F12 continues Ferrari's high-revving tradition - Autoweek


F12 continues Ferrari's high-revving tradition - Autoweek




F12 continues Ferrari’s

high-revving tradition


to be taken lightly: the fastest

Ferrari ever built. That’s how

the Prancing Horse is billing its latest

high-revving V12 supercar, the F12


It’s a heady claim, rooted in performance

and punctuated by design

panache, and Ferrari has supported


the F12’s debut at the Geneva motor

show with the full force of its heritage

and modern technology.

All of the company’s hallmarks are in

evidence: Pininfarina styling, a Formula

One gearbox, a lightweight aluminum

spaceframe chassis and, of course, prodigious

power. Ferrari has been synonymous

with 12-cylinders since the very

first one, the 125 S in 1947, and that has

endured through to the current 599 GTB


The engine is the heart that pumps the

blue blood through the veins of the red

cars, and the F12’s engine continues that

lineage. Displacing 6.3 liters (6,262 cc),

with the cylinders banked at 65 degrees,

the engine makes 730 hp and 509 lb-ft of

torque, with 80 percent of the twist available

at just 2,500 rpm. The engine revs

all the way to the stratospheric limit of

8,700 rpm and can propel the car from

0 to 62 mph in 3.1 seconds. Top speed is

more than 211 mph, and the car laps the

fabled Fiorano circuit in 1 minute, 23 seconds,

faster than any other road-going

Ferrari model.

The F12 replaces the 599 in the company’s

lineup, and aside from a frontmounted

mid-engine layout, it’s markedly

improved compared with its predecessor.

The F12 is stiffer, lighter and

more powerful (the 599’s V12 made 611

hp). Structural rigidity is increased 20 percent,

and the car weighs 3,362 pounds,

with 54 percent of that distributed over

the rear axle. The Scaglietti-designed

aluminum spaceframe chassis and body

shell are all-new and use a dozen different

alloys. The wheelbase was shortened, and

the engine, dashboard and seats sit lower

than in the 599.

Inside are leather, carbon-fiber and aluminum

venting and a small cargo hold

behind the seats.

The F12 also gets carbon-ceramic

brakes, a magnetic suspension and improved

aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.

Pininfarina collaborated with Ferrari’s

styling center to craft a design that

evokes the looks of the FF and the 458

Italia while saluting great Berlinettas—

sporty coupes—of the past.

The Prancing Horse has made 12

cylinders dance in a singular manner

for 65 years. The tradition continues.





Classic transports shine at Ocean Reef event




Fla., conveyances

such as golf carts

to get around the tony island

community are almost as important

as full-size transport.


Consider the Club-Car, E-Z-

Go and other carts dressed

as Hummers, Bentley Continental

GTs, a couple of

1932 Ford Roadsters and,

yes, even a Chrysler 200.

Try as they might, though,

they are not enough to overshadow

the collection that

1. A 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Open Tourer and a

1926 Silver Ghost Roadster. 2. The Shepsl X, a 1986

Burger Yacht. 3. A 1954 Buick Skylark convertible shows

off its “choppers.” 4. Crowds check out the cars. 5.

Schwartz’s rocket-powered bicycle zips down the

runway. 6. A 1942 F8F Bearcat waits in the flight line.

appears each year in December

to signify the start of

“the season.”

Now in its 17th running,

the Ocean Reef Club’s Vintage

Weekend offers a display

of classic motor yachts and

airplanes, but the car is still

star. That is, if you exclude

Bob Schwartz’s rocket-powered

bicycle, which made

50-mph passes on the runway

at Ocean Reef’s airport.

Schwartz claimed that he

could have gone faster but

was limited by strong headwinds.

The Vintage Weekend has

hosted numerous Best of

Show winners from Pebble

Beach, Amelia Island,

Meadow Brook (now the

Concours d’Elegance of

America) and other concours

events around the country.

Entries for the 2011 event,

with the best selection of participants

yet, included the

stately 1931 Avions-Voisin

C20 Mylord Demi-Berline of

John W. Rich and the unusual

1930 Stutz two-door coupe

of William T. Gacioch. The

Stutz was originally commissioned

by Adolph Schneider

and was custom outfitted

with an extended body and

trunk to accommodate the

prodigious luggage collection

of Mrs. Schneider.

