Since 1919 the Italian carrozzeria has built a legacy as one of the world’s most storied design houses and coachbuilders. Recent collaborations with elite automakers now boldly aim the company into its next hundred years…
BY NICOLAS STECHER
At the heart of the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello, Italy, the official inauguration of a sparkling new building dubbed the Centro Stile, a.k.a. the Styling Centre, is taking place. Enveloped in 3,000 elements of gilded aluminum, the geometric, glass- and gold-adorned facade doubles as a shroud of the highly secretive operations inside and a magnet for the eyes of passersby. Ironically, the general public will never see the Centro Stile, given its place inside the Pentagon-like security of the sprawling campus.
The building, designed in partnership with architect Davide Padoa, is now home to Ferrari’s in-house design team, a new Atelier, and the Tailor Made personalisation studio. It also houses a state-of- the-art presentation room crowned with vivid 10-metre LED video displays that today, at Ferrari’s Capital Markets Day — a presentation of the company’s business plan to investors and analysts — is filled to the brim with business journalists, collectors, and global cognoscenti of machines that go really, really fast. Ferrari, you see, is up to very big things. The greatest marque in the history of F1 racing — boasting a record 16 Constructors’ championships and 15 Drivers’ championships — and crafter of the world’s most coveted performance machines is prepping for the most ambitious battle plan in its illustrious 71-year history. Executives like CEO Louis Camilleri, chairman John Elkann, senior vice president of design Flavio Manzoni, and CTO Michael Leiters are here to do two things: pull the sheets back on the two Monzas sitting center court in the auditorium (more on these later), and shed light on the Prancing Horse’s future plans.
Pretax, pre-interest earnings will soar to two billion dollars, they promise, by 2022, while no fewer than 15 new vehicles will hit showrooms. Among them will be the company’s hyperanticipated SUV-like vehicle, whose name was formally announced — the Purosangue. Two entirely new families of powerplants are on their way as well, promises Leiters, who says the “never-ending acceleration” from the hybrid power technology feels “like going [to] heaven.” (The other is a V-6.) By 2022, 60 percent of all Ferraris will consist of these hybrids.
It’s clear that as Ferrari gears up for its next 70 years, the raging horse of Maranello shows no sign of slowing down.
The Birth of An Icona
Ferrari’s newly unveiled cars are a dream mix of old and new
The dazzling showstopper of Capital Markets Day — the glimmering bait that wooed collectors and journalists from across the planet to the Ferrari campus — was the whispered promise of a new model. Many assumed it would be something fairly expected, like a Spider version of the 812 Superfast, for instance. Few predicted a pair of vehicles as eye-popping as they are exclusive: the Monza SP1 and SP2 speedsters.
Hidden behind the pomp and celebration of these exquisite million-dollar-plus fraternal twins is what they represent: a whole new pillar of Ferrari dubbed Icona. Like the Special Series family, the Iconas will go beyond the “normal” Sport and Gran Turismo lines to serve the highest-tier Ferraristi with über-expensive, ultra-collectible automotive unicorns. They will also furnish Ferrari SpA with profit margins so intoxicating, competing CEOs just might catch the vapours.
The concept is as brilliant as it is unique: With the Monzas, Ferrari is looking back at its history and selecting rare vehicles from its impossibly rich heritage — timeless designs to reinterpret and reimagine for the 21st century. These vintage muses have inspired Ferrari designers and engineers to create time-traveling vehicles combining the aura and architecture of past legends with the space-age materials, engineering, and aesthetics of the modern world. If the rest are anything like the twin Monzas, the new Icona family will be a game-changer in the industry.
The SP1 and SP2 pay homage to classic 1950s Monzas like the 750 and 860. And since they’re considered barchette — meaning “small speedboats” in Italian, but in Ferrari parlance the term signifies racecars without windshields — you can also throw in the original barchetta: the 1948 166 MM.
Hence, the SP1 and SP2 both lack not only windshields but also roofs. Even more illogically, the SP1 will only seat a single human being — its cockpit wrapping around the driver like a cozy womb of hyperperformance (the SP2 swaps the SP1’s tonneau cover with a second seat and roll bar). They both use technology Ferrari calls a Virtual Windshield to keep the driver from being blasted by air at 200-plus mph. The innovative carbon fibre underneath helps create an “energised upwash,” basically an invisible air shield in lieu of glass.
