|Production|| 1987 - 1992|
|Body Style||2-door, 2-seat Mid-engined Berlinetta|
|Transmission||5-speed Manual, RWD|
|Engine||2.9 litre twin-turbocharged V8|
|Power|| 478 hp @ 7000 rpm|
426 lb-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm
The Ferrari F40 is a supercar that was produced by Ferrari from 1987 to 1992 as the successor to the 288 GTO, with which it shared some parts. During its production run, the F40 was Ferrari's fastest, most powerful and most expensive vehicle and it remains one of the highest performing street legal vehicles ever produced.
The F40 was in the most literal sense designed as the successor to the company's GTO supercar, but the project's meaning ran deeper. At ninety years old, Enzo Ferrari was keenly aware that his life was coming to an end, and was somewhat disappointed that Ferrari's dominance in international motorsport had faded somewhat over the years. As a result, Enzo wanted a new pet project put into the pipelines, something that could remind the world of the company's capabilities as a manufacturer as well as provide both a competitor to the Porsche 959 and come to be his masterpiece; the company's impending 40th anniversary provided just the right occasion for the car to debut. The plan was simple: create a vehicle that combined the company's best technologies into a no-frills sports car that would come as close as possible to being a full fledged race vehicle while still retaining the necessary equipment to be a street-legal product. It was the last car to be commissioned by Enzo himself before his death.
It was intended that there were to be 400 F40s made, all painted red.
The F40 was designed with aerodynamics in mind, and is very much a creation of its time. For speed the car relied more on its power than its shape. 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. Power came from an enlarged, 2.9 litre version of the GTO's twin IHI turbocharged V8 developing 478 bhp (356 kW) under 16 PSI (110 kPa) of boost. The suspension setup, like the GTO's, remained a 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.
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 and no carpets, sound system or door handles were installed. Early cars had fixed windows, although newer windows that could be rolled down were installed into later cars and the F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990 when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons.
It was originally intended to be built for Group B circuit racing which required the regulation Gr. B minimum of 200, but the car never saw competition as early as 1989 when it debuted in the Laguna Seca round of the IMSA, 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
The F40 was discontinued in 1992 and in 1995 was succeeded by the F50, which until a newer generation of factory backed GT1 cars that came along, remained competitive.
The F40's light weight of 1100 kg and high power output of 478 hp @ 7000 rpm gave the vehicle tremendous performance potential. Road tests have produced 0-60 times as low as 3.5 seconds, with 0-100mph in 7.6 seconds, giving the F40 a slight advantage in acceleration over the 959, which was considered its primary competitor at the time. From its introduction in 1987 until 1989, it held the record as the world's fastest production car, with an unofficial top speed of 201 mph; the record was broken by the RUF CTR "Yellowbird", owing to the RUF's 211 mile-per-hour top speed - although the F40 could still outrun it to sixty. The top speed was publicly proven capable of its rated top speed in 1992 through an infamous incident in which a Japanese dealership owner proved the car's potential by filming himself touching its top speed on a expressway only to be arrested after he sold a videotape to a undercover policeman. By that time, he already sold ten thousand videos.
Pricing and Production Edit
The car debuted with a factory MSRP of around $400,000, although some buyers were reported as paying as much as $1.6 million dollars for their F40 in the early 90's supercar boom. Today, prices usually hover around the $300,000 mark to $450,000 for cleaner examples. The resale value is lower than that of other Ferrari supercars because of the large production numbers of the F40. As a result of that and being made available to anybody, whom many brought the car purely as an investment at the time. Ferrari, onward in order to deter investors, only invited loyal customers, later to change that to a requirement of buying two brand new models from its showrooms, to buy their future supercars with a contract tied to it to prevent a quick resale and would learn its lesson by refusing to produce over the initial amount.
The F40 was the first road legal production car to break the 200mph (322kph) barrier.
In 2004, Sports Car International ranked the F40 at number five on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic placed the F40 as number ten in their list of the ten "Greatest Ferraris of all time".
In addition, Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC's Top Gear television show, has listed the F40 as his personal favorite supercar, based on the simplicity of the car compared to later, more technologically advanced supercars.
In Popular MediaEdit
- Art of Fighting and Art of Fighting 2 (1992 & 1994): Robert Garcia is the F40's Owner in both games, in Art of Fighting 2, it appears at the background
- Joshua Tree (1993) featured a Ferrari F40 (which is based on a Pontiac Fiero kit car).
- RPM (1998) showed a Ferrari F40 racing on the track.
- Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) briefly featured a Ferrari F40 in the background of a Ferrari garage, and on display in a Ferrari dealership.
- The F40 is considered a popular choice of model by Sega especially with Ferrari enthusiast Yu Suzuki's Sega-AM2 department in which it makes its first appearance in Turbo Outrun, where the male driver in the game drives a fictitious convertible F40 and as the usual hardtop version, also appears in OutRun 2, its updated version OutRun 2 SP and Sumo Digital's port of the latter version called OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast. The F40 also appears in the Chase HQ cashing-in game, Battle Out Run, and appears as a competition evolution of the Ennea/Igol team in Sega Super GT and Le Mans 24.
- In the Mega Drive Shinobi game, The Revenge of Shinobi (1989), in one level, a group of F40s appear on top of each other with its roofline crushed down, to make them appear as junk cars.
- In the 1988 James Bond themed arcade game Sly Spy (Secret Agent in some countries), at some levels, the lead character brakes his F40 to a halt and hops out of the car to start the level.
- The F40 can also be seen in Project Gotham Racing 2 and its third installment, Project Gotham Racing 3 and also in Forza Motorsport.
- One of its early videogame appearance was in Codemasters' budget game Twin Turbo V8 and Titus Interactive's Crazy Cars 2 both released in 1989.
- Test Drive II: The Duel (1989), also as a competitor to a Porche 959
- GTA: San Andreas (2005) features a car known as the Turismo, which is based heavily on the F40 LM and is the fastest supercar in the game, with the Infernus (modelled on a Honda NSX) a close second.
- One episode of The Simpsons features Rainier Wolfcastle driving an Italian sports car which resembles an F40. The car is rammed into by Marge, to which Rainier reacts shouting "My Farrari! I had to do awful things to pay for her!", subsequently assaulting Marge's car with a golf iron. Marge, panicking, stole the F40. Later in the episode, Marge runs out of gas while driving, to which she remarks, "Lousy Italian gauges." it is also seen parked in a sliding door, the doors repeatedly closing on the car, then opening.
- The Transformers characters of Braver and the second Lightspeed turn into F40s.
- In the Top Gear DVD release Top Gear Apocolypse James May features the F40 as one of his last drives.
- Buckley, Martin & Rees, Chris (1998). World Encyclopedia of Cars. London. Anness Publishing. ISBN 1-84038-083-7
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