New – Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Ferrari’s FF has tried hard to be the practical V12 supercar. But now there’s a revised version with even more power. Let Ned Jasper give you all the details, including that new name.

2016 Ferrari GTC4LussoThis is the Ferrari GTC4Lusso (great name by the way, but we’ll get to that later), and it’s Ferrari’s latest attempt to try and market their cars at people with a family. Or indeed the kind of chap who likes to go on long cross-continent road trips with their mates, carrying all of their belongings, and traveling at speed. As to whether this exceptionally wealthy family man, or continent-crossing playboy, actually exists is another matter. But don’t let that put you off.

2016 Ferrari GTC4LussoOn paper the GTC4Lusso appears to be a relatively sane car. It’s dripping with technology, has four large and no doubt comfortable seats, boasts a usable boot, and is pumped full of safety features. There’s ample air bags, all wheel drive, and even a new four-wheel steer system (previously seen in the F12 tdf). This however is not a ‘sane’ car; it’s a Ferrari. That means that at this beast heart lies that same 6.3 V12 only this time it’s pumping out a whopping 681 bhp. That’s 30 more than the old FF could muster. Not only that, the reworked engine now gives a chunk more torque as well; 514 lb-ft to be exact. All of which means that this prancing horse can now gallop from 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds (0.3 quicker than the FF), and it’ll keep on accelerating to 208MPH. This is a “family” car, remember.

At first glance, the GTC4Lusso seems to look almost identical to the car it replaces. Look a little deeper, however, and you’ll find that in actual fact almost every panel on the new car is different. Most noticeable of these alterations are the sexy little wing vents (similar to the gills of a shark), and the new more pronounced rear haunches. The latter allows the GTC4Lusso to sink a little further into the pavement, whilst also gain a more menacing road presence. The new bonnet and front grilles which, especially in grey, make the car look a lot more agile and bring strong connotations of the immense power which is lurking underneath. Finally, the rear. In my eyes – I’ve no doubt you’ll agree – the back of this car looks absolutely stunning. The whole car is already the automotive equivalent of a stunning Italian supermodel, but the rear end, now that’s the standout feature for me. The mixture of sharp razor-edged creases, and smooth free-flowing curves, make it an absolute feast for any like-minded petrol head. (more…)

New – Ferrari F12tdf

When thinking about the Ferrari F12berlinetta, what would be the first thought that would come to mind? For the guys at Maranello ‘making it even faster’ seems to have been the first lightbulb that popped into mind.

2015 Ferrari F12tdfAlthough the future of Ferrari looks firmly set to be turbocharged – take the new 488 GTB, for example – the Italian firm is still very capable when it comes to natural aspiration. So capable that they’ve extracted 40bhp from the 6.3-litre V12 engine, taking total output for the F12tdf to a faintly ludicrous 770bhp. Torque is equally impressive, with 520lb-ft of it available at 6,750rpm.

2015 Ferrari F12tdfIt’s not all about power with the F12df though. All of the bodywork panels have been changed, which gives the tdf a far more aggressive stance. In fact, in the yellow and black colour scheme used for the press photos, the F12tdf has more than a passing resemblance to the Corvette C7.R racer. Thanks to the changes, the tdf produces 1.6 times mores downforce than the regular F12berlinetta, whilst also accommodating wider front wheels. A new ‘Virtual Short Wheelbase’ aids cornering through the use of rear wheel steering.

Despite the bigger bodywork and more technology Ferrari has hacked 110kg from the F12berlinetta which, when combined with the increased power output, results in explosive performance. 0-62mph happens in just 2.9 seconds, whilst 0-124mph is over in just 7.9 seconds. That’s quick; seriously quick. An Extreme Design braking system, borrowed from the LaFerrari, helps the F12tdf stop as fast as it goes.