To add another layer of bespoke luxury to the equation, every Monza will come with tailor-fitted overalls by esteemed Italian fashion house Loro Piana, to ensure you arrive at the château with nary a splotch on your Savile Row suit. They’ll also throw in matching gloves, driving shoes, a bag, a carbon-fiber helmet, and goggles, with leather courtesy of the artisans at Berluti. The protective head-and-eyewear will be especially beneficial given that the Monzas will boast the most powerful Ferrari engines ever built: boosted versions of the 812 Superfast’s 6.5-litre V-12, tweaked for a total of 810 horses.
That’s enough muscle to slingshot the Monzas from zero to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds and zero to 124 mph in 7.9 seconds, ensuring their performance is as jaw-dropping as their profile. With no wind- shield, an absurdly long hood, a signature Ferrari maw, rear buttress silhouette, wide horizontal LED tail lamp, and sleek carbon-fibre body- work, the duo will twist the necks of even the most jaded GTO-chasing collector. As of this printing, Ferrari released no volume or pricing, but expect fewer than 500 to be made in total, with a price tag estimated at US$1.6 million each.
The head of Ferrari’s automotive design center gets personal about the future of the company and his love for the brand…
Why was the creation of the Ferrari Styling Centre in 2010, bringing all design work in-house, so integral to the future plans of Ferrari? Why not keep working with established partners like Pininfarina?
The establishment of the new Ferrari design centre is the consequence of a journey that began back in 2010, when the company made the strategic decision to develop design activities in-house. The goal was to optimise the working, development, and communication processes — and to enhance the wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills that the company had gained over the previous years — thus maximising the symbiosis between designers and engineers in one location. The design centre building, which is an example of a modern architectural layout, was commissioned by Sergio Marchionne and is located at the very heart of the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello, Italy. The design centre houses designers, modellers (both digital surface modellers and physical modellers), and colour and trim experts all under one roof, in easy proximity to one another. The design centre also contains dedicated zones for the Atelier and Tailor Made personalisation programs, for those customers coming from all over the world to specify their Ferraris, and an advanced presentation room, equipped with the most up-to-date virtual reality technologies.
This is a landmark transition for Ferrari. Can you explain why this synergy is so important, and share a real-world example of how it was integral to a model’s design?
Managing the design process in-house, in close relationship with the Ferrari Technical Department — including aerodynamicists and engineers who deal with materials and technologies — is certainly one of the key elements for the evolution of Ferrari’s production. It’s an everyday dialogue, a true synergy that offers continuous interaction and information exchange, ensuring benefits to the entire innovation process. Sometimes, during this continuous dialogue with technicians and engineers, new solutions are found that reconcile functional and aesthetic requirements, thanks to the designers’ skills. I could give several examples related to our cars, from the integration of the aerodynamic “candelabras” into the styling of the FXX-K, which increase the dynamic balance and optimize the airflow, to the iconic side scoop on the 488 that feeds air to the engine air intake and intercooler, to the unique two-volume fastback body style introduced on the Portofino, the new convertible equipped with a retractable hardtop.
It seems that the duty of incorporating engineering demands must be tackled creatively by the designer, but does the opposite ever happen? Has a strong design concept ever changed a technical decision?
As I mentioned before, there are numerous cases in which Ferrari Design has proposed solutions that have given rise to new technical configurations. I believe that the most important aspect of this synergy is precisely this constant daily dialogue. It is this working as a close, integrated team that leads to continuous improvements. Something that marks Ferrari’s production is the way of thinking and planning, where the efforts and dedication of each person achieve a great collective result. The results speak for themselves; recent designs, from the Portofino to the Monza SP1, have been astonishing. One of the cornerstones of the Ferrari philosophy is that all design must fulfill a function — you will never see a fake air intake or superfluous spoiler on a Ferrari. Cars are subject to every kind of constructive, legislative, production, and assembly constraint. Balancing beauty and functionality, form and technology, requires great attention to detail and the ability to harmonise different elements that must cohabit within the same reality. We always keep our distance from any action that does not have an objective, functional reason, or that is not required to make a complete and harmonised form; we avoid any mystification or mere styling operations that do not belong to our design language. We therefore devote great attention to our work so that there is a balance, without redundant forms or elements, that respects the coherence of the project. The whole history of Ferrari — and, I believe, the identity of the company itself — is based on these principles.
