Ferrari's first ever production car to be equipped with the F1-derived hybrid
Hy-kers system seamlessly blends, blistering performance and maximum efficiency
The LaFerrari represents Ferrari’s most ambitious project yet to push the boundaries of technology on a road car, drawing together the finest expression of the marque’s technical capabilities in both GT and Formula 1 engineering.
It boasts the most extreme performance ever achieved by a Ferrari production car and features the most advanced and innovative technical solutions which will, in the future, filter down to the rest of the Ferrari range.
With production limited to just 499 examples, LaFerrari continues Ferrari’s tradition in building uncompromising performance cars for a small number of highly discerning clients.
The LaFerrari is the first ever car with hybrid technology to come out of Maranello. The 6262cc V12 produces 800 CV and the electric motor a further 12o kW (163 CV) for a total of over 960 CV.
Thanks to the huge technological leap forward represented by the HY-KERS system, the LaFerrari is the most high performance and efficient Ferrari ever built.Making full use of Ferrari’s F1 expertise with KERS systems which has been further developed for application to road cars, the HY-KERS guarantees maximum integration between the V12 and the electric motor, seamlessly blending extreme performance with maximum efficiency.
The high levels of torque available at low revs from the electric motor allowed the engineers to optimise the internal combustion engine’s performance at higher revs, thus providing unending power throughout the rev range and a maximum torque peak of over 900 Nm. This solution has not involved any increase in the car's dimensions or its wheelbase and has, in fact, helped lower its centre of gravity.
The F1 dual-clutch gearbox is coupled with the electric motor and an auxiliary electric motor replaces the traditional alternator, thus saving weight and reducing the overall dimensions of the packaging. In addition, the HY-KERS solution was designed from the outset to be flexible and modular to enable its evolution for application to other models in the range.
The electric motor was designed employing High Specific Power Density technology which enabled the engineers to drastically reduce weight and volume in relation to available torque. The result is performance figures that are comparable to those of the F1 car with the same torque density and the same efficiency (94%) or, in other words, very limited power dissipation.Battery size was an essential factor in optimising the HY-KERS’ weight-power ratio with the aim being to maximise performance while reducing fuel consumption.
The solution was an extremely complex system consisting of 120 cells assembled into eight 15-cell modules, with a power output that’s the equivalent of 40 traditional batteries but weighing just 60 kg. The high-voltage batteries are actually assembled in-house by the Scuderia racing department. The batteries are charged in two different ways: under braking - even hard braking when the ABS intervenes, such as when driving on a track - and every time the V12 produces more torque than required, such as in cornering. In the latter instance, rather than the being sent to the wheels, the excess torque is converted to energy and stored in the batteries.
The HY-KERS system is governed by the Hybrid Power Unit which controls the power delivery from both the V12 and the electric motor via two inverters and two DC-DC converters. The variable-frequency control makes torque delivery rapid and precise.This technology has enabled Ferrari’s engineers to maximise performance and reduce fuel consumption. C02 emissions have been reduced to 330 g/km without resorting to electric-only drive which was not within the mission of this model. The HY-KERS system is, however, designed so that in future applications a car can be driven using exclusively electric power for a few kilometres and, during development testing, a full-electric version of LaFerrari achieved just 220 g/km of C02 emissions on the combined cycle.
Total torque generated by the V12 together with the electric motor is over 900 Nm, with the instantaneous torque from the electric motor being employed at lower revs and with the V12 engine power and torque optimised at higher revs. The V12’s peak torque of 700 Nm is in fact developed at 6750 rpm.
In addition the entire intake system – from the dynamic air intakes on the top of the rear wheelarches to the intake plenum - was designed to maximise intake volume efficiency. The engine also boasts a very high 13.5:1 compression ratio for maximum combustion chamber efficiency.
Improvements in mechanical efficiency involved a number of components, most importantly the crankshaft which has been lightened and incorporates new, more aerodynamically efficient counter webs to reduce pumping losses.
The crankshaft design also reduces masses around the rotation axis which cut overall mass by around 19 per cent. Last but not least, one of the LaFerrari’s signatures is its engine sound. Thanks to tuning of the exhaust in particular, the LaFerrari has an unmistakable Ferrari V12 soundtrack.
The equal-length 6-into-1 exhaust system was hydroformed using Inconel as in F1 to help keep overall weight down with the additional benefit of very high temperature resistance characteristics.
