The Ferrari F40 (Type F120) is a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car built from 1987 to 1992.
As the successor to the 288 GTO, it was designed to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and was the last Ferrari automobile personally approved by Enzo Ferrari. At the time it was Ferrari’s fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car for sale. The car debuted with a planned production total of 400 units, but a total of 1,311 cars were manufactured with 213 units destined for the United States.
|Early Price||: $400,000 USD (1987)|
|Today’s Price||: $880,000 USD (2018)|
Although some buyers were reported to have paid as much as $3.6 million USD in contrast to its 1999 value of £140,000. One of those that belonged to the Formula One driver Nigel Mansell was sold for the record of £1 million in 1990, a record that stood into the 2010s.
Ferrari F40: Description
|Manufacturer||: Ferrari S.p.A|
|Production||: 1987–1992 (1,311 units were produced)
|Assembly||: Maranello, Italy|
|Designer||: Leonardo Fioravanti and Pietro Camardella at Pininfarina|
Body and chassis–
|Class||: Sports car (S)|
|Body Style||: 2-door berlinetta|
|Layout||: Longitudinally-mounted, rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Engine||: 2,936 cc (2.9 L) twin-turbocharged Tipo F120A/F120D 90° V8 engine|
|Power Output||: 478 PS (352 kW; 471 hp) / 484 PS (356 kW; 477 hp) US-spec|
|Transmission||: 5-speed manual|
|Wheelbase||: 2,450 mm (96.5 inch)|
|Length||: 4,358 mm (171.6 inch)|
|Width||: 1,970 mm (77.6 inch)|
|Height||: 1,124 mm (44.3 inch)|
|Curb weight||: 1,254–1,369 kg (2,765–3,018 lb)|
Ferrari F40: Engine build up
It has an enlarged, 2,936 cc (2.9 L; 179.2 cu in) version of the 288 GTO’s IHI twin turbocharged and intercooled V8 engine. It generates a peak power output of 478 PS (471 hp; 352 kW) at 7,000 rpm and 577 N·m (426 lb·ft) of torque at 4,000 rpm as stated by the manufacturer. Gearing, torque curves and actual power output differed among the cars. The F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990, when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons. The flanking exhaust pipes guide exhaust gases from each bank of cylinders while the central pipe guides gases released from the wastegate of the turbochargers.
- Type: Rear-mid longitudinal 90° V8 engine
- Bore X Stroke: 3.23 inch X 2.74 inch
- Unitary displacement: 367 cc (22.4 cu in)
- Total displacement: 2,936 cc (2.9 L; 179.2 cu in)
- Compression ratio: 7.7:1
- Maximum power: 351.5 kW (478 PS; 471 bhp) at 7,000 rpm
- Specific output: 160.5 bhp, 162.7 PS (119.7 kW) /litre
- Maximum torque: 577 N⋅m (426 lb⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm
- Valve actuation: DOHC per bank, 4 valves per cylinder
- Fuel feed: Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection and single spark plug ignition per cylinder
- Aspiration: IHI twin-turbos and intercoolers
- Lubrication system: Dry sump
- Clutch: Twin-plate
The suspension setup was similar to the GTO’s double wishbone setup, though many parts were upgraded and settings were changed. The unusually low ground clearance prompted Ferrari to include the ability to raise the vehicle’s ground clearance when necessary for later cars.
Ferrari F40: Body and chassis
The body was an entirely new designed by Pininfarina featuring panels made of Kevlar, carbon fibre, and aluminium for strength and low weight, and intense aerodynamic testing was employed. Weight was further minimised through the use of a polycarbonate plastic windshield and windows. The cars did have moderate air conditioning, but had no sound system, door handles, glove box, leather trim, carpets, or door panels. The first 50 cars produced had sliding Lexan windows, while later cars were fitted with wind down windows.
- Type: Two-seater berlinetta
- Front track: 1594 mm (62.76 inches)
- Rear track: 1606 mm (63.23 inches)
- Weight: 1100 kg (dry) (2425 pounds)
- Frame: Tubular steel and composites
- Front suspension: Independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs over telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
- Rear suspension: Independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs over telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
- Brakes: 330 mm discs with Brembo calipers at the front and rear
- Transmission: 5-speed manual transmission + reverse gear
- Steering: Rack and pinion
- Fuel tank: Capacity 120 litres (31.7006 US gallons), (24.6 UK gallons)
- Front tyres: 235/45 ZR 17 or 245/40 ZR 17
- Rear tyres: 335/35 ZR 17
Cooling was important as the forced induction engine generated a great deal of heat. In consequence, the car was somewhat like an open-wheel racing car with a body. It had a partial undertray to smooth airflow beneath the radiator, front section, and the cabin, and a second one with diffusers behind the engine, but the engine bay was not sealed. It has a drag coefficient of Cd=0.34.
