Journal: LaFerrari Has Evolved Again, But Is This Progress For The Idea Of Supercars?

LaFerrari Has Evolved Again, But Is This Progress For The Idea Of Supercars?

By Alex Sobran
October 30, 2017
10 comments

On one hand, the paradigm shift of late that’s seen the insanity-spec supercars like the previous top dog (top horse?) Ferrari FXX-K and McLaren’s P1 GTR become track-only playthings is a welcome salve for the trajectory supercar ownership has taken in the last few decades, as the ideal use for these physics-bending machines does not include a life spent in first gear traffic jams or being ferried between parking spaces in front of Harrod’s and parking garages in Dubai.

Even though it may seem silly that the manufacturers of this new breed of performance-over-everything supercars are reluctant or plain unwilling to let the limited population of owners actually take their cars home with them, it does signal something important and potentially good: that these companies are still keeping the driving experience, a pure focus on performance, at the forefront. Now sure, you can be cynical and say that in order to move inventory to the Sheikhs and fund managers of the world Ferrari et al have to first provide the stat sheets that confer the kind of clout these clients seek. That doesn’t hold in the case of Ferrari’s new FXX-K EVO though, as to show it off you’d need to bring the crowd to the circuit with you, and it’s much easier to simply drive something street legal, like the original LaFerrari.

Before getting into the other side of debate though, this car deserves some space to share its merits. Ferrari’d given LaFerrari a track-only treatment already in the form of 2015 FXX-K, an extremely potent 1,000+ horsepower car, and one that’s bested in just about every measure by the latest, the EVO. A few people will be able to buy one brand-new, and Ferrari will also be converting a few customers’ FXX-Ks as well. I suppose if you’ve already bought something like the K you may as well want to upgrade it in step with Ferrari’s updates.

The EVO produces a downforce coefficient that’s 23% improved over the FXX-K, 75% better than the base LaFerrari. “Base LaFerrari.” That’s a funny notion that could only be brought into the lexicon by something as extreme as this car. It looks like something that was drawn to the extremes and then skipped every stage where it could be toned down. Thanks to carbon fiber forming processes gleaned from their F1 techniques the car is lighter than its predecessor, and those material improvements in its downforce come thanks to a host of pieces in the new aero kit, including underbelly vortex generators and the massive new fixed wing that’s supplemented by the active bits of aero in the front and rear. Also worth noting is the central stabilizer fin that seems to be the next must-have feature of any car contending the top plane of performance. In the case of the EVO, all this works to produce staggering levels of earthward pressure, with more than 1,400 pounds of downforce generated at 124mph, and more than 1,800 when it reaches V-max. However jarring and aggressive its appearance may be, it is at least backed up with performance on an equally dramatic level.

But this begs the question: is this car part of a new wave of modern supercars that are bringing the focus back to performance, or are we remembering the past with too much generosity? It’s not like Miuras went racing after all, and the wake of cars that followed it were used for status symbols just as the Veyrons of today are. Perhaps it’s the romanticism of the supercar in its fledgling forms, the nostalgic fun we find in the growing pains of these machines that gave us things like Koenig Specials and Zender Fact 4s. Hasn’t the supercar always been something inherently wrong? A car for the street that doesn’t really belong on it in the first place? If that is the case, then one can argue that the FXX-K EVO is actually getting away from the original ideals rather than any kind of return to form. What do you think?

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Dan Sorensen
Dan Sorensen
3 years ago

not sure how many people remember a cartoon called speed racer from the 70s but this car looks almost exactly like speed racers car.

Ciaran O\'Duffy
Ciaran O\'Duffy
5 years ago

I think the The idea behind these so called “Hyper cars” is to showcase what the manafacturer is capable of, not dissimilar to “Haute Coture” in the fashion industry. Simultaneously, the manafacturer has the Benifit of the Research and development as a result of pushing the engineering envelope beyond what is nessesary for just road use, instead the hyper cars are the engineers version of “Blue Sky” imigineering. Is it a cynical marketing excercise? I don’t think so , I think it is a symbiosis of the two . So we get to marvel at the stats and enjoy the results, even though only the “1% ” realy get to experience them. As an enthusiast I’m always excited to see what’s comming next.

ted leithart
ted leithart
5 years ago

I have been much more excited about rally cars for decades!

