After my continuous streak of writing horological posts, I think it's time for a break. It's been a while since I last made a car related post, and about time, too. Moreover, what is a better partner to timekeeping than automobiles, given the blood relation between the two, going back over a century.
Since then, both have endured hardships, and tide-changing moments. Just as mechanical timekeeping had an existential crisis upon the emergence of Quartz technology in the 1970s, the internal combustion engine that some of us have known and loved, are now experiencing that very moment.
Credits to: GIPHY
With pressure to create ever smarter and friendlier cars, old-fashioned technology such as fossil fuel combustion is going the way of the dodo, as has been said many times before. Electrification and autonomy are starting to take their place, but not before the Old Guard can have its swansong.
Among those in the Vanguard for combustion technology is the Prancing Horse from Maranello, fighting hard to keep its traditions alive. Throughout its history, the peak of the Ferrari echelon, its flagship - is a V12 Grand-Tourer. It has never been under greater threat, than in today's world of regulations.
Credits to: Netcarshow (812 Superfast, F12 Berlinetta, 599 GTB Fioranno, 550 Maranello)
The Homologation Years.
Currently, at the top of the Ferrari food chain is the 812 Superfast. So called, because of its 800 horsepower, V12 engine. As has been rumoured, and certainly expected, it might see the release of a new, high-end, limited-edition variant.
This is common for Ferrari, as almost each model receives a limited-edition variant to their standard production counterpart, usually seen on their mid-engined V8 sports cars, but is also becoming a trend for their flagship, front-engined V12 grand-tourers. Previously, we have seen the 599 GTO, 599 SA Aperta, F12tdf, and the 812 will also be due for its special edition soon.
Credits to: Netcarshow (F12tdf, 599 SA Aperta, 599 GTO, 550 Barchetta)
A couple of months ago, the 812 has been released as a convertible, wearing the GTS moniker, and is the first standard production V12 grand-touring roadster Ferrari in 50 years. Earlier than that, the 812's architecture was used to spawn the ultra-exclusive and expensive, Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 - the first of Ferrari's new Icona series of cars, which will take inspiration from its classical automobiles.
Now, there has been photographs from the field, showing an 812 in camouflage driving around on the public roads. This can only mean, that a replacement to the F12tdf is in the works. It has been rumoured that this successor will be carrying the famed "GTO " name, which is certainly a heavy burden, just like naming your son 'Jesus Christ'.
Credits to: Netcarshow (Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2)
Now for a bit of history on the etymology, and the significance of the GTO mark in automotive history. "GTO" stands for Gran Turismo Omologato, which is Italian for Grand-Touring Homologated. 'Homologation' is a process where cars specified for racing, are also earmarked for standard production, to ensure that companies don't create unfairly overpowered machines.
For example, in a motorsports series where a company has created 10 racing cars, they may be required to manufacture 200 of those same cars, regulated for road use, and certified to be purchased by regular consumers. In the context of 'GTO', this means that those cars have been homologated from the Grand-Touring class of racing cars.
Credits to: Petrolicious - YouTube (The Ferrari 250 GTO Speaks for Itself)
In Ferrari's history, this began with the 250 GTO in the 1960s, which had a 3.0L V12. This is followed by the 288 GTO in the 1980s, which is the only GTO to carry a twin-turbo V8, in a mid-engined layout. Following a long hiatus, the bloodline was continued by the 599 GTO, following the original front-engine V12 recipe. Later, the recently launched 488 Pista was first rumoured to carry the GTO nameplate, but this proved to be false.
Now, the 812 could have a GTO sibling, one more hardcore and uncompromising. Based on the photos of test mules running around, this GTO variant will have better aerodynamics, surely to contend with having more power. The front, side, and rear of this 812 has more venting to add greater downforce than what was achieved with the Superfast.
Credits to: Instagram - lorenzornm (Ferrari 812 "GTO" Spy Shots)
With larger intakes and wider fenders, this means more power. As has been rumoured, the long-standing F140 V12 engine will be tuned to 850 horsepower, and best of all, revving up to 9000 or even 9500 RPM - which will be a treat for the ears. Would this be the last of an era for V12s?
