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More images: Ferrari 599XX unwrapped

Invitation only: The Ferrari 599XX prototype will be sold, but only to Ferrari's close friends.

Ferrari reveals first detailed images of track-ready 599XX, but little else

30 Apr 2009

FERRARI has released new images of its fire-breathing 599XX prototype, but precious little else in the way of fresh information.

Call it a track-day special, a 599 Scuderia or, as Ferrari does, a ‘Laboratorio Technologico’ (technological laboratory), the 599XX first appeared at the Geneva motor show in March when a single image of the piping-hot 599 was issued.

Designed to be a rolling test bed for technology that will emerge in the next generation of Ferrari supercars for the road, the 599XX incorporates many of the advanced technologies resulting from Ferrari’s road-going and Formula One research.

While it was conceived exclusively for track, the 599XX is not designed for official competition use, meaning it is unrestricted by racing regulations and therefore combines many aerodynamic, electronic driver-aid and handling innovations together in the same car for the first time – many of which will remain exclusive to it.

As it did with the previous Enzo-based FXX, Ferrari will organise a program of dedicated racetrack events for the 599XX in 2010 and 2011. This time, however, it will be only offered to the most valued Ferrari customers, who will drive it exclusively at Ferrari-sanctioned sessions at the company’s Fiorano test track and other circuits in both Europe and US.

34 center imageThe 599XX will not have a recommended retail price – it will be sold direct to select Ferrari customers by the Maranello factory. Australians may buy the car, but only with a reference from Australian and New Zealand Ferrari distributor European Automotive Imports (EAI).

As the new images show, the 599XX takes the 599 GTB Fiorano coupe, on which it is based, to new levels. Key changes include reduced internal engine friction, faster gearbox operation, a new high-speed adjustable chassis, overall weight savings and aerodynamics that automatically adjust depending on whether the car is cornering or going in a straight line.

Naturally there is a set of lightweight racing wheels, token-gesture wing mirrors and a plethora of carbon-fibre extras, but the 599XX also adds a pair of unorthodox C-pillar mounted winglet and F1-derived metal “doughnuts” that partly cover the carbon-ceramic brakes and wheel rims, serving the dual function of improving aerodynamics and brake cooling.

The front underside of the body is completely faired-in, there is an all-new front splitter and fan-assisted rear diffuser, and the vents that channel hot air from the engine bay have been moved to the bonnet.

The Italian supercar-maker says the result, following a rigorous wind tunnel test program, is 280kg of downforce at 200km/h (and 630kg at 300km/h), proving that function can follow form.

As we’ve reported previously, the 599XX incorporates the same 5.9-litre V12 and rear transaxle drivetrain configuration as the 599, but extensive engine modifications are in line with the race-ready focus of the most extreme Ferrari model ever produced for the public.

Extensive work on the engine’s cylinder-heads, combustion chambers and inlet and exhaust tracts help achieve a target power output of no less than 700 brake horsepower (515kW) at 9000rpm.

Special attention was also paid to cutting engine weight, via a new crankshaft and intake plenums crafted from carbon-fibre, while a new gearbox shift strategy for the F1-derived semi-automatic manual transmission cuts overall gearchange times to just 60 milliseconds – which is outstanding given it is not a twin-clutch design.

The 599XX comes with slick tyres (29/67 R19 up front, 31/71 R19 at rear), wrapped around 19x11.0-inch wheels at the front and 19x12-inch wheels at the rear.

Ferrari says the 599XX is good for a Fiorano lap time of just 1:17.

The Geneva show also saw Ferrari reveal a so-called Handling GT Evoluzione Package for the 599 GTB Fiorano, Australian pricing for which has not been announced. The 599 HGTE will, however, be offered here within the next two months.

EAI is holding more than 200 orders for Ferrari’s new California convertible, with first deliveries expected in June – the same month Alfa Romeo’s all-new Punto-based sub-147 model, the MiTo, arrives here.

Ferrari was this week confirmed as the Fiat Group’s most profitable brand during the first quarter of 2009, with the Prancing Horse bucking the global financial crisis to post a trading profit of €54 million ($A98.6 million).

While it continues to struggle with the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) introduced for this year’s Formula One season, Kimi Raikkonen scored the Ferrari F1 team’s first three championship points last weekend by finishing sixth at the Bahrain GP.

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