While not as sexy, Stirling Moss’ 300 on everyday Italian roads is a superior motorcar than anything pumped out from Ferrari or Lamborghini or McLaren or others. Because it can hit a pothole or a haybale and continue to thrill and charm not only the driver, but the fans as well.

Todays supercars excite one entity – the factory – due to the continuous repairing of carbon fiber and plastic.

heydenreich
heydenreich
5 years ago

True – these machines have evolved into something which is basically useless, unless for investment purposes for the superrich. LaFerrari in itself is an absolutely stunning piece of machinery, to me, going ‘extremissimo’ doesn’t really make any sense in the real world. Personally I rather enjoy going fast in a slow car, than going slow in a fast car.

IanP
IanP
5 years ago

Its not really possible for a modern manufacturer to produce a ‘hyper’ car without accepting full responsibility for the consequences of its huge power and speed capability without designing electronic aids and downforce to try and compensate for the inexperience of the amateur driver. The last of the Porsche Carrera analogue supercars represented the very limit of an unaided driving experience, but even that landed Porsche in court in the USA when drivers were killed in accidents. I dont know the outcome of any of those cases but clearly having the name ‘widow maker’ attached to one of your vehicles is no longer a symbol of excellence! Even the much vaunted McLaren F1 was very tricky on the limit and publicity over accidents could not have been helpful to them.

It is an obvious statement to make that perhaps less is more, but difficult to sustain in the fashion conscious world of the very rich. Beauty has never sustained supercar design because the next big thing is what everyone wants and constant change was the only way to proceed. Lamborghini showed the first Contach at a show way before it was ready to produce them, which had a negative impact on their sales because that was the next big thing, even though with hindsight I personally would prefer the Muira.

What Ferrari has done is ingenious because they have found a way of developing the La Ferrari without having to completely design a new car, placing it in the only place where you could possibly use the performance on the race track.

In a funny sort of way the development of the industry in general mirrors that of the jet fighter industry. The F16 design is thirty odd years old unyet it has been constantly updated and we no longer think of this old. The expense and diminishing returns has ensured that many years have passed until a new stealth technology was created.
McLaren seem to create a continuous flow of ‘new’ models such is the competition, and as for Porsche they are the masters of new old designs pushing the performance envelope ever upwards.

My feeling is that many of us here accept and welcome the flaws of beautiful old cars over the newer cars and also tailor our driving habits to suit the cars we drive. I prefer my nineties ‘old’ Lotus M100 because I love the look of the car and frankly am not a great fan of the Elise for the same reason, even though my car doesnt drive as well as the much lighter Elise, even on B roads. Its just how I am there is no rhyme or reason for my preference. The M100 has more understeer with its front wheel drive but still has that wicked Lotus turn in speed, I love it to bits moving and I especially love its styling. Would I like an original Elan, well yes of course, but at todays prices, no way and in any case I would still keep the M100.

Hat
Hat
5 years ago

This is a great topic of debate and something that I was thinking about quietly in the last few days since the Finali Mondiali.
I think that this new top expression of speed and raw power from Ferrari is just what the market and the noveau rich wants in this moment, she’s just a fast toy…even too fast and extreme.
You know what? I can’t find a soul in this car…and for me driving it’s all about nourish my soul.

Ken Clark
Ken Clark
5 years ago

Though I’ve only seen it in photos I actually think the original La Ferrari is a stunning machine (though it could do with cameras for mirrors instead of those massive stalks). It’s aggressive and elegant at the same time. This car on the other hand is just not pretty. Kind of like the original John Barnard designed 640 F1 cars verses the cars of today with winglets and appendages sticking out everywhere. Sure they serve a function, but destroy the looks of the car at the same time.

JB21
JB21
5 years ago

Jack B, Rafael Pereira, how did you guys got down voted for your comments? Anyway, about the car. I absolutely love the way it looks. It looks like a totally mad Japanimation robot war future. I don’t want it, particularly, but man, it looks cool.

Jack Brewer
Jack Brewer
5 years ago

Supercars serve a purpose, I suppose, but dollar for dollar I’d own something else. None of them will eclipse the immortal McLaren F1 in terms of pure driver appeal, and prices seem to support that notion.

Rafael Pereira
Rafael Pereira
5 years ago

I’ve always liked the idea that supercars were sports cars – born from the manufacter’s legacy in motor racing – but without the limitations and constraints of a daily driver.

As long as they keep experimenting with motorsports and bringing that to cars people can admire and enjoy, they’re still in the right track. The Mercedes One is a nice example, and so is this car.