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Pure and Visceral

The Ferrari Daytona SP3 draws its inspiration from the Ferrari Sport Prototype racers of the 1960s such as the 330 P3/P4, 330 P4 and 412 P. And that includes the driving experience
Words: Chris Rees
Photographs: John Wycherley

The Ferrari vision for the Daytona SP3 was to create the most direct connection possible between driver and machine. Pure, human, visceral. This very special car represents a return to analogue sensations. 


The experience begins the moment you set eyes on the car. As ever at Ferrari, its styling is an integral part of its performance. Locate the hidden door handle, open the butterfly door and slide aboard, negotiating your way past the Le Mans-style windscreen. With the car measuring a mere 1,142 millimetres high, you feel like you’re almost sitting on the ground. 


Nestling into the figure-hugging driver’s seat, which is fixed directly to the carbon-fibre chassis, you instantly feel like you’ve stepped into a racing car – a sensation intensified when you adjust the pedal box to suit your frame via a toggle located in the seat. 

The Ferrari Daytona SP3 is born from the Prototype racers of the 60s, such as the 330 P3/P4 and 412 P

The visceral connection truly ignites when you fire up the V12 engine. Sited mere centimetres away from your back, you feel its pulse through the seat as if it were physically part of you. It’s not just your body that senses these vibrations – it’s your ears, too. The 812 Competizione’s sensational naturally-aspirated V12 engine has been enhanced in a variety of ways, sound being one of the most significant. Hearing the movements of the internal mechanical parts – chains, cogs, valves, pistons – it feels almost like a living being. Blip the ultra-sharp throttle and the sound from the uniquely developed air intake and exhaust are raw, energetic, full of possibility. 

The Mugello International Racetrack provided the perfect backdrop for the dynamic debut of the latest Ferrari Icona model 

It goes without saying that the Daytona SP3 delivers truly extreme performance. With 840cv, the V12 powerplant is the most powerful ever produced by Ferrari. The record-breaking weight-to-power ratio and acceleration figures speak for themselves: 0-100kmh in 2.85 seconds and 0-200kmh in just 7.4. But what really speaks to you as the driver is the ever-ascending power curve, the never-ending forward thrust, the searing ability to rev to 9,500rpm. 

Yet although the Daytona SP3 feels utterly physical to drive, everything about it lets you know that you are in control. The latest 6.1 version of the Ferrari SSC side-slip control includes, for the first time in a mid-rear-engined V12, the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer (FDE). When you switch the manettino to ‘Race’ or ‘CT-Off’ mode, FDE cleverly uses the brake callipers to control the car’s yaw angle during at-the-limit driving, making the car’s handling more predictable and fun. 

 Inside and out, every element of the Ferrari Daytona SP3 is focussed upon delivering a beautiful experience

This sensation is intensified by the carefully calibrated steering, again with a more physical, direct feel. Since you sit with your feet actually ahead of the front wheels, you feel every movement intimately. The Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres play their part, too: designed specifically for the Daytona SP3 to deliver perfectly balanced performance in both dry and wet conditions. As for the brakes – huge discs 398 millimetres wide up front and 380 millimetres at the rear – they are vacuum-boosted, rather than brake-by-wire, once again echoing the spirit of the past. 

The record breaking weight-to-power ratio and acceleration figures speak for themselves: 0-100 km/h in 2.85 seconds and 0-200 km/h in just 7.4 seconds

We will leave it to Ferrari Head of Development Test Drivers, Raffaele de Simone, to conclude on his time out the Mugello International racetrack. “It was a great feeling to pilot the Daytona SP3 at Mugello. Showing the direct connection between the Daytona SP3 and iconic Ferrari Sport Prototypes on track, I felt two very special, contrasting feelings: gratitude and pride. Grateful to relive that famous victory lap at the Daytona 24 Hours, exactly as if I were there. And proud of being the standard bearer for the Ferrari people of today. The 330 P3/P4, 330 P4 and 412 P were just a few metres from me at Mugello, but I believe they are at our shoulder every day, pushing us to set higher limits – just like our predecessors did at Daytona in February 1967.”