Back To The Future.
It's worth noting, that while V12s are coming under intense scrutiny from sound and emissions regulations, Ferrari is working hard to make them a reality, having spent much time, effort, and money to find a place for a V12 in our electric future.
Following strong commitments by Ferrari themselves, along with leaks and patent filings seem to suggest that the 812, thankfully, may not be the last V12 Ferrari. It would appear that Ferrari is redesigning a new V12, following the current structure that has been in use since the Enzo, as perfect as it is.
Credits to: Netcarshow (Ferrari Enzo)
Ferrari's future 12-cylinder motor will be regulations friendly, and it may still be a wonderful engine to behold and experience - to be placed in Ferrari's grand-tourers, one-offs, and it might also fit in their Purosangue SUV that will come in the future.
The only question to ask then, is that kind of a V12 will it be? The 812's 6.5L naturally-aspirated V12 is a jewel of an engine, and it's worth paying full price just for that block. In American terms, it's also a hot-rod, as Ferrari had simply increased the displacement in exchange for additional power over its successor, a bare upsizing from 6.3 litres.
Though what can we expect in the future? Ferrari has said that hybridisation will only be practical for smaller displacement engines, like their future V6s, and maybe even V8s. While Ferrari did fit hybrid technology to the V12-powered LaFerrari, it doesn't make sense for a production car.
What about turbocharging? This could be a simple fix to comply with strict regulations, although it would make it a controversial choice, as there are inherent differences in character. Apart from power delivery, it will change the engine's soundtrack. While the Italians do make some of the most charismatic sounding cars on the planet, turbo-charging may just put a muffle on them.
Credits to: Artstation - Andrea Sanna (LaFerrari Hybrid V12 Powertrain)
For instance, Aston Martin's glorious 6.0L V12 was a marvel to behold, and to hear. Once they've moved on to twin-turbochargers with their new 5.2L motor, it instantly doesn't sound as good. Personally, it was a turn-off to an otherwise orgasmic howl. Few things excite the eardrums more than a creamy, N/A V12.
However, Ferrari could just make its way around the problems that Aston had stumbled upon. The Cavallino Rampante has been doing a lot of clever engineering, as is their forte. While the Italian carmaking industry is known more for flair and romance, Ferrari is the exception, employing science and state-of-the-art technology in designing their cars.
Credits to: Artstation - Andrea Sanna (LaFerrari Hybrid V12 Powertrain)
Perhaps then this is bred from their competitiveness to win in motorsports. In that case, they could re-engineer their future V12 in a way that could keep its character (read: no turbochargers ), and to still comply with regulatory scrutiny. It would be the same way that Mazda is seeking to keep the internal combustion engine alive for longer, by developing their clever SkyActiv-X engine.
It has all the things that we love from petrol-cars (including cleanliness ), while also having the efficiency of a diesel. So, while the current crop of V12 Ferraris won't be the last, we're still not sure how they'll be developed for the future. For now, we can put some faith that Ferrari will find a way.
All Good Things Come To An End.
Credits to: Car and Driver (Ferrari 812 Review)
The 812 Superfast marks the beginning of the end, and for the time being, it is my favourite Ferrari. Even when comparing it to the grandeur of Ferrari's history, the 812 has the perfect blend of performance, luxury, comfort, and above all - emotion.
It is an impassionate beast, and if I had the money, I would've definitely bought an 812. It is for that reason, that I'm excited to see what comes out of it next, in this "GTO" guise, just to see the true breadth of capability that it will have.
Eventually, the V12 may just disappear, even with some companies like Ferrari strongly In favour of keeping it in fashion. Come 2025, Ferrari will be ready to show the world an electrifying future, and the same way ardent horseback riders got used to driving cars, we will just have to get along with electric vehicles.
Credits to: Instagram - CarNewsNetwork (Ferrari 812 "GTO" Render)
Credits to: GIPHY
On a last, final sidenote, the ear infection that had annoyed me while writing the last post is slowly going away. No longer will I have to contend with endless doses of painkillers, and no more will I have to tolerate the endless throbbing, and stinging pain from my ear canals. All in all, good stuff, so my writing schedule is back on track.