Also notable was the 1954

EMW 327/3 of Rocky and

Henry Grady of Palm City,

Fla. EMWs were built in the

BMW Eisenach factory in

East Germany following

World War II. The factory

was operated by the Soviets

and given over to the East

Germans, who changed the

name from BMW to EMW

(Eisenacher Motorenwerk).

“Emma,” as the car is

known, appeared resplendent



in Bolshevik Red and Black,

along with the car’s owner

and caretaker, Rocky Grady.

In total, 80 vehicles—including

one perfectly restored

1962 Mack Conventional

truck belonging to Granvil

Tracy of Miami—crossed

the stage.

Dockside, antique yachts

from such builders as Rybovich

and Trumpy joined featured

marque Burger Boat

Company in holding openhouse

tours. The number of

shoes on the dock (it is customary

to remove one’s shoes

before boarding) attested



3 4

to the popularity of Marty

Sutter’s 108-foot 1973 Burger


As for aircraft, the range

included Juan Robbin’s 1957

classic Piper Super Cub, John

Nordt’s 1942 Ryan PT-22

trainer and the 1942 F8F

Bearcat in Blue Angels colors

owned by John O’Connor.

A special guest was former

Cuban Air Force fighter

pilot Orestes Lorenzo Perez,

who in 1991 defected to the

United States with his Cuban

MiG-23 aircraft. But his story

did not end there. A year

later, he flew back to Cuba

under cloak of darkness to

pick up his wife and two

young children and whisk

them back to the States.

The Vintage Weekend

is not a judged event but,

according to committee

member Ron Elenbaas, one

that is held “only for fun.”

Visitors can vote on the

People’s Choice and Best

in Show awards.

Best in Show winners were

Rich’s 1931 Avions-Voisin

and Tim Patterson’s polished-skin

1952 Beech 18.

People’s Choice was Sutter’s

Burger. c








had a reputation for

putting cars on U.S.

roads that lasted about as

long as a good steak dinner.

That was back in the bad ol’

1970s and ’80s—you remember,

“Fix It Again, Tony” and

all that.

The company officially

left our shores, corporate

head hung in shame, in 1983,

then returned last year with

the spunky 500. How would

the cars fare here in terms of

reliability this time around?

That’s what we wanted to

know, so we’ve added a

42 AUTOWEEK MARCH 19, 2012

500 to our long-term fleet.

Anticipating summer

warmth, we ordered a 500C,

the cabriolet version. We

went with the Pop model as

opposed to the more costly

Lounge trim or the J. Lo-favored

Gucci. The Pop and

the Lounge are similar cars,

with the Lounge adding a bit

more equipment such as a

standard automatic transmission—which,

given the car’s

101 hp, we would have paid

extra to avoid. Our car’s base

price was $20,000, and we

added a Bose premium audio

package, satellite radio and

aluminum wheels, bringing

the total to $21,750.

Weighing in at 2,416

pounds, our little white Fiat

is powered by the corporate

1.4-liter SOHC MultiAir

four-banger, wheezing out

a measly 98 lb-ft of torque.

The output might not light

your fire, but the MultiAir

has a global reputation for

being efficient, and Fiat

promises 30 mpg in the city

and 38 mpg on the highway.

So far, we find the car cute

and fun to drive, although if

you define quick 0-to-60mph

times as fun, then the

numbers might disappoint

you. We’ve done some tracktesting

out in Los Angeles,

and the car required 11.1 seconds

to reach 60 mph from

a standstill (18.0 seconds in

the quarter-mile at 75 mph)

—not really what many of us

around here consider fun.

How it handles also depends

on your perspective.

The 500 feels nimble and

light on its feet. It’s small

and easy to park. For the

most part, the old saying that

it’s more fun to drive a slow

car fast than a fast car slow

applies here, but if serious

understeer is a problem

for you, then you will be

bummed. With or without

electronic stability control

on, the car exhibits a heaping

helping of push. True, it handled

our slalom well enough,

but that’s because of its 90.6inch

wheelbase more than


Body motions are more

controlled than we expected

in the 500C, but our test

team reported that “it felt

like one of those cars from

Pixar’s Cars, where the suspension

links extend out and

the wheel is reaching around

the cones in a desperate attempt

to get a fast time.”

