Don't go reaching for the check book just yet, as Ferrari’s new FXX K (for KERS) is unlikely to be sold, nor will it race in sanctioned competition, as it has been built based on the LaFerrari supercar but completely unfettered by homologation and racing regulations. The FXX K will break cover this coming weekend as part of the 2014 Finali Mondiali Ferrari, a four day racetrack celebration of everything Ferrari.
This year will see the Finali Mondiali Ferrari event held outside Europe for the first time, at Ferrari World theme park which is part of the spectacular Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi and the FXX K will be shown to the world for the first time on the final day of the event.
The FXX K is part of a new research and development program similar to the 599XX and FXX programs which essentially involve laboratory cars designed specifically for the track and reserved for a select group of exclusive Ferrari clients.
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The four day Finali Mondiali Ferrari will also see 19 599XXs on track, driven by Ferrari enthusiasts from all over the world, including former Scuderia Ferrari driver René Arnoux. There will also be four FXXs driven by Germans Bernhard Dransmann and Eberhard Jung, Australian Steve Wyatt and Canadian Eric Cheung.
The new FXX K is based on Ferrari’s first hybrid model, the LaFerrari (pictured below) and the program will roll out from next year onwards. The K in its moniker is a reference to the “KERS” kinetic energy recovery system it uses to replenish the batteries which in turn supply the 187 hp electric motor (up from 161 hp in the LaFerrari).
In addition to the electric horsepower increase over the base car, the FXX K uses the same conventional (well, sort of) 6262 cc V12 engine which has been tweaked to produce 848 horsepower, up from LaFerrari's 789 hp.
The FXX K has been developed according to Ferrari, to to be "completely uncompromising, incorporating technological innovations that will guarantee an unprecedented driving experience to the exclusive group of Client-Test Drivers with whom the Prancing Horse will roll out a test program over the next two years."
The car’s potential to provide that unprecedented experience is pretty obvious given that it produces a maximum torque figure in excess of 900 Nm.
The 6262 cc V12 may be from the LaFerrari, but it's been altered in a number of areas, including new camshafts and a modified valve train which features mechanical rather than LaFerrari's hydraulic tappets.
The LaFerrari intake manifolds have been redesigned and now have a special polishing treatment internally for better flow, while the exhaust system has also been modified as it no longer needs any restrictive mufflers to make it civilized enough for road usage.
The HY-KERS (electric hybrid) system has been optimized for pure performance with the driver able to swap between four settings: Qualify, for maximum performance within a limited number of laps; Long Run to optimize performance consistency; Manual Boost for instant maximum torque delivery; and Fast Charge, for a fast recharge of the car’s battery.
A focus on delivering maximum efficiency at every stage of every track lap has resulted in extensive but integrated work on the entire car body in terms of both active and passive aerodynamics, as can be seen clearly from the visual differences between the road and track car.
The front of the car is dominated by a twin-profile spoiler and a larger splitter, which is 30 mm lower, with a gap in its center. This design is an application of the concepts developed to improve aero balance in the GT category of the WEC, which Ferrari has won for three consecutive years.
Two pairs of vertical elements, an endplate and, externally, a dive plane, together with vertical fins channel the air towards the car’s flanks, generating a longitudinal vortex that creates a localized depression. This in turn sucks the wake from the wheels to the outside of the aerodynamic underbody. Along with the side skirts that extend out from the sills, the vortex helps isolate the airflow from the underbody to boost its efficiency.
The aerodynamic changes on the rear of the car include a higher tail section with the mobile spoiler extending 60mm further when fully deployed. A vertical fin and a small wing each side of the tail act as guide vanes in the low drag configuration and boost the spoiler’s efficiency in the high downforce one.
This system also creates considerable downforce at the rear of the car, allowing the use of an extreme diffusion volume for the rear diffuser which optimizes air extraction from the underbody. The section of the flat underbody just ahead of the rear wheels is also exploited to the full to generate downforce thanks to the reduced pressure in the wheel arch guaranteed by the direct connection to the rear of the car by a by-pass duct.
The result is a 50 percent improvement in downforce in the low drag configuration and a 30 percent improvement in the more aggressive downforce configuration, resulting in a figure of 540 kg at 200 km/h.
Vehicle dynamics are further improved by the adoption of Pirelli slicks complete with sensors that monitor longitudinal, lateral and radial acceleration, as well as temperature and pressure. This ensures an accurate analysis of the interaction between the tyre and track surface, providing even more vital data to enable the traction control system to guarantee maximum performance.
The intervention level of the E-Diff electronic differential, F1-Trac traction control, Racing SSC (Side Slip Angle Control) – now specially calibrated to suit the car’s slick tyres – and the high-performance ABS can be controlled using the five-position Manettino on the steering wheel.
Participating in the Finali Mondiali is a privilege afforded to Ferrari's most valued clientele,
In all, 15 client F1 single-seaters covering a 30-year timespan are expected at Yas Marina.
TK Mak will be at the wheel of a splendid 1980 312 T5 raced by Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter, while Jingzu Sun is taking out the F10 in which Fernando Alonso fought for the 2010 title until the last race.
The spectators in the grandstands will be treated the unique sound of the Maranello F1 V12 engine too, thanks to Peter Greenfield, who is fielding Gerhard Berger’s 412 T2. This was the last Formula 1 car to sport the historic power unit which was banned the following season just as Michael Schumacher joined Ferrari. There will be many of the latter’s cars there too – the ones he build his legendary career in from the early 90s onwards, flanked by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. Also on the track will be two F2007s, the single-seater in which Räikkönen won the Drivers’ title, and two F2008s, the car that gave the Scuderia its 16th Constructors’ win.