Ferrari has effectively opened a second front in its war with McLaren, its deadliest racing rival, in revealing the £1 million replacement for its 10-year-old Enzo supercar, the exotically named LaFerrari.
Just one week ago the British company revealed the similarly potent and costly McLaren P1 hypercar, targeting exactly the same customers as the Ferrari.
The significance of the LaFerrari name, says Maranello, is that the new model is intended to be ‘the Ferrari’, a car that packs every traditional Ferrari virtue into an ultra-modern envelope.
The similarities between the P1 and LaFerrari - codenamed F150 - are many: both are petrol-electric hybrids with total outputs in excess of 900bhp. Both claim an intimate relationship with Formula 1 design, based on a carbonfibre ‘tub’ chassis, though in a surreptitious swipe at the advanced carbonfibre structure of its rival, Ferrari bosses say they “want to make the best car, not the best carbonfibre tub”.
Both cars aim squarely at the title of the ‘best driver’s car in the world’, but whereas the McLaren costs £866,000, Ferrari — which claims to already have buyers for most of its LaFerraris — is charging €1.3 million per copy in Europe, or £1,040,000.
In another major point of difference, the Ferrari has a normally aspirated 6.3-litre V12 engine (a developed version of its F12 unit), whereas the McLaren has a twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8.
The pair’s performance is closely matched, with 0-60mph times of around 3.0sec. However, Ferrari claims a 0-300km/h (186mph) time of 15.5sec, a cool 1.5sec faster than the “around 17.0sec” claimed for the McLaren. On the other hand, Ferrari fails to quote a top speed, “because it doesn’t matter”, whereas McLaren is quite specific about its car’s 218mph top end.
The cabin, believed to be more race-orientated than luxurious, has an F1-style steering wheel whose driving mode manettino offers five different driving modes instead of the usual four.
The car uses sophisticated aerodynamics that deploy automatically according to speed and attitude. There are moveable diffusers and a guide vane underneath the car, plus more moveable components on the rear wing. Ferrari’s aero experts say their brief was to deliver “the highest degree of aerodynamic efficiency ever achieved with any road car”, a claim likely to cause lively debate in Woking, where the P1 has been built to generate a maximum of eight times the downforce of the existing MP4-12C supercar.
Ferrari has announced a price and revealed that 499 cars will be built, but it has yet to announce a date for first deliveries, although autumn is tipped. This is a two-year programme, Maranello says, and while the majority of cars already have owners, some are still available.