Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ferrari Service San Francisco - Pagani Huayra vs Ferrari F12 on the Track - San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael

 Pagani Huayra vs Ferrari F12 on the Track

Two of the most desirable cars on the road lock horns at the Autodromo di Modena, just down the road from where they're each made.
German publication Sport Auto's test driver Chritian Gebhardt recently had the pleasure of driving both the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and Pagani Huayra on the track, giving us a chance to see both Top Gear's top supercar and hypercar of 2012 side by side for the first time. There's over a million dollars separating these Italian-built supercars, thanks largely toPagani's liberal use of carbon fiber and titanium, yet they share similar levels of performance, and equally beautiful, if not very different, body styles.
The Huayra runs an AMG-built 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine, good for 700 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque that translates to a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 230 mph. While Ferrari's flagship is powered by a naturally-aspirated 6.3-liter V12 with 729 hp and 509 lb-ft of torque, it manages 0-60 in 3.1 secs and can reach 211 mph flat out.

 Pagani Huayra vs Ferrari F12 on the Track

by Adam Lynton

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ferrari Sales and Service San Francisco - Classic Supercar Matchup: Countach vs. Ferrari 512 BB - San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael

Classic Supercar Matchup: Countach vs. Ferrari 512 BB

Two classic V12 supercars from our favorite Italian brands are put to the test to see which is better.
We so often see duels between today's most expensive and powerful supercars. While that's all fine and good, there are also many great supercars from the past that are still proudly driven by their owners today. The Lamborghini Countach, which first launched in 1974, remains one of the most adored supercars ever. With its mid-mounted V12, it served as Lambo's flagship for 16 years. The Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer (predecessor to the Testarossa) also had a V12 mid-mounted.
So are both of these classic supercars the ideal matchup? Although these two great Italians are eight years apart in age, the Countach and BB models came to market at roughly the same time. For classic supercar fans, this is definitely one cool comparison.

 Classic Supercar Matchup: Countach vs. Ferrari 512 BB


by Jay Traugott

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ferrari Service and Sales Bay Area - Inside Ferrari’s private stable for the super wealthy - San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael

f1 clienti - Inside Ferrari's private stable for the super wealthy

Inside Ferrari’s private stable for the super wealthy

If you weren't aware, Ferrari offers the filthy rich several ways to trade said riches for the privilege of flogging Ferrari racecars on tracks around the world. Check out the scene inside the company's il Reparto Corse Clienti, where private clients' cars get the prancing horse treatment.
Among Ferrari's non-competitive owner programs, the "F1 Clienti" program is like the ├╝ber-platinum club. The world's bigwigs like Benjamin de Rothschild can buy an F1 car of any era since 1970 (new cars go on sale after a two-season moratorium), then pay Ferrari for a full support crew and transportation to eight driving events throughout the year, held around the world — on tracks like the N├╝rburgring, Fuji, Circuit Paul Ricard and Mugello.
The cars' starting prices are in seven figures, and the running costs are astronomical by regular-Joe standards, extending well into private aircraft range. For the money, driver/owners get the VIP treatment from a full crew of mechanics and handlers, just like a pro driver would.
The Reparto Corse Clienti not only houses clients' F1 cars, it's also the nerve center for everything needed to keep them running, from countless versions of long-since-outdated software, to all the specs needed to rebuild any part of any of the company's F1 cars — at least the ones built since Jacky Ickx returned to the team during the first Nixon administration.
Rothchild, for example, keeps two cars, one of Felipe Massa's 248 F1s from 2006 and one of Rubens Barrichello's F2003-GAs; Californian Tony Nobles — one of the program's first clients — drives one of Michael Schumacher's F2001s from 2002, while global amusement park mogul Giancarlo Casoli fields one of Niki Lauda's 312Ts from the mid-1970s.
Not all F1 Corse Clienti clients house their cars at Maranello. As points out, the oldest spied in these shots is the F310 from 1996, and most recent is Kimi Raikkonen's F2008.
Lower down on the Corse Clienti spectrum are the FXX and 599FXX programs. It's been said that FXX owners pay around $2 million for the Enzo-based racecar, which is maintained at Reparo Corse Clienti, and related services. Owners also agree to participate in Ferrari's R&D program, where they essentially act as test drivers, providing feedback to engineers.
In 2010, Ferrari added a GT-car element to its private-client program, with the 599FXX. The invite-only program reportedly cost clients a similar $2 million, although the actually dollar figures are held as tightly as state secrets.
With Ferrari opening the doors to its workshop for a recent visit from journalists, we can only assume that the company is preparing for its next phase of Corse Clienti programs — i.e., the FXX replacement. For a hint at what's next for the company's well-heeled clients, we'll have to wait until the next Ferrari supercar, which is at least a year away.
by Mike Spinelli
(Thanks to for permission to republish the photo)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ferrari Service and Sales San Franicsco - Five of the original 36 Ferrari 250 GTOs in the Ferrari Classiche department - San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael

Five of the original 36 Ferrari 250 GTOs in the Ferrari Classiche department

Recent trends in classic car prices have brought an increase in interest for classic Ferraris which, in turn, is providing an upsurge in requests for certifications and restoration projects for Ferrari’s in-house specialist department, Ferrari Classiche.