The ‘tdf’ part of the name comes from the historic Tour de France race – the car one, not the bicycle one – that Ferrari dominated throughout most of the late 1950s and 1960s. As a 250 GT variant, the Tour de France cars used a Columbo V12 engine producing between 237 and 256hp – just slightly down on the modern F12tdf! However, with 250 GT Tour de France cars selling for $13.2m, you can bet the contemporary version will be something of a relative bargain. (more…)

New Metal – Ferrari 488 Spider

Despite the fact we only got the turbocharged Ferrari 488 GTB less than six months ago, Maranello is clearly in the mood for spoiling us with news of the open-air Spider version.

2015 Ferrari 488 Spider

Whilst the internets may have gone slightly mad at hearing about a new Ferrari, it was hardly unpredictable. For as long as there has been a ‘baby’ V8 mid-engined Ferrari coupe (or Berlinetta, sorry), there has been an open-top version to match. From 308 right through to F430 and 458, there’s been the option to burn your head whilst you cruise around town. We just didn’t expect it so soon; Ferrari made us wait two years between the 458 Italia and subsequent Spider offering.

2015 Ferrari 488 Spider

Yet this is the first time we’ve seen a mid-engined, turbocharged, V8, open-top Ferrari since… well, the Italian-market only 328 GTS Turbo of 1989, actually. So although it’s not the very first forced-induction Spider, it’s one which the world outside of Italy will be able to buy. So I guess we can chalk that up as some kind of debut. Anyway, this is also Ferrari’s most powerful mid-engined V8 convertible, with the 661 bhp out eclipsing even the 597 bhp found in the epic 458 Speciale A.

As with the regular 488 GTB, torque is the big attraction, with a hefty 561 lb-ft available from just 3,000 rpm. The 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 is mapped to deliver a fast throttle response, with Ferrari claiming a lag time of just 0.8 seconds between hitting the pedal and your insides being churned up. Where we’re genuinely impressed is with performance figures that are seriously close to the GTB, save for a 2 mph lower top speed at 203 mph. That means 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds, and a still staggering but 0.4 seconds slower, 0-124 mph time of 8.7 seconds. Presumably, this is all so Spider owners no longer need to worry about feeling inferior when pulling alongside those with fixed-roof 488s. (more…)

Friday Video – Kimi just couldn’t care less

It hasn’t been the easiest week in the world of Formula 1. However, you can always count on Kimi Räikkönen to provide some kind of distraction. Although hardly known for engaging with the media, the official Ferrari video ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix is a new level of Kimi:

What amazes us more at ESM, is the fact Ferrari still went ahead and published it on their YouTube channel. Perhaps they realise the amusement and entertainment value Kimi brings or, perhaps, with him seemingly about to be sold down the river for Valtteri Bottas, they don’t even care anymore.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the ‘Ice Man’ has been in F1 since 2001, driven for Sauber, McLaren, Lotus and Ferrari (twice), and won almost 10% of the races he has entered. Along with his F1 World Drivers’ Championship in 2007, Kimi also placed second in 2003 and 2005, in addition to a third place in 2008. In short, he’s been a fairly impressive driver in his lengthy career.

However, his lack of interest in pleasing the media has been existent since his early days, and in a world of stage management and corporate nonsense, Kimi has always proven to be happily anti-establishment. It’s why he’s responsible for ESM‘s favourite F1 TV soundbite, ever.

Whatever happens to Kimi and his Ferrari seat, we hope he remains in Formula 1. The sport would be a much more boring, and slightly less weirder, place without him.

News and photos – Ferrari 488 GTB

You have to feel a little sorry for Ferrari. On the day it launches a 660+ bhp twin-turbocharged supercar, the motoring world goes crazy for a five-door hatchback with half the power instead. Oh, and a new yellow Porsche

2015 Ferrari 488 GTB 002Anyway, now the Cayman GT4 and Focus RS frenzy has subsided, let us indulge Ferrari with their first mid-engined turbo road car since the F40 went out of production, some 23 years ago. Here to replace the wondrous 458 Italia – a car that, would you believe, has been around since 2009 – the 488 GTB adds extra power and enhanced aerodynamics to the mixture.

