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The power of design

Challenged to imagine a concept car and a playable vehicle in the Gran Turismo video game series, Maranello designers exceeded the brief by some distance, scooping a prestigious Red Dot award in the process
Words: Silvia Baruffaldi

Try to imagine you have a crystal ball to see what a single-seater Ferrari supercar of the future might look like. It is the kind of challenge that every creative dreams of facing, and it’s precisely what Flavio Manzoni put to his Advanced Design team when he involved them in a research project that was as exciting as it was off-the-wall: to create a concept car – itself something not done for a long time – that would amount to the first-ever digital car in the history of the Prancing Horse.

But it had still to be a Ferrari, Manzoni emphasised from the start. “It was important to look way ahead, shifting the time horizon into the distant future,” he says. “But we had to do it in a realistic way. So, as always, we got the engineers involved, to be able to work in synergy, especially with the aerodynamics department, led by Matteo Biancalana.” He was flanked by Matteo De Petris, chief of Advanced Design, Francesco Russo of Exteriors, Thomas Granjard from Interiors, Silvia Cavallaro of Colours&Trim, and Salvatore Della Ventura of 3D. “Of course, as with every project, I told my designers that it had to be the most beautiful car in the world,” admits Manzoni.

While the Vision Gran Turismo is undoubtedly a glimpse into a possible future, the design takes inspiration from Ferrari racecar prototypes of the '60s and 70s

Thus, the Vision Gran Turismo was conceived - perfectly defined in every technical aspect and at the same time almost sculptural – so much so that Manzoni defines it as “a speedform; an object passed over by air in which the bodywork appears to be almost floating.”

Although only existing in the virtual world and as a life-size, stylised model complete with interior, the Vision Gran Turismo is, to all intents and purposes, a fully-designed Ferrari. Complete with technical and performance data sheets, it ensures virtual motorsport users have a thoroughly realistic experience. 

Says Manzoni: “At Ferrari, everything comes from integrated research, and is never just down to a designer’s whim.”

And this month the Red Dot awards agreed, handing Manzoni and his team a prestigious award for ‘best of the best’ in the Innovative Products category.