Interview with Ferrari's F12tdf, From Rear-Wheel Steering to LaFerrari Track Time Menace

Ferrari F12tdf 8 photos
Photo: Ferrari
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In case you happen to read this on your mobile device while going through Maranello, Italy, make sure to pack a bottle of champagne for later in the day. You will only join the party held by Ferrari employees, who are celebrating the introduction of the Ferrari F12tdf.
Yes, we know, “Tour de France” may sound like an unusual name for the fastest road-going Ferrari money can buy nowadays (the LaFerrari is sold out, remember?). This obviously raises a few questions, and we’ve tried to answer these in an interview with the car itself.

autoevolution: What are you?

Ferrari F12tdf: First of all, I’m a Ferrari, which means I can start with whatever I want to. So I’ll introduce myself by first telling you to forget all about the GTO or Speciale nameplates you expected me to receive.

And I don’t want to hear a word about bicycles. My name is a nod to the Tour de France endurance road race. You know, the one Ferrari dominated from 1956 through 1964.

You might be familiar with a certain Ferrari 250 GT Tour De France. That’s my spiritual great-grandfather. It was expected to fetch about $11 million (EUR9.7 million) at an auction this summer, and while I can’t talk about my own price right now, you should know my family will only have 799 members. Expect one to remain in the Great Stable, which means only 798 of you will be able to buy me.

Many have already done it, so you’d better reschedule that meeting and call your Prancing Horse friends if you want us to get together.

ae: what are the achievements you’re most proud of?

F12tdf: When you lap Fiorano just 1.3s behind the LaFerrari, it puts a big smile on your fascia (1 minute and 21 seconds). Make no mistake, though, I’m no F12berlinetta (1 minute and 23 seconds). I've lost both that smiling mouth and the utherus-shaped rear apron. In fact, my new aero package is so extreme, my aerodynamic efficiency has doubled (1.6), while my downforce is almost 90 percent greater - 507 lbs at 124 mph (230 kg at 200 km/h).

You can see the updates all around me, but, as narcissistic as it might sound, when I look in my door mirrors, I love to see those louvers on my hips. How many road cars that take aerodynamic advantage of the rear wheelarches have you seen? You see, I’m special because those openings extract air from my inner wheelarches, increasing aero efficiency for the area.

And while other companies install a bigger rear wing (I have one too, you know?) and call it a day, the engineers even made the rear window more upright to maximise the effect of that wing.

ae: That sounds memorable, but didn’t Enzo once say aerodynamics are for those who can’t build engines?

F12tdf: You can quote me on this one - my 6,262cc V12 is up 40 PS and 11 lb-ft (15 Nm). With 780 PS at 8,500 rpm and 705 Nm at 6,750 rpm, I am only 20 PS short of the LaFerrari’s internal combustion engine.

And I don’t even need that electric assistance, 80 percent of that twist comes at 2,500 rpm.

Since most of the humans that'll own me will put me through my paces on the track rather than use me for cross-continent trips, my gear ratios are now six percent shorter. Upshifts are 30 percent faster and downshifts happen 40 percent quicker. So you’ll dream about playing with my seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Oh, and just wait till the first time I’ll be spotted on a track. The voice of my V12 will give you an eargasm. I can bet it on my 8,900 rpm redline!

ae: What about the handling?

F12tdf: I didn’t want to mention this, since it will make all of you who can’t afford the Corse Clienti customer racing program feel bad. You see, all the XX action hasn’t been just for fun. We’ve now learned how to build “extremely high performance cars driven by non-professional drivers”.

If you’re lucky enough to grab me by the Manettino, you’ll understand everything. Until then, I’ll have you know my front tires have jumped from 255 to 275, while turning fanatics will be happy to know that my front wheels have gone from 9.5 inches to 10 inches (in width, dooh).

Sure, this alone would’ve led to understeer at the limit. And since most of you are not exactly prepared for it, I now pack rear-axle steering.

ae: But a Renault Megane has that nowadays.

F12tdf: A what? Never mind, I’m certain it doesn’t have a Virtual Short Wheelbase that uses “model-based control logic developed entirely in-house by Ferrari”. Expect more agility at lower speeds and extra stability for those speeding moments.

ae: We can’t end this interview without the good old straight line numbers.

F12tdf: Don’t worry about it, I’m ready to give keyboard warriors something to chew on. I didn’t lose 240 lbs (109 kg) in vain. Provided you’re ready to tick all the optional carbon fiber stuff, I’ll tip the scales at 3,120 lbs (1,415 kg).

How about a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) time of 2.9 seconds, or a 0 to 124 mph (200 km/h) of 7.9 seconds? Aventador SV who?

ae: maximum velocity and stopping power?

F12tdf: You don’t actually expect me to answer that, right? I’ll just let Youtube tell you how far I can climb past 211 mph (340 km/h).

Stopping power? As Mario Andretti once said, "It's amazing how many drivers think the brakes are for slowing the car down”. I’ll just tell you I pack LaFerrari brake calipers. I can stop from 62 mph in 100 feet (30.5 meters) and from 124 mph in 397 feet (121 meters). Carbon ceramic, of course.

Also, I’ve reconsidered some things and I want to return to the financial details. I’m well aware of the jokes about Ferrari owners not needing a luggage compartment, since they only travel with their credit card. Well, now you’ll have to keep that card in your pants, since I don’t pack a glovebox anymore.

P.S.: We didn’t want to let the F12tdf know we’re objectifying it, and yet we can’t help but see it as anything else than a naturally aspirated Tour de Force. This is probaly the last V12-powered Ferrari we get without electron juice assistance, and the end of an era is always worth savoring.
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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