2015 Ferrari 488 GTB 003Using a modified version of the F154 90° 3.9 litre V8 engine found in the California T, the 488 GTB packs a staggering 661 bhp and 560 lb-ft of torque. Yes, that’s a mid-engined Ferrari supercar with the levels of torque usually found in an AMG Mercedes. Like the California T, torque is limited in the lower gears, meaning that peak figure is actually produced in top gear of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. After the high-revving nature of the 458 Italia, this 488 GTB is clearly going to be a very different animal.

2015 Ferrari 488 GTB 004Performance is, however, even more devastating that the 458. 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds, 0-124 mph in 8.3 seconds (!) and a top speed in excess of 205 mph are big numbers. Helping achieve these figures is the use of greater active aerodynamics – supposedly developed from the XX programme – which includes an active diffuser and a blown rear spoiler. (more…)

New – The Ferrari FXX K

Own a LaFerrari? Concerned it might not be quick enough? Want to try a special version that’s neither road or track legal, and probably won’t actually be yours to keep? Step right up…

Ferrari FXX K 001

Along with a name that clearly asks for inferences to made to obscenities, the FXX K is the latest offering in Maranello’s ‘Client-Test Driver’ programme. Essentially, you pay a substantial sum of money – let’s imagine at least £2million plus – to be invited to drive ‘your’ FXX K at special Ferrari events. You give Ferrari feedback, they then tune and develop cars based on your input. At the core of it all, you’re essentially paying for the privilege of being a very exclusive lab rat.

Ferrari FXX K 002

But, a lab rat that gets to play with a specially developed 1,035 bhp Ferrari on a race track, living out your fantasies of being Pedro De La Rosa or even Luca Badoer! There’s probably no guarantee you’ll be asked to substitute at a Formula 1 race, like the latter, so perhaps don’t get too carried away with your dreams. (more…)

Friday Photo – Ferrari California T

When first launched back in 2008, the Ferrari California confused purists to an extent. Here was a front-engined V8 Ferrari, with a folding hard-top and dual-clutch transmission. Being unkind, some accused it of being aimed at those interested in cruising, not driving.

2014 Ferrari California T 001

Fast forward to 2014, and Ferrari has given the California an update with an extra letter added on to the name. Yeah, the ‘T’ stands for turbocharged if you hadn’t already worked it out. With twin-turbos fitted to an all new 3.9 litre V8, power increases from 453 bhp to 552 bhp, with torque rising by a monumental 49% to 556 lb-ft! That’s an awful lot of twist, and should make a big difference to the way in which the California drives on the open road. It also provides a much-needed link between 2014 Formula 1 technology to Ferrari’s road cars; high-revving naturally aspirated power is so last year. Performance figures are expectedly impressive, with 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds and a 196 mph top speed.

Maranello also claims an increase in fuel economy by around 15% in everyday driving conditions; proof that nobody is safe from the need for greater efficiency. The facelift to the outside of the California T makes the car look much more handsome than the previous version, with revised front end, wings and rear-diffuser. Inside, what can best be described as a boost gauge (Turbo Performance Engineer in Ferrari-speak) sits between the air-vents above the centre console, with a new touchscreen infotainment system also added.

We don't care what you call it Ferrari, that's a boost gauge.

We don’t care what you call it Ferrari, that’s a boost gauge.

The revised car is set to be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Prices have yet to be confirmed, though given the level of new technology there is likely to be an increase over the existing car’s £152,000 tag.

F1 2013 – Senna’s Mid-season Review

After nine rounds of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship, EngageSportMode’s canine correspondent reviews how things stand so far.