Currently in the factory’s workshop are no fewer than five of the 36 250 GTOs built between 1962 and 1964, a model which has attained record prices at private treaty sales. They are just some of the 24 historically significant and valuable classic Ferraris cars now gathered under one roof in the recently renovated Classiche department. long with the 250 GTOs are two 250 Testa Rossas, including the 1957 car that Phil Hill drove to victory at the 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as three of just 32 250 LMs produced. Other significant cars include three short wheelbase 250 GT Berlinettas, a 1956 500 TR, and the 512 M that came 4th overall at the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans.

To date the Classiche department has completed over 60 full, ground-up restorations - several of which have gone on to considerable success in international Concours d’Elegance - and processed over 3800 authentication certification applications. In addition, thanks to the department’s exclusive access to the company’s original technical designs and moulds, Classiche has cast numerous new engine parts, including 25 new V12 cylinder blocks and a similar number of cylinder heads, to help restore cars to original specifications.

Thanks to the services offered by Ferrari Classiche, today Ferrari collectors have access to the most authoritative restoration expertise to return their cars to original factory condition.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ferrari Service San Francisco - How to make an F1 car - Part 3 - San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael

Red Bull engineers work on their car

So far in our series about how a Formula 1 car goes from conception to race track, we have covered the basic concept and the building of the fundamental mechanical parts. This time, we'll look at performance.
In any given season, a team will know how its current car works. Or at least it should do.
Lap time is largely determined by cornering speed - the faster a car can go around corners, the faster it will be over the lap. And its cornering speed is determined by the aerodynamic behaviour of the car when it is mid-corner.
So the team will know the aerodynamic characteristics of the car with steering lock. And what they know about the current year's car and how it behaves on the track will dictate the philosophy for the next one.
You always want more downforce and less drag - that never changes. This is what F1 teams are referring to if you hear them talking about "L over D". They mean lift - or negative lift, ie downforce - compared to drag. You want your L/D figure to be as high as possible.
But you can't just take that at the expense of everything else. The car must function within that, too.
The driveability of the car is very important, and there is often a compromise between total downforce and driveability, because a higher total downforce figure can make the car more sensitive to attitude changes, and that makes it much more difficult to drive.
How the car performs transiently - as it pitches, rolls and yaws during braking, cornering and acceleration - is very important to the overall package.
So it's a constant compromise between giving the car more performance and ensuring that the driveability remains good.
The car's aerodynamic performance is heavily influenced by the way the centre of pressure - the virtual point on the car where the aerodynamic forces react, and which thus determines car behaviour - moves during braking and cornering.
It will shift backwards and forwards a bit as the driver puts more steering lock on the car. Say it moves forwards 1% with every five degrees of steering angle but the car is still lacking a bit of front-end grip; you might decide it would be better if it moved forward 1.5%. So that would be the objective the designer is working with.
It would be the same with all aspects of the car - if the way the airflow in the diffuser separates depending on ride-height has always been a little bit of a problem, for example, then you will try to make it better, and so on.
All the characteristics a team wants to improve will be written on to a specification sheet to give the aerodynamicists the parameters with which the technical director wants to move the car forward.
The spec sheet will cover everything on the car - from aerodynamic performance to the strength of the suspension and other parts. That is the basis from which the car will be designed.
Take for instance the incident Sebastian Vettel had on the first lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix. He collided with another car and yet was able to continue and clinch the world championship.
All the impacts on that suspension in that accident will have been measured by Red Bull. It would be very easy to have a suspension system that can cope with the performance of the car but that would have failed in that impact, in which case Vettel wouldn't have won the world championship.
So Red Bull have built suspension that can cope with loads beyond those in normal working conditions, and that ultimately has won them the world title.
Likewise, the incident when Nico Hulkenberg's Force India crashed into Lewis Hamilton's McLaren when the German was trying to take the lead was a pretty big impact. It broke the McLaren but not the Force India.
So McLaren might want to look at that and say, 'Yes, OK, it was an accident, but the bloke in the other car - from a team half the size of ours - carried on.'
So you have to look at that and get the compromises right, because adding strength to any component adds weight and that loses performance. It's a question of the right balance.
The people who put the spec sheet together will already have a vision of what the car is going to be like when it appears.
But achieving those goals is never easy, and if it is easy then the spec sheet was not demanding enough.