Ferrari F40: Performance and racing
The F40’s light curb weight of 1,369 kg (3,018 lb) and high power output of 478 PS (352 kW; 471 hp) at 7,000 rpm gave the vehicle tremendous performance potential. The first independent measurements put 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 321 km/h (199 mph) onto the French Sport Auto September 1988 cover.
The next opportunity to reach the claimed top speed was a shootout at Nardò Ring organized by Auto, Motor und Sport. Ferrari sent two cars but neither could reach more than 321 km/h (199 mph), beaten by the Porsche 959 S, which attained a top speed of 339 km/h (211 mph), and the Ruf CTR, which attained a top speed of 342 km/h (213 mph). Both were limited production cars with only 29 built, so while the F40 never was the world’s fastest sports car as self-appraised by Ferrari, it could still claim the title of the fastest production car with over 500 units built until the arrival of the Lamborghini Diablo. One year later the Italian magazine Quattroroute published a top speed of 326.193 km/h (202.687 mph), in a tests outside of Italy, however the 322 km/h (200 mph) mark wasn’t achieved. Road and Track measured a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph) for both the European and US spec cars while Car and Driver measured a top speed of 317 km/h (197 mph).
- Top speed: 324 km/h (201 mph)
- 0–100 km/h (62 mph): 4.1 seconds.
- 0–400 m: 11.9 seconds.
- 0–1000 m: 20.9 seconds.
- Track Tests
- Bedford Autodrome: 1:25.50
- Tsukuba: 1:03.73
- Suzuka: 2:25.265
The car saw competition as early as 1989 when it debuted in the Laguna Seca Raceway round of the IMSA, appearing in the GTO category, with a LM evolution model driven by Jean Alesi. It finished third to the two faster spaceframed four wheel drive Audi 90 and beating a host of other factory backed spaceframe specials that dominated the races. The following race it had to retire after 18 rounds. The next season there, under a host of guest drivers such as Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jacques Laffite and Hurley Haywood three second places and one third were achieved as best results.
Although the F40 would not return to IMSA for the following season, it would later be a popular choice by privateers to compete in numerous domestic GT series including JGTC. In 1994, the car made its debut in international competitions, with one car campaigned in the BPR Global GT Series by Strandell, winning at the 4 Hours of Vallelunga.
In 1995, the number of F40s climbed to four. It was developed independently by Pilot-Aldix Racing (F40 LM) and Strandell (F40 GTE, racing under the Ferrari Club Italia banner), winning the 4 Hours of Anderstorp. No longer competitive against the newly entered McLaren F1 GTR, the Ferrari F40 returned for another year in 1996. It managed to repeat the previous year’s Anderstorp win, and from then on it was no longer seen in GT racing. In total 19 cars were produced.
The F40 Competizione is a non-sponsored, more powerful version of the F40 LM. It was the result of consumer requests following the order of a French importer who wanted to enter one in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 10 examples were built, all at customer request. The first two being called F40 LM’s, and the remaining 8 being F40 Competizione, as Ferrari felt that the LM tag was too restrictive.
The Ferrari F40 Competizione has a power to weight ratio of 1.33 kg (2.93 lb) per horsepower and produces a total output of 700 PS/691 hp (515 kW) at 8,100 rpm from its upgraded twin-turbocharged V8 engine. The car can reportedly achieve a top speed of about 228 mph (367 km/h).
Ferrari F40: History
As early as 1984, the Maranello factory had begun development of an evolution model of the 288 GTO intended to compete against the Porsche 959 in FIA Group B. However, when the FIA brought an end to the Group B category for the 1986 season, Enzo Ferrari was left with five 288 GTO Evoluzione development cars, and no series to enter them into competition. Enzo’s desire to leave a legacy in his final sports car allowed the Evoluzione program to be further developed to produce a car exclusively for road use.
In response to the quite simple, but very expensive car with relatively little out of the ordinary being called a “cynical money-making exercise” aimed at speculators. A figure from the Ferrari marketing department was quoted as saying “We wanted it to be very fast, sporting in the extreme and Spartan,” “Customers had been saying our cars were becoming too plush and comfortable”. “The F40 is for the most enthusiastic of our owners who want nothing but sheer performance. It isn’t a laboratory for the future, as the 959 is. It is not Star Wars. And it wasn’t created because Porsche built the 959. It would have happened anyway.”
Under the guidance of Nicola Materazzi, the body of the F40 was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti and Pietro Camardella of studio Pininfarina. Nicola Materazzi was the engineer who designed the engine, gearbox and other mechanical parts of the car and had previously designed the bodywork of the 288 GTO Evoluzione, from which the F40 takes many styling cues.