Formula 1 2013 – State of Play So Far


Tyres. Seriously, if I hear any more jokes about Pirelli and their lack of durability I’m going to go leave a “present” on somebody’s front lawn. It’s true to say black round things have dominated the 2013 so far, either by degrading too quickly or just downright exploding into little bits. I’ve got chew toys made of better quality rubber than these tyres; perhaps that’s a new job opening for me next year.

But anyway, here’s a run down of how the teams and drivers are performing. Who’s a good boy, and who gets sent to the doghouse?

Red Bull Racing



That Pirelli Tyre Debacle – 2013 Spanish Grand Prix Fallout

If you happen to follow EngageSportMode on twitter,  if you don’t remedy that first, you’ll have noticed a steady stream of Pirelli tyre-related lolz on Sunday.

The Spanish Grand Prix at Catalunya has rarely been one to set pulses racing, managing to generally rate slightly above Hungary for excitement. But the 2013 race proved to be unpopular with many for more than just poor racing. Namely, when do pit-stops for tyres become too many? Apparently four is the magic number, not three in this regard.

One of the key aspects to the resurgence in “racing” during recent seasons of Formula 1 has been the change to Pirelli as tyre supplier. This, combined with DRS and KERS, has seen a return to a phenomenon known as overtaking, not witnessed in F1 for many years. Despite the fact Sebastian Vettel has won the last three World Championships, nobody is complaining too much about the lack of on-track action.

Pirelli’s tyres have been fundamental to this, in the use of the compounds used to construct the prime and option variants. The rates at which the tyre degrades have been increased, leading to dramatic changes in tyre performance when the level of grip is said to “drop off a cliff” during the race, often without warning. Some teams have coped with this better; others have had to manage them differently during a race, leaving the possibility of cars on different tyre strategies creating overtaking, aided by DRS and KERS.

However, the tyres offered this year by Pirelli are seemingly a step too far. In Catalunya we saw front running drivers such as Alonso, Raikkonen and Massa only pushing their cars to around 80% of their potential. As Martin Brundle commented on Sky’s coverage, behind the wheel the drivers looked positively sedate – not like they were battling for World Championship points. The reason for this was the, arguably, excessive tyre wear seen in Spain. Teams were unable to allow their drivers to push hard for fear of destroying their rubber and being forced to pit. As such, we saw anaesthetised racing and some teams needing to make four pit stops to prevent shredded Pirellis.

Arguably, Ferrari and Lotus might claim that there is no problem. Seemingly their cars are easier on their tyres compared to Red Bull or Mercedes, allowing them to ride away to victory. However, it seems perverse that the two cars which qualified 1st and 2nd on the grid end up 6th and 12th respectively, due to chiefly struggling with tyre wear.

By the time you finish reading this caption, the pictured Pirelli tyres will have degraded to the point of uselessneess. Maybe.

By the time you finish reading this caption, the pictured Pirelli tyres will have already degraded to the point of uselessness. Maybe.

Red Bull in particular has been incredibly vocal about the fast wear rate of the Pirellis, with owner Dieter Mateschitz claiming that: “this is a competition in tyre management. Real racing looks different.” Even Bernie Ecclestone has stirred the pot, suggesting that the tyres Pirelli brought were “wrong” and not what Formula 1 had asked the Italian firm to “produce.” Finally, David Coulthard’s BBC Sport column suggested that the failures seen by tyres this year could be a much bigger worry, should it happen at a “critical point of the race track in a critical racing situation.”

Tyres have always been a sensitive subject in Formula 1; witness the drama which unfolded at the 2005 Indianapolis Grand Prix when only three teams were able to compete due to the safety concerns with Michelin’s tyres. Nobody wants such ridiculous scenes as that, nor do they want the increased risk when we get to quicker circuits such as Spa-Francorchamps and Monza later in the season.

You also have to wonder about the damage it must be doing to Pirelli’s brand. Formula 1 is probably its biggest advertisement; to see such rhetoric in the media about Pirelli products cannot be a good thing for the company.