What is the proudest moment of your career thus far at Ferrari? Is it a marquee moment, like accepting the Compasso d’Oro for the F12berlinetta, or something more intimate?
The awards we receive, from the Compasso d’Oro to the Red Dot, from the iF to the Good Design, are certainly a gratifying sign of how much, even among the insiders, the contribution of Ferrari Design is appreciated. I am proud of this, above all for the whole team of designers and modellers. There is, however, a deeper reason that touches on creative work as a process, a constant invitation to perfect and always raise the bar. In one of the last sessions of work with Sergio Marchionne, I was struck by his affirmation when he commented on the proposals we had developed with the colleagues of the Technical Department: “Ferrari defines the limits of the possible.” I think this sentence summarises and condenses with great lucidity and intensity the soul of our work and the daily commitment that allows the achievement of the highest results. It is, therefore, for each of us, a source of pride and personal fulfillment to succeed in this mission.
There aren’t many trained architects tapped to run an automotive design centre; usually that is a job placed in the hands of dedicated designers. How does having an architect’s eye and approach influence your work in automotive design?
My own training as an architect and, I must confess, also the interest that my father transmitted to me for art, literature, and music, has been for me an indispensable resource in terms of understanding what it means to work creatively. Knowing how to look in different or neighboring areas, knowing how to grasp the meaning of beauty and the reasons behind a work, are all factors that have pushed me to have as broad a vision as possible and to gather different stimuli. Several times I have defined all this as the basis of a holistic approach in design. It is very useful, however, to then converge decisively, in the moment of finalising the creative process, without losing sight of the reason and the synthesis of the final result. The car is both architecture and sculpture in movement; the construction of its shape must respond to precise technical requirements, but also to real “aesthetic efficiency.”
There is a Constantin Brancusi quote you’ve mentioned before: “Simplicity is resolved complexity.” Why does that quote resonate with you? Explain how that manifests in the philosophy behind the Ferrari Styling Centre.
The ability to synthesise what then translates into the form that traces the surfaces and volumes of a car, but also every minute detail inside as well as outside, is basically what is required of an automobile designer. However, the distance between an initial work briefing and the object that will be created is different each time. What does not change is the approach, the attitude, the desire to try to identify the best route. My collaborators and I share new challenges every day where we try to free our intuitions, aware that the achievement of the goal, of new goals, means managing complexity — technological complexity, but also that of the process, which we always try to optimise. Brancusi, as well as other great masters of contemporary art, have taught us to cultivate a certain sensitivity, and at the same time safeguard a certain freedom, a necessary belief to be able to make decisions and finalise the whole creative work with a spirit of synthesis.
A Winning Partnership
Mexican racing driver MARTIN FUENTES wins the Pirelli World Challenge again…
Beyond the friendly demeanor and passion for speed that has led to a long list of motor sports successes, racing driver Martin Fuentes has worked his way up the ranks one race at a time, climbing from competitions such as the LATAM Challenge Series and Formula Abarth to the pinnacle of grand touring, the Pirelli World Challenge, in 2015 — and winning it in 2016 and 2018. Competing in the series’s GTA category as part of the Squadra Corse Garage Italia team, Fuentes dominated his rivals and took home the championship, racing a MAXIM- sponsored Ferrari 488 GT3. It was a successful return for Fuentes. After his most recent victory, Fuentes spoke with us about the road he’s travelled, what this year has meant to him, and the projects that lie ahead.
How did you get your start with racing?
I started with go-karting. The way I moved into car racing was due to an accident. I was the national champion of motorcycles in Mexico. The last year that I raced, I had a big accident. After doing the rehab and everything, the doctors said that I couldn’t do more motorcycle racing because next time one of the vertebrae would be really badly hurt. The previous year all the motorcycle champions were racing in a charity race. I was able to win second place among all the national champions of street racing, motorcycle racing, and enduro racing. I felt like a king. A Formula 2000 team was interested and told me I have an ability with cars, and I told them that the trajectories of racing motorcycles and cars is very similar. I had to learn the process of going from two wheels to four, and just the weight transfer. I was racing in South America and Mexico, and a couple of races in America, with Formula 2000. I raced there for some eight years, winning the championship, before I decided to change to prototype racing and raced for Porsche.
