Cel­e­brat­ing the Pranc­ing Horse

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Contents - Text: Ferdi de Vos Im­ages © Ryan Ab­bott, Fer­rari

As part of its 70-year an­niver­sary Fer­rari has re­cently un­veiled the 812 Su­per­fast, the most pow­er­ful and fastest Fer­rari in the il­lus­tri­ous his­tory of the mar­que.

This new 12-cylin­der Ber­linetta is also par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant in the long her­itage of Maranello, as it was the V12 se­ries which marked the of­fi­cial start of the glo­ri­ous Pranc­ing Horse story with the 125S in 1947. The Su­per­fast thus ush­ers in a new era in Fer­rari’s 12-cylin­der his­tory and, in do­ing so, builds on the in­valu­able lega­cies of the F12 Ber­linetta and F12tdf.

So, with the Su­per­fast not yet avail­able locally, what bet­ter way to cel­e­brate the glo­ri­ous 70 year chron­i­cles of Fer­rari than by tak­ing a F12tdf for a tour of Fran­schhoek?

Based on the F12 Ber­linetta, the TDF moniker is a ref­er­ence to the clas­sic Tour de France car race, which point of fact com­menced four years be­fore the worl­drenowned bi­cy­cle race. The first tour was held in 1899 on roads around France, and since then, an­nu­ally (most often in July) un­til 1986 – 30 years be­fore the F12tdf was brought into the mar­ket.

Fer­rari’s 250 GT and GTO mod­els won the event no less than 10 times in the 1950s and 1960s, so Fer­rari com­mis­sioned the F12tdf (the full Tour de France name could not be used as this is trade­marked by the two-wheeled, pedal-pow­ered crowd) to cel­e­brate this feat.

Es­sen­tially the suc­ces­sor to the 599 GTO, this front-en­gined V12 Fer­rari is a harder, faster, more track-fo­cused, but still road-le­gal de­riv­a­tive of the F12, of which 599 were made. In­ter­est­ingly, a to­tal of 799 F12tdfs were built, sup­pos­edly to sat­isfy pent-up de­mand for the F12.

The Fer­rari for our trip is quite special itself, as it is one of the first F12tdfs pro­duced – built in Novem­ber 2015. Apart from this, it is also painted in a

special colour and fea­tures an in­ven­tory of op­tional ex­tras too long to list here.

Com­pared to a nor­mal F12, the F12tdf is more pow­er­ful by quite a mar­gin – mostly owing to a free-breath­ing in­let on the 6.3-litre en­gine and mo­tor­sport-de­rived me­chan­ics in­stead of hy­draulic tap­pets, which are lighter, al­beit nois­ier, al­low­ing a higher rev limit of 8,900 r/min.

As if 574 kw and 705 Nm of torque is not enough, the F12tdf is also lighter, as much of the lux­ury in­te­rior (Al­can­tara and leather trim) has been re­placed with carbon fi­bre pieces, sav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant 110 kg of weight.

Its as­tound­ing agility is fur­ther im­proved by big­ger front tyres (mak­ing it in­her­ently more un­sta­ble) and ac­tive rear steer­ing, which makes the car feel shorter and nim­bler. Ac­cord­ing to Fer­rari, this sys­tem in­creases re­sponse on turnin, im­proves high-speed sta­bil­ity, and re­duces over­steer.

While it was not pos­si­ble to eval­u­ate these claims to their fullest ex­tent, it took only a cou­ple of sweep­ing cor­ners and a few switch­backs to make it abun­dantly clear that this Fer­rari is some­thing special.

The best of it all is the glo­ri­ous sound from its big, nor­mally-as­pi­rated V12 en­gine. Even without tur­bocharg­ing, but with 80% of its max­i­mum torque avail­able from 2,000 r/min, the F12tdf has the thrust of a rocket when the pedal is planted.

With the en­gine note chang­ing to a F1 car-like scream, the short shift times of the seven-speed dual-clutch auto ’box is nec­es­sary to keep the seem­ingly end­less power fed to the wide wheels.

In­ter­est­ing aero­dy­namic tweaks to the F12tdf in­cludes a big­ger rear spoiler, a wider, lower front split­ter, floor wings, and “Aer­o­bridge” ad­di­tions be­hind the front wheels. They may not be el­e­gant, nor sub­tle, but they all col­lab­o­rate to gift­ing the F12tdf with its ter­ri­fy­ing per­for­mance.

From stand­still, it reaches 100 km/h in only 2.9 sec­onds, with 200 km/h flash­ing by after just 7.8 sec­onds. That is faster than most cars are able to reach 100 km/h! And, it can at­tain a top speed of 340 km/h.

For those who wish for the most pow­er­ful and ex­clu­sive Fer­rari in the range, the F12tdf is an un­com­pro­mis­ing sports car that will de­liver ex­hil­a­rat­ing driv­ing both on road and track, but is com­fort­able enough to qual­ify as a true grand tourer.

Now, the 812 Su­per­fast has taken over the man­tle from the F12 … the lat­est in a long line of ap­peal­ing V12 GT cars, in­clud­ing icons such as the 250 GT, the 500 Su­per­fast, the 365 Day­tona, the 575M Maranello, and the 599. With a larger 6.5-liter V12 en­gine (588 kw at 8,500 r/ min and 718 Nm at 7,800 r/min) it has a claimed top speed of over 355 km/h, and also reaches the ton in just 2.9 sec­onds.

Through the com­plete in­te­gra­tion with all the elec­tronic ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics con­trols, in­clud­ing the lat­est ver­sion of Side Slip Con­trol (SSC), its pow­er­ful per­for­mance is made eas­ier to han­dle and even more thrilling to ex­ploit.

Seen in sil­hou­ette, the 812 Su­per­fast has a sleek­ness rem­i­nis­cent of the 365 GTB4 of 1969. The de­sign of the flanks is char­ac­terised by mus­cu­lar wheel-arches, im­bu­ing the Su­per­fast with the ag­gres­sion war­ranted by its im­pos­ing en­gine. The four round tail-lights at the rear is in­spired by tra­di­tion, and gives the 812 Su­per­fast a broad, im­pos­ing stance.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.