That said, we doubt that

many potential 500 buyers

will race it, even though it’s

one of the Sports Car Club of

America’s B-Spec cars. Our

Fiat is a fine little buggy in

which to zip around town.

The structure is solid (the

500C has a beefed-up front

crossmember, stiffer B-pillars

and a couple of other mods

over the coupe). Those looking

for more performance

surely will be happier with

the sporty Abarth version.

The cloth power top



2012 Fiat

500C Pop



Base (includes $500

delivery): $20,000

As-tested price: $21,750

Options: Customer

Preferred package 21A

with Bose premium

audio system, one-year

SiriusXM satellite-radio

subscription, Russo

seats, Bordeaux soft top

($1,250); 15-inch fiveoval-spoke

painted aluminum

wheels ($500)


Wheelbase (in): 90.6

Track (in): 55.4 front,

55.0 rear


(in): 139.6/64.1/59.8

works beautifully. Press the

button, and it slides open

like a big sunroof. Hit it

again, and the top opens fully

and drops behind the rear


So, we have a year to see

whether Fiat has gotten its

Curb weight/GVWR (lb):



Transverse 1.4-liter/

83-cid SOHC I4

Power: 101 hp

@ 6,500 rpm

Torque: 98 lb-ft

@ 4,000 rpm

Compression ratio:


Fuel requirement: 87

octane acceptable, 91

octane recommended


Front-wheel drive

Transmission: Five-speed


Final drive ratio: 3.73:1


Front: MacPherson struts

with coil springs, twintube

shock absorbers,

antiroll bar

Rear: Rear twist-beam

with coil springs, twin-

tube shock absorbers,

antiroll bar



Vented discs front, solid

discs rear, ABS; aluminum


Firestone Firehawk GTH


EPA combined: 33 mpg






0-60 mph: 11.10 sec


18.00 sec @ 75.2 mph


60-0 mph: 120.4 ft


490-ft slalom: 44.8 mph

Lateral acceleration

(200-ft skidpad): 0.80 g

reliability act together. For

now, we predict that those

on staff who whine about

the car being too slow or not

handling well enough will be

looking for the keys once the

temps rise and the sun

comes out. c

MARCH 19, 2012 AUTOWEEK 43






Sebastian Vettel’s domination

didn’t spoil the Formula One season



on 2011


the 2011 Formula One

World Championship

might not have gone down

to the final race, but the in-

dividual races were exciting.

That’s a common

opinion of many in the

paddock, including F1

boss Bernie Ecclestone,

the man ultimately responsible

for creating the show.

“Obviously, I would


Formula One World Championship

was very different from the previous

year’s contest, which saw four drivers

still in contention at the final round

in Abu Dhabi.

When Sebastian Vettel crossed the

line to win the last Grand Prix of 2010,

it marked the first time all year that the

mercurial German had led the championship.

In contrast, Vettel’s 11 wins in

19 races this year made it look easy.

It was not, but he logged such an impressive

run of early wins (six in the first

eight events) and podium places (he finished

outside of the top three just twice

all year and was first or second 16 times)

that the opposition by midseason essentially

conceded that it was over. Vettel

officially clinched his second crown in

Japan, where so many titles have been

won in the past, with four races still to

run. He finished the year with a haul of

392 points, 122 clear of championship

runner-up Jenson Button.

Vettel made virtually no mistakes in

races all season and demonstrated total

mastery of the complex rules, making

the most of systems such as DRS and

rather the championship

was like it was before: the

last corner of the last lap

of the last race,” he said.

“But I think the racing

has been good this year.

People like to watch each

race, and when they’re

watching the race, they

don’t say, ‘This is the

championship position,’

and calculate the points.

At the end of the race,

maybe they do, but during

the race, they just watch

the race.

KERS, as well as tire strategy. His form

in qualifying was extraordinary as he

earned a record 15 poles. Only in the

final two races did his luck finally run

out, with a tire puncture stopping him

in Abu Dhabi and a gearbox problem

slowing him in Brazil.

The latter allowed teammate Mark

Webber to score his only win of the

season. The Aussie, a title contender

in 2010, was thoroughly outclassed by

his younger teammate all year.

