Ferrari F50

Ferrari F50 front side Ferrari F50 back

For Ferrari's fiftieth anniversary, another limited production supercar was planned. Following the release of a car like the F40 was no easy task and the F50 had to impress. Adopting Formula One technology would be a major selling point for the F50. As such, Ferrari made no compromises to comfort when designing the car.

Chassis

Providing a basis for the F50 is a carbon fiber tub incorporating the interior and rubber compound fuel tank. Attachment points for both the engine/transmission unit and front suspension are provided by aluminum inserts. Behind the rear bulkhead, the engine and transmission unit provide structural support for the car removing the need for a sub frame. As such, the rear suspension connects directly engine and gear box unit.

The F50 is suspended via double wishbones with inboard damping and springing. Damping is an area in which the suspension excels, especially for the technology available during the era. Electronic damper units continually modify the level of damping to suit the many dynamic states of the F50. An electronic control unit (ECU) manages damping rates in real time, monitoring lateral acceleration, longitudinal acceleration and steering angles to select the optimum degree of damping. Such a system reduces body roll and stabilizes the aerodynamics around the car. Electronic damping systems, like the one found of the F50 are currently being employed on regular production Ferraris including the 575M.

Direct links in the F50's suspension system yield precise wheel movement. This means the F50 has no rubber elements in the entirety of the system. These linkages offer a firm and accurate ride, and do not compromise to driver comfort.

For braking, the F50 uses Brembro vented discs with four-piston aluminum calipers. Reinforcing the serious nature of this car, the brakes do not have an anti-lock system and are unassisted.

Engine

Both the 288 GTO and Ferrari F40 feature turbocharged V8s. The F50 is unlike these cars as it uses a engine motivated by the 1994 Ferrari 412T Formula One car. It features a narrow angle V12 which is similar to the one in the 1994 412T. The F50's version has an increased capacity of 4.7 liters to offer increased torque and driveability.

The block itself is made from cast iron, with aluminum cylinder heads. Just behind the engine is a magnesium oil unit and longitudinal gear box. The oil unit provides the links to the suspension and is an integral part of the engine's dry sump system.

Inside the combustion chamber resides five valves, three for intake and two for exhaust. The idea being that smaller valves allow a higher flutter speed. In the F50's case, the valves can cope at speeds up to 10 000 rpm.

Body

While Pininfarina is responsible for the F50 styling, the wind tunnel largely shapes both the roadster and coupe version of the F50. The body is made completely of composites, specifically carbon fiber, kevlar and Nomex honeycomb. To remind the owner of was lurks under the red, yellow or black paint, the carbon fiber weave is visible in the texture of the body.

Conclusion

Many people have looked upon the F50 project as somewhat of a failure. I can see where they are coming from; the F50 didn't receive a race program and never set any precedents in performance. It is this attitude that is usually held by people how have yet to experience the F50 in person, on track or, better yet, behind the wheel. While in static performance figures the F50 even loses to its younger F40 brother, it is the dynamic driving, and especially handling where this Ferrari excels.

engine Cast Iron, 65 Degree V12 w/Dry Sump Lubrication and Alloy Heads
position Mid -Longituinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain DOHC, 5 Valves per Cyl w/Varible Intake Manifold
fuel feed Bosch Fuel Injection
displacement 4700 cc / 286.8 cu in
bore 85.0 mm / 3.35 in
stroke 69.0 mm / 2.72 in
compression 11.3:1
power 382.6 kw / 513.1 bhp @ 8500 rpm
hp per litre 109.17 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 388.71 bhp per weight
torque 470.47 nm / 347 ft lbs @ 6500 rpm
redline 8500 rpm
drive wheels Mid Engine / RWD
body / frame Carbon Fiber Body over Caborbon Fibre Tub Chassis
front brakes Unassisted Brembro Discs w/4-Piston Calipers
f brake size 355 mm / 14.0 in
rear brakes Unassisted Brembro Discs w/4-Piston Calipers
r brake size 335 mm / 13.2 in
front wheels F 45.7 x 21.6 cm / 18.0 x 8.5 in
rear wheels R 45.7 x 33.0 cm / 18.0 x 13.0 in
front tire size F P245/35ZR-18
rear tire size R P335/30ZR-18
steering TRW Rack & Pinion w/Power Assist
f suspension Double Wishbones w/Inboard Bilstein Springs and Electonic Damper Units
r suspension Double Wishbones w/Inboard Bilstein Springs and Electonic Damper Units
weight 1320 kg / 2910 lbs
wheelbase 2580 mm / 101.6 in
front track 1620 mm / 63.8 in
rear track 1602 mm / 63.1 in
length 4480 mm / 176.4 in
width 1986 mm / 78.2 in
height 1120 mm / 44.1 in
transmission Longitudinal 6-Speed Manual
gear ratios 2.79:1, 2.00:1, 1.59:1, 1.32:1, 1.11:1, 0.90:1
final drive 3.70:1
top speed 325.1 kph / 202.0 mph
0 - 60 mph 3.7 seconds
0 - 100 mph 8.2 seconds
0 - 1/4 mile 12.1 seconds
drag 0.372 Cd
epa city/hwy 8 / 11 mpg
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