 2020 could be specified in Assetto Fiorano guise, and the newly revealed 296 GTB may also be selected in its own unique Assetto Fiorano iteration.

Yet how do each of these Assetto Fiorano models differ from their counterparts, and how does that specification create bespoke models?

The optional two-tone livery available accentuates the design of the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, from the overhang on the nose to the Assetto Fiorano model's bespoke rear screen louvres and extended carbon-fibre rear spoiler

‘We start with three concepts: a reduction in mass; an enhancement in aerodynamic downforce; and the improvement in dynamic performance,’ explains Stefano Varisco, Head of Vehicle Dynamics and Energetics. ‘These three avenues all lead us to achieve maximum performance, with this special set-up developed for those who wish to make the most of their car’s abilities on track.’

‘On the SF90 Stradale, the first Ferrari available as an Assetto Fiorano version, we lightened the mass by 40kg – but as important was maintaining the correct distribution of weight between the front and rear axles. The same is true for the increased downforce, as the balance front-to-rear must be in harmony. The changes in mass, downforce and dynamic performance must go hand-in-hand.’

Such a philosophy can be seen – and felt – across the SF90 Stradale, but most obvious to client within the first moments of driving will be the re-engineered suspension. On the Assetto Fiorano version, the adaptive dampers are replaced with passive aluminium dampers, and together with lightweight titanium springs, these save around 8kg while also simultaneously enhancing track performance. In fact, the passive Multimatic dampers are calibrated specifically for track use and derived from Ferrari’s GT racing experience.
Carbon-fibre is used extensively across the Assetto Fiorano specification for the SF90 Stradale, both to save weight and to craft new aerodynamic elements. The enlarged carbon-fibre rear spoiler helps generate 390kg of downforce at 250km/h to enhance high-speed handling and braking – and works with the patented ‘shut-off Gurney’ to minimise drag in maximum- or low-speed situations. Carbon-fibre, too, is used in the doors panels, and the underbody, and as well as titanium being the material of choice for the suspension’s springs, the lightweight metal is used to craft the entire exhaust line on the SF90 Stradale Assetto Fiorano.

Further changes include louvres within the rear screen to enhance powertrain cooling under extreme track conditions, and the fitment of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres designed specifically to improve performance on the track in dry conditions – they feature a softer compound and fewer grooves than the tyres provided as standard.

Named for Ferrari's own test track in Maranello, Italy, the Assetto Fiorano version of the SF90 Stradale is in its element on the fabled Fiorano circuit

A two-tone livery is also available to clients who specify the Assetto Fiorano package. ‘It has been inspired by the world of Ferrari racing,’ explains, Marc Poulain, SF90 Stradale lead exterior designer. ‘We created a longitudinal livery that highlights the characteristics of the Assetto Fiorano: the ‘hammer’ motif accentuates the overhang on the front nose element, and towards the rear of the car your eyes are drawn to the new louvres in the rear screen, and then on to the extended carbon-fibre spoiler.’

And the result? ‘It is amazing,’ says Ferrari Chief Test Driver Raffaele de Simone. ‘The SF90 Stradale Assetto Fiorano is so efficient and responsive. The control systems, in particular the electric front axle with torque vectoring, give a feeling of real agility, and now the car is lighter, more focused. It is an ultra-modern supercar, but one you drive with your senses, your hands and feet working together on track, and you just feel so connected!’

After the SF90 Stradale and SF90 Spider, the new 296 GTB is the latest Ferrari model to be available in an Assetto Fiorano version alongside the standard car

In addition to the Assetto Fiorano versions of the SF90 Stradale and SF90 Spider, there is now a new Assetto Fiorano model, derived from the new Ferrari 296 GTB. The philosophy remains the same: it is for clients who want to exploit the car’s extreme power and performance to the utmost.

To that end the 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano package features special GT racing-derived adjustable Multimatic shock absorbers optimised for track use, high downforce carbon-fibre appendages on the front bumper that can deliver an additional 10kg of downforce, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R high-performance tyres especially suited to track use. Weight is reduced with an ultra-light Lexan® rear screen, and the more extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon-fibre for the door panels.

As with the SF90 Stradale, a special livery can also be ordered exclusively by owners that opt for the Assetto Fiorano package. Inspired by the 250 Le Mans, its design runs from front bumper element, encapsulates the bonnet to create a hammer motif, before running lengthways up to the roof and then down onto the rear spoiler where it expands again aground the central exhaust.

Whether chosen for the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, the Ferrari SF90 Spider, or for the 296 GTB, the Assetto Fiorano specification accentuates the unique characteristics of each car, while at the same time enhancing overall on-track performance.

Resplendent in its optional two-tone livery that was inspired by the 250 LM, the Assetto Fiorano version of the 296 GTB features additional carbon-fibre elements on the outer edges of the front bumper, as well as lightweight carbon-fibre components within the interior