Perhaps surprisingly, Vettel’s domination

did not mean that the season was

boring. McLaren-Mercedes and, to a

lesser degree, Ferrari, kept Red Bull

Racing on its toes and ensured that

fans and the media never went to a

race weekend knowing for certain that

the dark blue cars were unbeatable—at

least, not on race days.

Button boosted his reputation with a

superb season that saw him score three

wins and log a string of podiums. In his

second year with McLaren, the 2009

world champion forged an increasingly

close relationship with the team, and he

rarely put a foot wrong.

His teammate Lewis Hamilton

retained the upper hand over one lap

in qualifying but had a disappointing

year. He made a string of mistakes and

lost out to Button often in a straight

fight during races, and at times he

seemed ill at ease with himself. His

three wins were rare highs in a season

that Hamilton will want to forget.

The only other man to win a race

was Fernando Alonso, who never gave

less than his best in an inferior Ferrari

and flattered the car with victory in the

“The DRS has obviously

been a big improvement,

but as for KERS, it costs a

lot of money, and all the

public knows is that it

doesn’t work sometimes.

“Pirelli have done what

we asked them to do. It’s

just as difficult doing what

they’re doing as making a

tire that lasts. If we said

make a tire that will go a

whole race, they could do

it, obviously, but it isn’t

what we want.”

Ecclestone has been

British Grand Prix and a total of 10 podium

finishes. On the other hand, teammate

Felipe Massa had a dire season that

saw him never finish better than fifth.

Of the rest, Nico

Rosberg and Michael

Schumacher usually

led the chase of the

top three teams for

Mercedes GP, though

Lotus Renault GP and

Force India-Mercedes

were also in the fight for

the minor placings. Top

rookies Paul Di Resta

and Sergio Pérez showed

signs of promise.

The big story was

the return of Pirelli after

an absence of 20 years.

The Italian company

was charged with enlivening

the racing by

building tires that had a limited life,

and it succeeded in its task. Hamilton’s

chase of Vettel in China—where the

McLaren man made an extra stop and

gained the advantage of fresh rubber,

while the leader had pushed his tires

too far—was a highlight of the season.

Red Bull and others learned from that

race, and as the year went on, tires arguably

played less of a role. Some drivers

also complained that Pirelli had become

too conservative, and a less dramatic

dropoff in tire performance reduced the

chances of using strategy to gain ground

on rivals.

The other big novelty was the dragreduction

system, which was intended

to help drivers get into a position where

close to many drivers over

the years, and he has a

soft spot for Sebastian

Vettel. “Sebastian is definitely

the best guy that

there is at the moment,”

he told Autoweek. “He reminds

me a lot of Jochen

Pirelli, back

in F1 after

20 years, was

charged with


the racing

by building

tires that had

a limited life,

and it


they could make a pass, rather than the

system actually doing it for them. The

FIA trod a fine line as it experimented

with the length and location of the DRS

zones, and it didn’t al-

ways get it right. In some

races, it seemed to have

little value, and in others—notably


passing was far too easy.

Technical directors

had predicted during

the winter that exhaust

development would be

critical in 2011, and so it

proved. Adrian Newey

and Red Bull were masters

of the complex

blown-diffuser technology,

and the rest

had to catch up.

There was much

debate over the legality

of the systems, and matters reached a

head at the British Grand Prix, when for

that one race, the FIA restricted exhaust


However, the governing body was

forced thereafter to allow teams to

revert to their full-blown exhausts after

several engine manufacturers argued

that they needed special adjustments

for the sake of reliability and drivability.

Thus, the FIA allowed teams to carry on

as they had prior to the British race.

However, next season, exhausts can

have no aerodynamic influence.

It’s a big change, and it makes us

wonder, can anyone outthink design

genius Newey as the rules evolve once

again? c

Rindt; as everyone knows,

I was very close with

Jochen. And he’s a very

relaxed guy and a good

character. He has a good

sense of humor, so he’s

easy to get on with.”

So what does the

Grand Prix czar think

about 2012? “The people

who have to get their act

together are Ferrari. If they

manage to do that, and I’m

sure and I hope they will,

we’re going to have some

good racing.” —AC



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