How did you end up with a seat at Ferrari?
My road to representing Ferrari has been quite up and down, like every driver in the world. I was racing a championship of prototypes in the U.S. They needed a Latin image of a Spanish driver, a Mexican driver, a Brazilian driver. Anything that would bring them into the Latin market. So they talked to a couple of drivers, and I was among them. They saw my C.V., and they thought that I was the best fit for their project. Istartedracingforthemin 2015, and Igotthirdplaceinthecham- pionship without knowing any of the racetracks, and without knowing the car: it was a new car. Then, in 2016, we won the championship.
What makes a Ferrari racing team so special?
The best thing for me with Ferrari is the professionalism. I’ve raced for so many teams, and I have never seen so many professional members. Because, for example, we have a psychologist, we have a nutritionist, we have a personal trainer. And they’re always present. They’re always there. They’re always checking up. They’re always making sure that the drivers are in top shape mentally and physically. And another thing that I’ve encountered with Ferrari is that they’re always pushing and bringing the limits out of you. Racing for Ferrari is quite a journey, because they’re always asking the best of you. They’re very strict, and they’re very focused on how they do, and they have racing in their blood. So they’re never, ever going to let the drivers down or the fans. They always bring out the best people. If there’s anything that the team or driver needs, they’ll definitely bring the top engineer in the world, and if there’s any issue with the car, of course, they’re always trying to improve and get more speed out of the car. So if there’s an issue with the brakes and we need to try a new material, we will. They’re not afraid of trying anything, and that’s one of the things that makes me happy to be a part of this brand.
Now, I’m very fortunate to have been hired by Ferrari, but my contract finishes next year and I don’t know. I think they’re very happy with the results — winning the championship in 2016 and winning again in 2018. Beyond that, next year I’d like to try — I think I’m already on the list — the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And possibly rallycross of some kind: that global racing inside of a stadium. It looks like fun. —Keith Gordon
250 GTO The Most Exclusive Club In The World
Owning one of the 36 existing icons is the holy grail of auto collecting…
What happens when arguably the greatest automobile ever crafted goes up for auction? The world’s elite take notice. There’s an obvious reason: The 1962 250 GTO is widely considered among the most beautiful designs ever put on the road, and combined with its Ferrari performance, it has been an intimidating presence on both track and road. With a V-12 powerplant putting out an impressive-for-the-time 300 bhp, paired with a five-speed synchromesh gearbox, it was the performance machine of its day.
Another obvious reason for the inescapable draw of the 250 GTO is the cost. The most recent model to be sold publicly was put up for auction by RM Sotheby’s at its Monterey auto auction back in August. The holy grail for collectors started at an unprec- edented opening price of US$35 million and just kept climbing as three different bidders competed to obtain the legendary vehicle. After nearly 10 minutes of high drama and million-dollar bid raises, the gavel came down at a final price of US$48,405,000. The GTO had not only set the record for the most valuable vehicle ever sold at auction but smashed the previous record by more than US$10 million. Clearly, collectors were willing to pay exorbitantly for one of these exalted vehicles.
But the most interesting aspect of the car, the auction, and the recent spike in prices for cars purchased as much as an investment as for a source of transportation is the scarcity. The rarity of the 1962 250 GTO makes it not only an iconic car, and possibly a wise investment, but also ensures the owner membership in one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. Only 36 of the models were ever made, meaning there are a mere few dozen millionaires or billionaires who can claim to own one. Of course, it has become a status statement to get into such a limited — and never-expanding — club. No, there are no meetings, clubhouses, or official roster, but unlike the supercars of today, which often come in production batches in the hundreds or thousands, the GTO has what it takes to set one CEO apart from another when it comes to bragging rights in the garage, providing a level of extravagance that even other beautiful (and expensive) classic cars just can’t match.
