|More Information on the Ferrari F40|
The Ferrari F40 is a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-door coupé sports car built from 1987 to 1992 (up to 1994 for the LM and 1996 for the GTE). The successor to the Ferrari 288 GTO, it was designed to celebrate Ferrari's 40th anniversary and was the last Ferrari automobile personally approved by Enzo Ferrari. At the time it was the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car that Ferrari sold to the public.
The car debuted with a planned production total of 400 and a factory suggested retail price of approximately US$400,000 in 1987 ($830,000 today), although some buyers were reported to have paid as much as US$1.6 million in contrast to its 1999 value of £140,000. 1,311 F40s were manufactured in total.
As early as 1984, the Maranello factory had begun development of an evolution model of the 288 GTO intended to compete against the Porsche 959 in FIA Group B. However, when the FIA brought an end to the Group B category for the 1986 season, Enzo Ferrari was left with five 288 GTO Evoluzione development cars, and no series in which to campaign them. Enzo's desire to leave a legacy in his final supercar allowed the Evoluzione program to be further developed to produce a car exclusively for road use. A figure from the Ferrari marketing department was quoted as saying "We wanted it to be very fast, sporting in the extreme and Spartan," "Customers had been saying our cars were becoming too plush and comfortable." "The F40 is for the most enthusiastic of our owners who want nothing but sheer performance. It isn't a laboratory for the future, as the 959 is. It is not Star Wars. And it wasn't created because Porsche built the 959. It would have happened anyway."
Drivetrain and suspension
Power came from an enlarged, 2.9L (2936 cc) version of the GTO's twin IHI turbocharged V8 developing 478 bhp. The F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990 when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons. The flanking exhaust pipes guide exhaust gases from each bank of cylinders while the central pipe guides gases released from the wastegate of the turbochargers. Engines with catalytic converters bear F120D code.
The suspension setup was similar to the GTO's double wishbone setup, though many parts were upgraded and settings were changed; the unusually low ground clearance prompted Ferrari to include the ability to raise the vehicle's ground clearance when necessary.
Body and interior
The body was an entirely new design by Pininfarina featuring panels made of kevlar, carbon fiber, and aluminum for strength and low weight, and intense aerodynamic testing was employed. Weight was further minimized through the use of a plastic windshield and windows. The cars did have air conditioning, but had no sound system, door handles, glove box, leather trim, carpets, or door panels. The first 50 cars produced had sliding Lexan windows, while later cars were fitted with wind down windows.
The F40 was designed with aerodynamics in mind. For speed the car relied more on its shape than its power. Frontal area was reduced, and airflow greatly smoothed, but stability rather than terminal velocity was a primary concern. So too was cooling as the forced induction engine generated a great deal of heat. In consequence, the car was somewhat like an open-wheel racing car with a body. It had a partial undertray to smooth airflow beneath the radiator, front section, and the cabin, and a second one with diffusers behind the motor, but the engine bay was not sealed. Nonetheless, the F40 had an impressively low Cd of 0.34 with lift controlled by its spoilers and wing.
The factory never intended to race the F40, but the car saw competition as early as 1989 when it debuted in the Laguna Seca Raceway round of the IMSA, appearing in the GTO category, with a LM evolution model driven by Jean Alesi, finishing third to the two faster spaceframed four wheel drive Audi 90 and beating a host of other factory backed spaceframe specials that dominated the races. Despite lack of factory backing, the car would soon have another successful season there under a host of guest drivers such as Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jacques Laffite and Hurley Haywood taking a total of three second places and one third.
Although the F40 would not return to IMSA for the following season, it would later be a popular choice by privateers to compete in numerous domestic GT series including JGTC. In 1994, the car made its debut in international competitions, with one car campaigned in the BPR Global GT Series by Strandell, winning at the 4 Hours of Vallelunga.
In 1995, the number of F40s climbed to four, developed independently by Pilot-Aldix Racing (F40 LM) and Strandell (F40 GTE, racing under the Ferrari Club Italia banner), winning the 4 Hours of Anderstorp. No longer competitive against the McLaren F1 GTR, the Ferrari F40 returned for another year in 1996, managing to repeat the previous year's Anderstorp win, and from then on it was no longer seen in GT racing.
The F40 Competizione is a non-sponsored, more powerful version of the F40 LM cars that were being raced, which was the result of consumer requests following the order of a French importer who wanted to enter one in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 10 examples were built, the first two being called F40 LM's, and the remaining 8 being F40 Competizione, as Ferrari felt that the LM tag was too restrictive.
An F40 Competizione can be found today in the Automobile Museum of Turin.
The F40's light curb weight of 1,369 kg (3,018 lb) and high power output of 478 PS (352 kW; 471 hp) at 7000 rpm gave the vehicle tremendous performance potential.
Test results by Car and Driver:
Test results by AMS:
When the F40 was revealed to the world in 1987, the press was unimpressed. Observers considered it as a cynical attempt to cash in on speculators money after seeing how much was paid for used 288 GTOs and the high demand for the Porsche 959. Speculators were expecting Enzo Ferrari's death and to benefit from raising prices. It was estimated in 1990 that only 10 percent of the delivered F40 were used for driving.
In 1988 Ferrari invited journalists to test at their home track Fiorano Circuit and bring a Porsche 959 along for comparison. The Automobile Magazine and Car magazine made an overall verdict, for both of them the Porsche 959 was the better car.
Car and Driver called the car a "mix of sheer terror and raw excitement". Most fun was accelerating in first gear from 15 mph, "pure terror" was driving on a busy highway. Rear vision was so bad that lane changes required "leaps of faith". It was found unfit for daily road use, "clunky and cantankerous" around town, "so mechanically delinquent that an onboard mechanic is advised", to describe driver discomfort "Bangkok debtors' prison" was used. In a comparison test the Lamborghini Diablo was found better looking by the civilians while the testers opted for the F40. When Car and Driver declared the Porsche 911 Turbo the quickest A-to-B four-wheeled transport on American highways, the Ferrari F40 wasn't found competitive because of being a 30-minute car. "After that, you'd like a cool drink and a brief nap."
In 2011, in Top Gear series 16, episode 6, the F40 was compared against the Porsche 959. Both cars were introduced as the "greatest supercar the world had ever seen". However, they never completed a lap on the Test Track, as the F40 failed to start and the 959 had problems with the turbos.
In 2013 Auto Bild Sportscars compared 7 supercars. The Ferrari F40 came last by a long way with the overall verdict boring.
Full official first specs
Those published by Ferrari details referring to the model presentation.
F40 US Patent For Ornamental Design
The term of a design patent may not be extended by reissue. Ex parte Lawrence, 70 USPQ 326 (Comm’r Pat. 1946).