Tunnel vision

The car's aerodynamics will define the ultimate performance of the car, and when they are designing a new car, teams work to targets set on the basis of how the previous car performed.
As the season progresses, certain complaints by the drivers will come up over and over again. It might be that the front tyre does not bite enough on initial turn-in, or that there is too much understeer once there is steering lock on the car, or the rear's snappy.
The designers will be trying to establish why that could happen and what the solution might be to fix it.
Take last year's Ferrari - the rear of the car was nervous during braking at the end of a long straight because the airflow was not re-attaching to the diffuser quickly enough. They will probably be putting more emphasis into the ride-height at which the diffuser airflow re-attaches for their new car.
So teams are trying to increase the performance of the car by improving the L/D but at the same time improving those handling characteristics that restricted its performance.
It is in this compromise that the bigger teams do better than the smaller teams when they are designing the car in the wind tunnels and on computational fluid dynamics programmes (CFD) - they have more manpower to try to get those solutions sorted out.
However, putting together the correct concept is like arriving at a roundabout not knowing which exit to take.
The big teams can go down all the avenues and by doing that they will find the right solution and reach their destination. A small team is forced to pick one. If they pick the right one, they can still do the job. But if they choose the wrong one, it could cost them heavily.
What the engineers are doing when they design a car is trying out as many combinations as possible for a given part of the car to try to get the best result.
A simple component such as the turning vanes we see under the front of the chassis will have had around 50 variations before they gets signed off for production. Teams also have to take into account how that part is going to affect the behaviour of the airflow over the rest of the car.
To simulate all the different designs in CFD with the car at all the different ride heights and steering angles and understand them is very difficult. To do it in a wind tunnel is also a huge task but at least it is in a much more realistic environment.
The way the wind tunnel models are set up now you can do it in one run.
The model will go through a ride-height sequence, as well as a roll and yaw and steering sequence. That's how sophisticated the new 50% or 60% wind tunnels the teams are using have become.
The wind tunnel is just a tool used to help create a coherent aerodynamic package. It is important to keep working within the procedures that allow you to understand the components tested.
In the high intensity of battle it's very easy to just focus on the L/D figures and forget about steering lock and roll and yaw and so on because it will take less time. But if you do that, you are going to end up biting yourself in the butt pretty quickly.
by Gary Anderson
BBC F1 Technical Analyst

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ferrari Sales and Service Bay Area - Road Test - Ferrari Enzo - San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael

While any car carrying the Ferrari badge is inspirational to enthusiasts, there are certain models that seem even more infused with the magic that has made this the most desirable sports car brand on the planet.
These particular models achieve instant cult status through a combination of looks, performance and rarity, and if they are genuinely exceptional cars, their provenance will only be reinforced as time goes by. However, just the fact that a particular Ferrari model is the most expensive or limited in production numbers does not always guarantee it a place at the top table.
While the F40 was king of the hill in the early ‘90s, and to this day is the stuff of legends, the F50 that succeeded it received a relatively lukewarm reception and has never been seen in the same light. Conversely, the Enzo was the Ferrari of the moment from day one and is still considered one of the seminal supercars of all time.
Officially, Ferrari built 399 Enzos, a tribute to the F399 Formula One racer that swept the board in 1999, winning the Constructors title for Ferrari.

