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Ferrari F430 Spider

 

Ferrari took the wraps off the convertible version of its new F430 mid-engined supercar at the Geneva motor show in Switzerland this week. The F430 Spider joins the fixed-head coupe released last year.

The new droptop has several technical features derived from Ferrari's Formula 1 racing activities.

Among them are an electronic differential (E-diff) - first developed by Ferrari's racing division for the Grand Prix cars.

Ferrari says the diff improves traction and roadholding under all conditions.

The Spider also has the steering wheel-mounted rotary switch - known to the Ferrari's racing drivers as the manettino - which allows the car's set-up to be adjusted easily and quickly.

Designed by Pininfarina, the F430 Spider's sinuous lines were fine-tuned using state-of-the-art computer aerodynamics simulation programs usually employed exclusively by the Ferrari Formula 1 team.

The F430 Spider's shape was refined during lengthy testing and features a pronounced rear lip spoiler which is integrated into the end of the engine Cover.

 New bigger rear air intakes emphasise the car's muscular stance, and a new rear valance that incorporates a race-derived aerodynamic diffuser.

The V8 engine itself is on show beneath a glass cover.

Like the Berlinetta, the Spider incorporates two elliptical air intakes that feed the front radiators.

The intakes' shape is inspired by Ferrari's shark-nosed Formula 1 and sports racing cars from the 1961 season, especially the 156 F1 which Phil Hill drove to win the world championship.

The spoiler that joins the two intakes at their bottom edge is highly-effective in directing the central air flow towards the flat underbody.

The F430 Spider has a compact, fully automatic electric hood that allows the engine to be seen at all times and which, once lowered, takes up relatively little space, despite the car's mid-engined layout.

Ferrari says the 4.3-litre V8-powered F430 Spider has a top speed higher than 310km/h and will sprint to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds.

Ferrari F430 Spider specifications

Engine: 4308cc 90-degree V8
Compression ratio: 11.3:1
Maximum power: 360.3kW (490bhp) at 8500rpm
Peak torque: 465Nm at 5250rpm

Performance
Top speed: 310km/h-plus. 0-100km/h, 4.1 seconds

Dimensions
Length: 4512mm
Width: 1923mm
Height: 1234mm
Wheelbase: 2600mm
Front track: 1669mm
Rear track: 1616mm
Kerb weight: 1520kg

Shark-nosed Ferraris
A line-up of shark-nosed Ferrari racing cars, the vehicles which inspired the F430's nose styling. The 1.5-litre Formula 1 car nearest camera, with the Dino 246 and 248 sports racing cars behind it.

This is an official Ferrari photograph from the 1962 press pre-season conference, and shows that year's race cars - including a 250GTO, now among the world's most valuable classic cars, at the rear of the line-up.

 The 1962 Formula 1 car was essentially a development of the 156 that Phil Hill drove to win the 1961 drivers' world championship.

The 156 was Ferrari's first rear-engined Grand Prix car, and with its 1.5-litre V6 engine easily outpaced the four-cylinder cars run by Cooper, Lotus, BRM and Porsche.

Ferrari drivers were Count Wolfgang von Trips, Hill, fellow American Richie Ginther and occasionally Italian Giancarlo Baghetti who won the French Grand Prix at Reims.

Von Trips had looked set to win the championship, but at Monza during the Italian GP, his car brushed Jim Clark's Lotus and Von Trips hurtled off the track.

The crash killed the German aristocrat and some spectators, and the Italian police tried unsuccessfully to lay charges against Clark, alleging he had caused the crash.

The shark-nosed Ferrari Grand Prix was outclassed by 1962 when the Coventry Climax V8 came on-stream - it had debuted in Jack Brabham's Cooper at the 1961 German GP at the Nurburgring.

That year also ushered in the era of the monocoque with Colin Chapman's revolutionary Lotus 25.

Ferrari took until 1964 to catch up again, winning that year's championship with John Surtees.

Mike Stock

 


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