Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

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The arrival of the new Ferrari GTC4Lusso has changed the sporty four-seater four-wheel drive Grand Tourer concept forever. The GTC4Lusso’s name references illustrious predecessors, such as the 330 GTC or its 2+2 sister model, the 330 GT – one of Enzo Ferrari’s favourites – and the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, which represented a sublime combination of elegance and high performance. The number 4 alludes to the car’s four comfortable seats.

The Ferrari FF is a monster, a four-wheel-drive bread van with a 6.3-liter V12 that people like us have adored since it arrived in 2011. It’s great to drive and better to look at, a shooting brake with more power, less practicality, and a higher price tag than pretty much anything else in this shape. Ferrari has sold almost 6,000 of them, handily beating its target of 800 per year. It was a success by any measure.

2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso
Its replacement, the GTC4Lusso, might sound like something out of Ferrari’s mad, bad Sixties brochures, but under the skin is pretty much the same aluminum-alloy space frame of the FF. Ferrari has carefully listened to its critics on practicality, price, and power, and duly made the GTC more powerful, pricier, and not much more practical.

There have been some slight stylistic adjustments. A scallop was cut into the front fender and door skins to reduce the visual weight, and the roofline has been extended, terminating in a slight spoiler at the waist, which is said to improve aerodynamic efficiency by up to six percent. It looks sharp and mean on its 20-inch five-spoke alloys, although some of the detail, such as the wing vents and the absurdly long hood, verge on the cartoonish.

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The engine drives a rear-mounted, seven-speed, twin-clutch transaxle and then there is that extraordinary four-wheel-drive system, which consists of a simple, helical-cut, hydraulically controlled gearbox running off the front of the crankshaft. It weighs 100 pounds and has two speeds plus reverse and a couple of Haldex-type clutches to activate each wheel when required in first to fourth gears and at speeds below 124 mph. New for the GTC is a ZF rear-steering system, a ram powered by an electric motor that pushes the rear suspension against its bushings to give a couple of degrees steering in either direction. Driving these systems, together with the F1 electronic rear differential, electronic stability system, magnetorheological adjustable dampers, and the torque vectoring, is handled by Ferrari’s fourth-generation side-slip-control system. It’s a mighty task of calibration and we’ll come back to this, but the system is designed to improve the car’s stability and agility from fast to slow speeds on bone dry or icy road surfaces. Ferrari claims a five percent improvement in responsiveness (the reduction in steering delay) and an eight percent improvement in agility (the reduction in steering response).

The Ferrari Enzo

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Ken Okuyama is a talented designer with a prestigious portfolio. He spent 12 years at the famed Italian design house Pininfarina after a stint with GM’s Advanced Design Studio, where he worked on the C5 Corvette. He also styled the Boxster and 996-generation 911 atPorsche. His first Ferrari design was the Rossa concept car, though his most famous creation is the Enzo.

Another reason is that just like horses were a means of transport 100 or so years ago, up until Henry Fordmass-produced the Model T. Now, maybe sports cars are becoming like horses. Now, horses are a great object for hobby, sports, and part of the Olympics and everything. Cars are going to be like that also. Dr. Porsche [was asked what type of] automobile is going to last for the longest time. He said, “the sports car.” I really believe in that, because with sports cars, you never lose a sense of ownership.

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Ken Okuyama: It is a really fantastic time for designers because of two reasons. One is that the public and private transport have been two separate, completely different industries up until now. Now, when you think about the future of autonomy, that really brings the automobiles into something more of a public transportation. You really have to think about the total experience of the customers from buying the ticket to the paying mechanism. That’s just hardware, actually. It is a huge challenge for engineers and designers, and I really love that. That’s one reason.

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Autonomous vehicles are things you don’t have to own. You have to design a total experience and the whole operation. A car, you want to own it. It’s part of you. Your mechanical watches, do you borrow them from somebody? You want to own it. Your suits, your favorite shirts, you want to borrow them from somebody for your experience? No, you want to own it. Ownership is a core part of human beings. I’m really excited.

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Now Okuyama runs a design studio that not only is responsible for the new Kode57 supercar that debuted inMonterey this past weekend, but also eye glasses, civic planning, and even Japanese bullet trains. We caught up with Okuyama at the Concorso Italiano car show, plopped down on a couple of plush leather chairs right in front of his brand new Kode57, and chatted about what the future holds for car design.

Ferrari and Red Bull test larger 2017 tyres

Sebastian Buemi testing Pirelli's new-for-2017 tyres in a modified Red Bull RB11 at Mugello, Italy on 3rd August 2016 © Pirelli

Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli continued its testing programme for its new wider, faster 2017 tyres at Mugello on Wednesday, with Red Bull test and reserve driver Sebastien Buemi completing 82 laps of the Italian circuit in a modified RB11.

The two-day Mugello session, which continues on Thursday, comes hot on the heels of Pirelli’s test with Ferrari at Fiorano, during which Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Gutierrez tested wet and intermediate compounds in an adapted SF15-T.

Buemi, who had not driven Formula One machinery for two years, was tasked with running slick tyres, with Pirelli fitting his car, which had been specially set-up to simulate 2017 performance levels, with a variety of compounds and new constructions.

As per the agreed terms of the programme, Red Bull were not given information on what they were testing, and are obliged to share data gathered with the other teams.

Ferrari and Mercedes will take over testing duties for the next stage of the programme, with the former running at Barcelona on September 6-7 and the latter at Paul Ricard on September 6-8.

James Allison leaves Ferrari

Image result for james allisonFerrari and technical director James Allison have jointly decided to part ways, the team announced on Wednesday.

Allison departs the Italian squad three years after joining from Lotus.

Mattia Binotto will take on the role of chief technical officer, having previously been power unit director.

“The Team would like to thank James for his commitment and sacrifice during the time spent together, and wishes him success and serenity for his future endeavors,” said Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.

Allison commented: “During the years I spent at Ferrari, at two different stages and covering different roles, I could get to know and appreciate the value of the team and of the people, women and men, which are part of it.

“I want to thank them all for the great professional and human experience we shared. I wish everybody a happy future with lots of success.”

Allison’s departure comes amid a slightly disappointing campaign for the Scuderia, during which they have yet to register a victory.

Raikkonen to continue with Ferrari in 2017

Ferrari have confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen will continue to drive for the team in 2017.

There was speculation that the Finn and 2007 world champion could lose his seat, a threat that had loomed in 2014 and 2015 but with a smaller driver market the Scuderia opted to leave their lineup unchanged.

Ferrari were thought to be looking into hiring Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen or Carlos Sainz but all three were recently confirmed in their seats.

A statement issued on behalf of team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said: “Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen.”

“The driver line-up for the 2017 racing season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel.”

Raikkonen rejoined the team in 2014 following a three-year stint between 2007 and 2009 during which he won the world championship in his first season with the team. He has taken four of the team’s nine podium finish so far this year and is tied with Vettel on 96 points.

Sunday’s race will be Raikkonen’s 100th as a Ferrari driver. His most recent victory for them was at Spa-Francorchamps in 2009.

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