Michael Schumacher has helped Ferrari to upgrade its on-track-only FXX customer supercar
Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher has helped Ferrari to upgrade its on-track-only FXX customer supercar to make it easier to drive and cut a minimum of two seconds off a typical lap time at the Fiorano test track.
The changes have been developed in conjunction with Schumacher and are in response to feedback from a lucky group of invited owners who have participated in the FXX programme which Ferrari established in 2005.
Ferrari will use the revamped car in an extension of the programme into 2008 and 2009.
The FXX, which Ferrari says is the most advanced GT it has yet created, isn’t homologated for road use and there are no plans to race it.
The FXX is designed exclusively for track driving as part of a specific research and development programme using a selected group of just over 20 customers.
In the past two years, they have taken part in 14 group test sessions and 14 private ones.
FXX cars covered 16,500 kilometres in 2006 and 18,500 in 2007, and data gathered has been used to develop the modifications made to the 2008/2009 car.
The changes have focused on honing its aerodynamics, running gear and electronics.
Schumacher joined the client test drivers several times.
Ferrari engineers have developed a kit which will cut the FXX’s lap time at Ferrari’s test track at Fiorano to under one minute 16 seconds. Previously it was one minute 18 seconds.
The FXX’s 6262cc V12 engine now develops 860bhp at 9500rpm.
Gearshifts take 60 milliseconds, a drop of 20 milliseconds on the previous time.
The gear ratios have been adapted to make use of the extra 1000rpm now delivered by the engine.
The FXX’s new traction control system, developed in close collaboration with GES Racing Division engineers, gives the driver a choice of nine settings (plus the off position) which are selected using a switch on the central tunnel.
This means that the driver really can modify the car’s behaviour on the track from corner to corner, just as the Formula 1 drivers do to maximise performance and reduce tyre wear.
The FXX’s traction control is also now less invasive and more flexible, adapting more efficiently to the individual driving style of each driver – a requirement pinpointed when what Ferrari describes as “this very extreme car” was being driven on the track by non-professional drivers.
The FXX’s specially developed 19-inch Bridgestone tyres now last longer thanks to a new car set-up and new front suspension geometry.
The Brembo brakes, which have large Composite Ceramic Material (CCM) discs, are more efficient, and the brake pads last twice as long.
New aerodynamics are designed to increase downforce over the rear axle. They include a new rear diffuser and rear flaps. Ferrari says the changes have increased aerodynamic efficiency by 25 per cent.
Invited customers buy into the FXX evolution package, which includes participation in six track events a year – two in North America, two in Europe and two in Asia.
At the tracks, cars will be tended by a 15-member factory team of engineers, electronics experts and mechanics.
Clients can also organise private individual track sessions in their cars.