The 6262cc V12 produces 800 CV and the electric motor a further 120 kw (163 CV) for a total of over 960 CV.
As well as producing 800 CV, the V12 spins to 9250 rpm which guarantees fantastic performance and driving pleasure as well as that unmistakable Ferrari V12 sound. These completely unprecedented results can be attributed to work carried out in three areas: volumetric, mechanical and combustion efficiency.
The engineers’ aim was to deliver the highest degree of aerodynamic efficiency ever achieved with any road car, with a coefficient of nearly 3, thanks to technical solutions honed with CFD analysis and fine-tuned in the F1 Wind Tunnel.
The Ferrari 488 Pista is 90 kg lighter than the 488 GTB, which brings huge advantages in terms of its agility and responsiveness. To maximise on this, the weight reductions are concentrated in the most weight-sensitive areas of the car, such as the unsprung masses and components away from the car’s centre of gravity.
Compared to the last limited series special the bodywork is narrower and lower to achieve maximum aerodynamic efficiency. The centre of gravity was lowered by 35 mm by redesigning the layout and integration of all of the main components and the human-machine interface, resulting in superior handling and responsiveness.
Completely revised weight distribution means that the masses are now inside the wheelbase, guaranteeing the LaFerrari a low polar moment of inertia, excellent stability and grip in all driving conditions with 59 per cent of the weight over the rear of the car.
One of the greatest challenges in designing the LaFerrari was incorporating the hybrid system. Despite having the same wheelbase and maximum overall length as the Enzo, the LaFerrari incorporates both the hybrid system and the F1 dual-clutch gearbox plus their cooling systems. In other words, thanks to some extremely meticulous and ingenious engineering and design work, the running gear of two cars is cleverly packaged in the same space as previously occupied by just one.
The LaFerrari’s architecture represents the pinnacle of innovation even by Ferrari’s legendary standards. The objective was to increase aerodynamic efficiency, deliver ideal weight distribution, lower the car’s centre of gravity as far as possible, and, most importantly of all, seamlessly integrate the new hybrid system.All of this and more has been achieved without impinging on cabin space, comfort or accessibility.
Proprietary Ferrari algorithms govern all the systems so that the car can reach the most extreme limits of performance, aerodynamic efficiency and handling without any form of compromise in any area.
Thanks to myriad innovations across the board in its design and construction, the LaFerrari delivers absolutely exceptional performance, establishing itself as Ferrari’s fastest-ever road car. The LaFerrari slashes more than 5 seconds off the Enzo’s lap record at the Fiorano circuit. Such huge progress was made thanks to the hybrid technology and evolutions in traction and damping control, brakes and tyres. The integrated development of the entire car, particularly the tyres and suspension set-up, means that torque in the order of over 900 Nm can be fed through the wheels. Those levels of torque are produced by the combined effect of the V12 engine and the electric motor which provides instantaneous response at all times.
When the car is cornering, the HY-KERS keeps the V12’s revs up to ensure quicker response times to the accelerator pedal and, when accelerating out of a bend, the traction control system constantly controls and distributes torque to the driven wheels thanks to the electronic differential, which maximises traction, and the stability control system, which monitors the car’s reactions. When there is excess engine torque the HY-KERS diverts this to recharge the batteries and delivers extra torque to the wheels when required guaranteeing constant, blistering performance.
The brakes are equipped with new lightweight calipers, specifically designed to boost cooling, and new discs.
This technology improves the friction of the braking surface of the discs and improves consistency and fade resistance with the result that longitudinal deceleration is improved by 15 per cent, with a 30 m reduction in stopping distances from 200 to 0 km/h. The braking system is completely integrated with all the other vehicle dynamics systems so that the hybrid system goes into regenerative braking mode which guarantees that the batteries are recharged even under very hard braking with the ABS active.
The levels of performance meant that Ferrari has gone for a very specific tyres set-up, with 265/30 R 19 Pirelli P-Zeros on the front and 345/20 R 20s on the rear. Thanks to the integration of the dynamic control systems, the active aerodynamics and mechanical set-up, the response time to steering wheel inputs when turning into a corner is 30 per cent faster and lateral acceleration in corners increases by 20 per cent.