A 400th car was built as a gift to the late Pope John Paul II, and subsequently auctioned by Sotheby’s on behalf of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. The proceeds of US$1.1 million were donated to the victims of the Tsunami that year.
Unlike the mighty F40, whose values took a tumble in the early part of the 21st Century, before recovering on the back of Ferrari’s relentless F1 winning streak, the value of the Enzo has been consistently creeping upwards, and any perfect example is now a million dollar car.
However, it is a fact of life that very powerful supercars often fall into the hands of clientele whose driving skills fall short of the cars abilities, and sadly around 15 Enzos have been crashed. Of course the cynical will say that this has increased the value of the survivors!
Many Enzos are in private collections and are hardly, if ever driven. Thankfully, not all wealthy collectors see cars as objects ‘d art to be salted away, and some owners actually take their four-wheeled treasures out for an airing, so that both they and onlookers can enjoy them.
Some supercars promise more than they deliver, but the Enzo, designed by Ken Okuyama under the aegis of Pininfarina, drives exactly as it looks, and absolutely as you would expect it to.
If you have driven an F430, its older, bigger brother is not that much different in the way things work. That said, the functions of the later F430’s steering wheel mounted ‘manettino’ switch that allow you to select Road, ASR off and Race, are looked after by three separate buttons on the wheel of the Enzo.
The paddle shifters and the separate Start button are similar, except that the Enzo’s big red button is on the centre console rather than the steering wheel. The one feature that the Enzo has over the F430 is height adjustable front suspension for clearing steep ramps.
Strapped in, seat and mirrors adjusted, you turn the key in the ignition. A pull on both paddles ensures we are in Neutral, and then you push the red button. The 5,998cc litre DOHC V12 bursts into life with a bark from its exhaust that could probably be heard a mile away on a still night out in open country.
The electronic management ensures that the motor settles down immediately, but even this significantly subdued mechanical concerto echoes down the street, its sound components at fast idle not far off what you would hear in the pits at a race meeting. Stealth is not part of the Enzo’s repertoire at any speed!
Pull the right paddle towards me to select first gear, drop the fly-off handbrake to the left of the seat and apply gentle pressure to the throttle. The Enzo moves off smoothly, the immense torque of its V12 just off idle easily neutralising its mass.
Rated at 651bhp at a screaming 7,800rpm, 400rpm short of its cut-out, the race inspired motor has a mighty 657Nm of torque at 5,500rpm. With just 1,365kg to haul, this mega-motor will catapult the Enzo to 100km/h in 3.14sec, to 160km/h in 6.6 sec and on to around 350km/h.
As the oil and water need to warm through, you make an upshift at 3,500rpm, taking the time to feel how the car moves down the road. The paddle shift arrangement suits the driver fine and is a far cry from the recalcitrant dogleg manual gearbox in my Daytona, which effectively denies you selection of second gear when cold.
Even limbering up, the Enzo more than hints at what is to come. Its power-assisted steering is light to medium weight, but so full of feedback that you could imagine grading the size of the stones on the road blindfolded. Despite its obvious physical width, the carbon-fibre construction and resultant modest kerb weight means that the Enzo feels light and responsive even at town speeds.
This relatively low mass, coupled to the big, torquey, normally-aspirated motor is a recipe for hair-trigger acceleration, and once things are warmed up, the experience is both mind blowing and addictive.
Press the throttle progressively, and the Enzo surges forward with an instant and incredibly rabid urgency. Even with the electronics in Road mode, upshifts are fast, and the acceleration relentless.
Lifting the throttle slightly to anticipate the next ratio, is a good technique to use in all cars with clutchless manual gearboxes, allows fairly seamless upshifts. In Race mode though, the upshift speed makes smoothness hard to achieve, and when you are blatting round racetrack, is of less consequence anyway. On downshifts, the electronics blip the throttle for you, making you sound like a hero to bystanders.
The complex soundtrack from behind your head is simply amazing, a rhapsody of intake, exhaust and sheer mechanical activity that changes pitch and intensity with engine speed. But when you are concentrating hard on an unfamiliar road, the flurry of other inputs can overwhelm your senses to the point where even this heroic soundtrack recedes into the background.
With any powerful rear-drive car, warming the tyres properly before applying a lot of throttle is a given. The massive torque and quick throttle response of cars like the Enzo and Carrera GT make it very easy to unhinge the rear on cold tyres.
From experience, you should expect this, and a quick flick of the wrist as the wide, red tail moves out of line halfway through a spirited application of power in second gear instantly stops the slide. But it would be all too easy for someone caught unawares to lose the car, even at modest speeds. The handful of Enzos crashed, even at not too far above legal urban speeds is a testament to this.
Once the rubber is properly warmed, mechanical grip is impressive, but you really do have to be aware of the road surface and not over-drive the car into bends. The rear-biased weight distribution means that big understeer is waiting to catch out anyone who enters a tight turn carrying too much speed.
Power oversteer is there for the asking on the way out, but while this is huge fun on a race track, it is not advisable on public roads. Apart from anything else, the Enzo is very wide, and touching a kerb or any other solid object would be disastrous.
It may look brutal, but the Enzo is far from a blunt instrument. A sensitive and communicative partner that you need to feel your way with, it responds best to gentle inputs and clearly dislikes being prodded. This is a car that talks to you all the time, but when it begins to raise its voice, you need to listen.
Drive smoothly and progressively and it will tell you through its steering and the seat of your pants when you are approaching the limit, and therefore how much power the available grip can cope with. Get that bit clear and the rewards are both immense and on several levels. But you need to take your time to learn it.
The good thing is that instant gratification is there at all speeds, and as you get to know the car better, you will uncover more layers of its personality. There is little chance of anyone getting bored with Enzo ownership, even over time.
The last Enzo left the factory in Modena in 2004, but the adulation has not stopped. If anything, it has risen to deafening levels. I am happy to add my own voice to the chorus.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ferrari Service and Sales San Francisco - How to make an F1 car - Part 2 - San Francisco Motor Sports San Rafael

