Origin story

21 April 2021

Ben Pulman

A new special series Ferrari has been revealed, with a 830cv V12 and unmatched performance – but the anticipation and excitement for this limited edition berlinetta exists because of two groundbreaking predecessors


The unveiling today of a new special series Ferrari continues the modern tradition of the Prancing Horse creating extreme V12 berlinetta models. These limited edition vehicles concentrate the technical innovations – namely, engine performance, aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics – that are central to Ferrari’s DNA, to deliver track levels of performance on the road.

The first such limited edition special series model was the Ferrari 599 GTO, revealed in 2010. Befitting the legendary status of this twelve-cylinder berlinetta, it was at the time Ferrari’s fastest ever road car, able to lap the company’s Fiorano race track in a time of 1 minute and 24 seconds.

It was evolved from the advanced 599XX experimental track car, and could be considered almost a road-going version as it benefited significantly from the technological transfer from Ferrari engineers’ experience in Formula 1 and with the XX programme.

The 6.0-litre V12 was directly derived from the 599XX unit, including the crankshaft and exhaust manifold, which endowed the 599 GTO with 670cv at 8250rpm. The special series berlinetta also featured the same 60ms gearchange times and the ability to make multiple downshifts as the 599XX.

Weight was reduced through the widespread use of composites and aerodynamic innovations included ‘wheel doughnuts’ that not only improved brake cooling but ensured hot air exiting the wheelarches stayed as close to the body as possible to reduce drag.

In 2015, Ferrari’s second special series V12 was unveiled, the F12tdf. Once again it was the ultimate expression of an extreme road car that is equally at home on the track, and the innovations created a berlinetta that was second to none in terms of acceleration, roadholding and agility.

Performance was beyond doubt with a 780cv naturally-aspirated V12 that delivered unparalleled response all the way to the red line at 8,900rpm. The abundant use of carbon fibre, inside and out, drastically reduced weight, with 110kg removed from the vehicle.

Cornering speeds were also higher thanks to a significant increase in downforce that reached unprecedented levels for a front-engined V12 berlinetta. The aerodynamic changes to achieve such performance were extensive, with the rake of the rear screen made more vertical, louvres to extract air from the rear wheelarches, and a redesigned diffuser with three active aero flaps.

Equally groundbreaking was the exhilarating lateral acceleration in corners, which was due to an 8% increase in the ratio of the front tyres compared to the rear ones, and the innovative rear-wheel steering system – known as the Virtual Short Wheelbase. Integrated with the vehicle dynamic control systems, it delivered instantaneous turn-in on twisty roads and technically challenging tracks, while at the same time improving stability at high speeds.

The exclusivity of such technological performance was assured with the limited availability of only 599 examples of the 599 GTO, and 799 F12tdf models, all of which were sold to Ferrari clients before the vehicles were unveiled to the public. Furthermore, reflecting the status of each vehicle, the 599 GTO and F12tdf were named to pay homage to legendary vehicles and races in the Prancing Horse’s illustrious past.

The GTO (Gran Turismo Omologata) name instantly calls to mind two Ferraris: the 250 GTO, which swept the boards in GT racing in the 1960s, and the iconic 1984 GTO that essentially invented the modern supercar genre. For the F12tdf, it paid homage to the Tour de France, the legendary endurance road race that Ferrari dominated in the 1950s and ‘60s, particularly with the 1956 250 GT Berlinetta which won four consecutive editions in a row.

The name of the new limited edition special series Ferrari – along with further details of its performance attributes – will be unveiled on 5 May…