To attain the performance goals set for the LaFerrari, Ferrari drew not only on the Scuderia’s F1 experience in the choice of materials, design and engineering, but brought in the expertise of Rory Byrne, the legendary F1 designer who was responsible for no fewer than 11 of Ferrari’s World Championship-winning cars.
A working group of GT and F1 engineers designed a chassis which would provide maximum rigidity and minimum weight, despite the constraints imposed by incorporating the hybrid system.
During the engineering phase a number of functions were integrated within the chassis design to reduce weight. One example is the seat structure which is part of the chassis, lowering weight and ensuring a more compact architecture and a lower centre of gravity.
These uncompromising solutions guaranteed a significant improvement in performance characteristics over the chassis of the Enzo Ferrari, with torsional rigidity increased by 27 per cent and beam stiffness up by 22 per cent, while weight has dropped by 20 per cent. The chassis is built entirely in-house in Maranello alongside the F1 single-seaters using the Scuderia’s materials and production processes.
Just like in F1, pre-preg composites of aeronautical derivation are employed: four different types of carbon-fibre are used, because each area of the body-in-black is engineered to guarantee the functional requirements it has to meet.
With both fabric and unidirectional tape being strategically hand laid up to ensure the right material is in the right place.
T1000 unidirectional tape and fabric is used in areas that are important for passenger compartment protection, such as the doors and the sills. Its high energy absorption characteristics pass the strictest side-impact legislation norms. Structural elements of the body are made using M46J unidirectional tape and fabric which is extremely rigid, but lightweight. For the underbody, carbon-fibre is combined with another specialist composite material, Kevlar®, which is used to protect the carbon structure from road debris damage.
The multi-material approach was adopted for the entire body-in-black in order to reduce the number of components to the benefit of lower weight. An example is the one-piece rear section, which is a single piece hand laid-up using a combination of M46J and T800 carbon-fibres to obtain a very lightweight, yet rigid structure. The carbon-fibre is cured in the same autoclaves used for the F1 chassis in two phases between 130°and 150° C using vacuum bags to remove any voids in the laminate.
The design is striking and innovative, yet its sleek profile remains true to Ferrari’s classic mid-rear longitudinal V12 sports car archetype: the cabin and engine compartment volumes are contained within the wheelbase to achieve the best possible balance of its masses.
Impressively, despite the addition of the KERS system, its batteries and numerous electronic components, the engineers have succeeded in ensuring that LaFerrari’s dimensions are no larger than those of the Enzo. In fact, the engineering constraints involved in packaging the two powertrains have actually resulted in a better balance between the car’s front and rear overhangs.
Seen from the side the car has a sharp, downward-sloping nose and a very low bonnet which emphasises its muscular wheelarches. The result is strongly reminiscent of the gloriously exuberant forms of late-1960s Ferrari sports prototypes, such as the 330 P4 and the 312P. The ratio of the front and wheelarch dimensions are also very much in line with Ferrari tradition.
The LaFerrari’s body has been given a sculptural treatment heavily influenced by its aerodynamics. Its elegantly sculpted forms lend a sense of huge power and aggression to the wheelarches, with surfaces flowing fluidly rearwards over the cockpit and beautifully resolved forms that give shape to the volumes themselves.
This fluid surface treatment provides both the exceptional drag and downforce characteristics required by the aerodynamicists, as well as very efficiently channelling air to the components requiring cooling. The car’s front section incorporates a lower front wing that appears suspended on a single central strut beneath the nose, a clearly F1-inspired choice.
Nowhere is the car’s extreme, sporty character more evident than in its tail section where its muscular power is uncompromisingly revealed. Here two deep grooves emerge from the interplay of surfaces over the imposing wheelarches. These efficiently channel hot air from the engine bay and in doing so contribute to boosting downforce at the rear of the car. The engine compartment ends in a full-width nolder beneath which is concealed an unprecedented active aerodynamic device.
Sitting on a central strut, which is stylistically reminiscent of the front one and which also serves to shield the KERS, is a large adjustable spoiler which deploys automatically and does not impinge upon the sleek design of the tail.
The lower section of the tail features bare carbon-fibre and is dominated by deep apertures and a generous diffuser equipped with movable flaps that adjust when the motorised spoiler is deployed.
The LaFerrari's overall silhouette and proportions are the very natural product of its architecture and the layout of its hybrid running gear.