How to make an F1 car - Part 2

Mclaren mechanics carry the chassis of the  McLaren Mercedes MP4-26

In the first of our three-part series on how a Formula 1 car comes to life, we looked at the initial conceptual design stage. This time, we look at building the basic structure of the car.
Once a team has laid out the design of the fundamental mechanical parts of the car, two things need to happen - one, the design office need to devise the most aerodynamically advantageous bodywork for it; and the car needs to be built.
We'll look at aerodynamic design in the next part of this series; for now, let's concentrate on how the car is built.
The chassis - or monocoque - has several crucial functions. It is the survival cell for the driver in the event of an accident; it is what the engine, suspension and bodywork is mounted on; it houses the fuel tank and other hardware for the car.
Monocoques are immensely complicated things. Things like the suspension mounts, nose fixings, engine mounts and so on take a tremendous amount of time to get right.
The chassis is basically an outer carbon-fibre skin forming the surface detail on top of aluminium honeycomb - which will vary between six and 15mm in thickness - and then a second carbon skin inside that.
Where there are suspension or engine loads, the honeycomb will be replaced with a solid machined insert. That is then all bonded together in an autoclave - a hot, high-pressure oven.
It also has to pass a series of crash tests before it is allowed to race. So a tremendous amount of effort goes into it from a stress analysis point of view, for the sake of safety, and for functionality. And the two can sometimes compromise each other a little, because you want the lightest weight for the highest torsional stiffness value of the chassis.
It's difficult to give a figure for the weight of a chassis, as they are built differently. Some teams have the roll-over bar as part of the structure; others bond it on afterwards, for example. But a ballpark figure would be about 50kg, which is incredibly light for what it does.
By the start of the year, a team needs to have three chassis ready. One for the crash tests, which take quite a lot of time, one for building up a car and a third underway.
You don't want to be short because you never know when you're going to have a problem - last year, for example, Lotus had to curtail their testing when it became apparent that the front suspension mounts were moving in the chassis.

Testing time

The crash tests - or impact tests to give them their proper title - are an important part of ensuring F1 is as safe as it has become.
There are three main tests that destroy things: nose impact; roll-over bar; and side-impact. There are quite a lot more tests - around 10 in total - but they are non-destructive squeeze tests, where you're allowed a maximum deflection for a certain load, to ensure the chassis is strong enough to withstand it. Each chassis has to pass all the tests.
In the nose-impact test, the car is fired into a concrete wall at a certain speed. There is a maximum permitted G-force level in terms of deceleration and the damage to the crushable structure must stop before it gets to the survival cell. You could use two or three noses getting that done.
The nose has quite a lot of aerodynamic influence and you have to commit to that component fairly early. You have to get a version ready for the crash test but at that point in time you might not have optimised your front-wing aerodynamic package.
The rear end of a McLaren car
It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. You have to do it for the crash test but you might have to change it later on - and do another crash test, because each new design needs to pass.
The roll-over bar test is incredibly spectacular to watch. It would frighten anyone. The force put on the roll-over bar is approximately 12.5 tonnes.
Some of the structure will deform, but if it deforms more than it is allowed to - which is 50mm, or there are any marks more than 100mm away from where you're applying the force - then you fail.
It's a tough test but then so it should be - it's about protecting the driver's head.
The side-impact test is there to ensure the car protects the driver if he hits anything side on, and teams pass it by attaching four tubes that stick out from the chassis. To protect the driver further, particularly in the case of being hit by the nose of another car, a panel is bonded on to the side of the chassis, sort of like a blast panel.
That was introduced after the IndyCar accident in which Alex Zanardilost his legs in 2001. I was working in IndyCar at the time and we came up with that panel for additional side-impact protection. F1 adopted it shortly afterwards.
These crash tests apply to the fundamental parts of the car and that is what was going on at the teams leading into the Christmas period and then January.
That's the thing about F1. There is no Christmas. There is no winter off. People obviously have to have holidays, but work goes on year-round.
Take Red Bull as an example. That's a 600-strong team and about 150 or so of them are directly involved in the design of the car.
They're probably the biggest team but the percentages of the total workforce involved in the design and engineering of the car are the same up and down the grid.
And those people work flat-out all the time. You're always trying to make the car better.