As a consequence of the above Pirelli Motorsport Director, and occasional twitter antagonist, Paul Hembery has announced changes to the tyres it will offer, starting from the Canadian Grand Prix. Initially Hembery had stated this would take effect from Silverstone, but one wonders whether the sheer loudness of the dissenting voices forced them to act quicker. It also leaves ESM with only one race of tyre-related puns left, Monaco, rather than the two first hoped for.

ESM has never been a fan of racing dictated by tyres; they’re hardly the most exciting part of a racing car for a start. But they are also the key bits which join the car to the track, just in Catalunya they started to make the tail wag the dog in terms of performance. Hopefully, after Monaco, we’ll see less burnt rubber and more of drivers pushing their cars to the limit.

2013 Australian Grand Prix – The Review (featuring Senna)

The first race of the Formula 1 season is always a strange one, not least because for European viewers it happens ridiculously early on a Sunday morning. F1’s opening night tends to showcase who has potential for the year ahead and, more importantly, who has more work to do back at the factory. 2013’s edition was no exception, although the unexpected weather and split qualifying sessions meant Australia was possibly not the truest representation of where things currently lie.

The EngageSportMode team made a concerted effort to stay up and watch the rescheduled late-night qualifying session and the race itself live. Getting up at 6am is tough on the best of days, but a Sunday just seems to make it several times harder. Senna, ESM’s F1 canine correspondent, was dragged from her bed and made to watch also. Afterwards she spent the day chewing sticks, sleeping, and rolling in badger crap. But in between all that we managed to get her opinion on who performed best and worst Down Under.

Red Bull
Qualifying: Vettel – 1st, Webber – 2nd
Race: Vettel – 3rd, Webber – 6th

A front-row lock out should have yielded better results than this. Another awful start by Webber ruined his chances in the race. Vettel tried hard, but the car seemed to be struggling with tyres in the colder than expected condition. Sebastian still looks to be the man to beat, and you can guarantee he’ll be fired up for Malaysia.
Senna’s view: I could get an F1 car off the line better than Webber, and I don’t even have hands to hold the clutch paddle!

Qualifying: Alonso – 5th, Massa – 4th
Race: Alonso – 2nd, Massa – 4th

After the surprise of Felipe Massa outqualifying Fernando Alonso, the sardonic Spaniard looked deeply unimpressed at the end of Q3. Predictably it was Alonso who outshone Massa in the race, but the Brazilian’s form looks impressive even if he did fade later on. Fernando leapfrogged Vettel during the second round of pit stops and was able to build an effective barrier between himself and the Red Bull, securing second place.
Senna’s view: Still don’t like Alonso, or his eyebrows, but that Ferrari looks to be a contender already.

Qualifying: Button – 10th, Perez – 15th
Race: Button – 9th, Perez – 11th
Oh dear. Despite having the strongest car at the end of the 2012 season, McLaren seems to have entered 2013 by completely forgetting everything they learnt in the closing stages of last year. Both drivers consistently struggled for pace in both qualifying and the race. The team made a colossal error to send Button and Perez out on slicks in Q2, and then furthered it by keeping the Mexican on them, thus destroying his qualifying. In the actual race things failed to improve, with Button scraping into the points and both cars not hugely far off being lapped.
Senna’s view: Somebody needs to be fired, probably Martin Whitmarsh.

Qualifying: Raikkonen – 7th, Grosjean – 8th
Race: Raikkonen – 1st, Grosjean – 10th

I don’t think anyone really saw this result coming. An average qualifying session transpired into an epic victory for the Iceman, thanks to some superb strategy from the Enstone team. Only needing to stop twice, compared to other’s three stop strategies gave Kimi a compounding advantage, and the first win of 2013. Grosjean had a quiet race which, let’s be honest, is a good thing by his standards.
Senna’s view: Kimi is the only driver I’ve ever seen drink the champagne before spraying it! (more…)