Sure, Ferrari has made a business out of creating smaller and smaller circles of elite buyers who are offered the chance to purchase special models, one-off creations, or an FXX model that can only be driven on a track. In fact, Ferrari takes the allocation of its cars, and the public image and purchase history of its potential clients, extremely seriously, choosing who is deserving of the right to put down sometimes a million dollars or more on a special Ferrari offering. But the 1962 250 GTO is unique not only because of its cost and its possession by a rarefied brotherhood of owners but because the ability to join that club comes down only to one’s passion and one’s bank account — not whether the people back in Maranello, Italy, decide one is worthy. Simply put, it’s the greatest car of all time, and the entrance key to one of the most exclusive groups of collectors in the world. —KG
Don’t Call It An SUV
The esteemed automaker has unveiled its future with the forthcoming Purosangue…
For years, Ferrari scoffed at the idea of following in the footsteps of other bejewelled manufacturers in creating an SUV. Desperately chasing the market like rivals Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and company was beneath them — so much so that many at Ferrari claimed they would never build one. Chief of design Flavio Manzoni went so far as to say those who chased SUV sales exhibited a “lack of courage.” That was only in 2016.
Hence, the late CEO Sergio Marchionne made global headlines earlier this year when he revealed that the world’s most famous builder of ultra-performance machines was indeed considering a new vehicle that, to the casual fan, looks an awful lot like a sport utility vehicle. The untimely and shocking passing of Marchionne in July has done nothing to derail those plans.
Quite the opposite, actually, as details of the car materialise. First off, this mystery machine now has a name: Purosangue, or thoroughbred. Given that Ferrari has zero history with any truck-like vehicle, clearly it’s hoping to infuse a sense of heritage into the bloodline with the moniker. At Ferrari’s Capital Markets Day, the discussion of SUV capitulation was one of the most awkward and conflicting of the conference. Newly minted CEO Louis Camilleri didn’t even want to utter the term SUV. “It just does not sit well with our brand and all that it represents,” he said, shifting in his seat. “As a diehard Ferrarista, I have been a little skeptical when the concept was first voiced at the board. Having now seen the wonderful design concept, the extraordinary features… I am a hugely enthusiastic supporter… That’s why this vehicle we will produce will be unique in so many ways, and will redefine expectations.”
After being pressed for numbers and comparable models, which of course the company refused to disclose, the CEO admitted, “I abhor hearing ‘SUV’ in the same sentence as Ferrari,” and that the vehicle is “something you haven’t seen before, so don’t give it acronyms.” Camilleri may have a distaste for acronyms, but he’s not shying away from using another one to describe his non-SUV: GT. Meaning, Ferrari is slotting the Purosangue into its Gran Turismo family. And that is why Ferrari is projecting large growth for the GT pillar — while leaving the door open for “additional product extensions.” But fear not, doubters and purists.
Camilleri’s words should not be read as pessimistic, but rather as understandably skeptical. Meaning, Ferrari will not rest until its exalted offering has no peer in the market. They promise elegance, versatility, and exhilarating driving dynamics, on top of revolutionary accessibility and state-of- the-art comfort.
Otherwise, few details were shared regarding cost or powertrain, but given the exploding sales of luxury SUVs, it’s safe to assume the company’s forthcoming offering will do for Ferrari sales what the F-Pace did for Jaguar, the Cayenne did for Porsche, and the Bentayga did for Bentley. And since Ferrari predicts that 60 percent of its sales by 2022 will be hybrids, one can infer the Purosangue will be among them.
A new compendium of Ferrari’s legacy debuts…
It might not be a religious text, but to the Tifosi (Ferrari racing’s diehard fans, especially in Formula 1) and millions of other Ferrari aficionados around the world, Taschen has released what can only be considered the bible of the world’s most prestigious automaker: Il Fascino Ferrari. Documenting the company’s history from its founding to the modern age, and including special coverage of every one of Ferrari’s Grand Prix victories since 1947, the book was edited by Italian journalist Pino Allievi and comes in a smart aluminum display case designed by Marc Newson (left). Ferrari gave the publication’s creators unrestricted access to the company’s extensive photographic archives, offering images and insights never before shared with the public. It is not a cheap book at US$6,000, but many Ferrari owners will find it a must-have, and based on the vehicles in their driveway, probably won’t blink at the cost. Plus, every copy is signed by Piero Ferrari, the son of Enzo Ferrari, himself.
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