Supercar Profile – Ferrari F40


Enzo Ferrari was a passionate man. He was passionate about his racing success, his brand and his road cars. However, that passion seemed to not be enough any more. In the 1980’s Ferrari’s dominance of the World market for exlusive sports cars was beginning to decline. Other brands were starting to take the plaudits. Companies like Porsche and Lamborghini, were no longer also rans, they were true contenders for Ferrari’s crown.

The Ferrari marque also was not dominating in the World of motorsport as it once had either and so, having realised that he was not getting any younger, he was already 90 years old by this time, he decided he needed to make a statement to the World that would forever leave a mark that demonstrated Ferrari’s engineering prowess. His idea was a simple one. Make a stunning, unforgettable car to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary. That car was the F40 and as Enzo Ferrari predicted it would be the last car he had a hand in.

The Ferrari F40 was a development of the Ferrari 288 GTO. That car in turn was a race car that just happened to be legal to drive on the road. The Ferrari F40 would be no exception. Taking advantage of developments in formula 1 technology, it was aimed squarely at Porsche’s 959 and Lamborghini’s Countach. Ferrari wanted that crown to remain firmly on his head.

The Ferrari F40 used a 2936cc engine that was an enlarged version of the engine from the 288 GTO. It was unusual for a Ferrari road car in that it was turbo-charged. The twin IHI turbo-chargers enabled the V8 to output 471bhp.

Although Ferrari wanted the car to be fast, they decided not to really simply on engine power to achieve a respectable top speed. Instead, they opted to optimise the F40’s aerodynamics. Airflow was smoothed over the body and under the floor allowing for a relatively slippery 0.34 drag co-efficient. Lift was counteracted by the spoilers and rear wing. The F40 was also quite a light car at only 1100kg. These and other factors enabled test drivers to achieve 0-62 mph times of only 3.8 seconds. Even the track version of the car could only shave off another half second. The F40 also only took 11 seconds to reach 120mph. This was significant in that it was sligtly quicker to this mark than the Porsche 959.

The F40 was introduced to the public in 1987 and it was the first road legal production car to be capable of 200mph. With this top speed the Ferrari F40 held the record as the World’s fastest production car until 1990 when it was overtaken by the Lamborghini Diablo.

The Ferrari F40 is still marvelled at today, both for its performance and its sheer beauty. Enzo Ferrari certainly achieved the desired outcome of the project. Arguably the best supercar the World has ever seen, it is the definitive Ferrari statement.