The Monza SP1 and SP2 were announced on 2nd of October in the Paris Auto Show, taking the world by storm with their return to Ferrari’s roots. They are the forerunners of the new ‘Icona’ cars that will be a special segment of cars for Ferrari, aimed at clients and collectors. They are modern interpretations of the timeless Ferrari car styling. They are Ferraris at heart, follow their heritage but at the same time are completely revolutionary and groundbreaking which is why we will take a detailed look into them with the help of Mr. Flavio Manzoni who directed the team behind these beautiful Italian sports-cars.
The SP1 and SP2 draw direct inspiration from the barchettas of the 50s, driven to victory by Scuderia’s most noted team drivers as well as gentlemen drivers who found themselves racing along icons of the period. Giovanni Agnelli coined the term barchetta when he saw the 1948 166 MM when he noted it looked more like a small speed boat than a sports car. These cars are full of soul and in the words of Enzo Ferrari himself “If there is such a thing as a soul, engines have one.” SP1 and SP2 both are equipped with one of the most powerful N/A V12 engines ever made by Ferrari; taking the already powerful 812 Superfast engine and amping it up to 810 hp and 719 Nm @ 7000 rpm.The Exterior
The SP1 and SP2 are both modern reinterpretations of timeless Ferrari styling, closely bonded together with their history. Designers of the Ferrari Styling Center gave it a modern look without having nostalgic references. They kept the same DNA but crafted the outer shell to be a modern car for modern gentlemen. Its body is entirely crafted out of carbon fiber and it is seemingly simple when compared to more high- performance Ferraris. Its lines are very simple and the aim was to be able to trace it using a single pencil stroke. The minimal silhouette is a flow of lines that start from the rear diffuser, slowly dancing around the tail and then leading to the slender flanks and front bumper base.
It is not very hard to notice the inspiration behind the car that is further enhanced by the compact yet ample tail reminiscent of the 50s era cars. The volume was broken down into two parts; an upper cover and a lower hull. They are visually separated with an uninterrupted strip located inside a groove that creates the illusion of physical independence. This modern take on a classic prancing horse cue makes possible one of the most striking details of the SP1/SP2: it’s uninterrupted line of lights that unites both the side lights and the brake lights together. Headlights and side air vents also have this theme across them, creating a unique “naked” look. A sober front welcomes you to this 21st century barchetta, an ensemble of elegant elements that look like they are draped in the finest haute-couture dresses for automobiles. The doors of the SP1/ SP2 open upwards which means that they had to be re-designed and reworked based upon the 812 Superfast’s door assembly. The exterior is then finished off with the one- piece carbon-fibre bonnet-wing assembly that hinges at the front to display the beating V12 heart of the cars. Finishing off the exterior are the five-spoke wheels that were specially designed to further accentuate the design language of the SP1/SP2.
If there was a term to describe the SP1/SP2 it would be; driver focused. The interior is a further reinforcement of this purpose, all the content of the insides were redesigned and rethought to meet the driver’s requirements; a consistent stylistic expression of elements mixed with the design philosophy. The driver’s body is entirely submerged in the interior of the car and the horizon is met by the driver’s head which stands en plein air. Controls are kept simple, all put together in a functional way that follows function rather than form. Drivers sit in a single-piece carbon-fibre seat that is upholstered in premium Italian leather in an exquisite tailored way.Performance
The engine of both cars are sourced directly from the 812 Superfast with optimized fluid-dynamics that improve the performance thanks to innovative solutions such as the world’s first 350 bar direct injection system on a high-performance petrol engine coupled with a variable geometry intake tracts that have been derived from F1 engines. Despite the high pressure injection system, it managed to comply to emission standards thanks to the improved nebulisation of injected fuel that gravely reduces particulate emission.
To manage the high-power, a dual-clutch transmission has been used; borrowing gear ratios and times from 812 Superfast when in Manettino position. This allows the car to deliver a much more thrilling driving experience.Vehicle Dynamics & Aerodynamics
The car’s architecture screams unique; the lack of a windscreen and roof completely shift aerodynamics. This lead to a heavy focus on improving the lateral and longitudinal performance when compared even to the 812 Superfast. To match the performance of the other high-performance Ferraris many concepts had to be retained. The Virtual Short Wheelbase Concept was maintained as well as the Electric Power Steering. Larger rims mean larger tires, measuring at 275/30 at the front and 315/30 in the back. Suspensions were set up slightly differently to improve agility and command lag. Fine tuning lead to a smooth ride with almost no body roll, letting you enjoy the pure thrill of sports-car control.
Just like every other Ferrari, both the SP1 and SP2 spent a good time of their design process in the wind tunnel. To make the ride enjoyable at high speeds, Ferrari designed a patented Virtual Wind Shield system. This system was first CFD modeled and then went rigorous testing in the wind tunnel. After extensive testing and refining, the Virtual Wind Shield entered production stage. This smart system is an aerodynamic passage underneath the driver’s side aero screen; the upper part shaped like an aerofoil. When high-speed air enters the ducts, it is accelerated and deflected vertically ahead of the instrument panel. This creates a low-speed bubble around the cockpit that deflects high-speed air away from the driver’s head which allows for a more comfortable ride as well as protection from dangerous oscillations around this sensitive area.Design perspective by Mr. Flavio Manzoni
I had the honor of meeting Mr. Manzoni at the Paris Festival Automobile International where we exchanged a few notes on the design of the car. The SP2 was voted the Most Beautiful Supercar by a panel of judges where he was present to accept the award. When creating the car, Flavio Manzoni and his team were set on creating a timeless masterpiece. How do you create a timeless masterpiece?
By tapping into three of the important timeless values: beauty, dreams and uniqueness.
“We started our mission by seeking the utmost beauty that is instantly recognizable. Then we were set on creating the physical embodiment of a desire, shaping people’s dreams. After that, we wanted to create something special and unique that resonates with you on a deeper level. This was one of the most exciting projects for the Ferrari Design team.”
“Three core features were identified and isolated, treated separately and then put together in a homogenous way. First, there was purity. Our aim was to create lines able to be traced with a single stroke. Second, there was harmony. Imagining the car in speed, we were able to imagine a velocity-inspired form that is sculpted by the wind. Third, there was the human element. In the heart of the car sits the pilot so we set on creating a very unique connection between the driver and car.”
“We kept the exterior as original and true to the ‘pebble’ speed form, honoring classic Ferrari design cues with modern reinterpretations. We further accentuated the signature twin lines that communicate the powerful front engine. Then we drew equilibrium and harmony by a wedge in the body that is then counterbalanced by the fuselage shape in the main volume. The headlights are treated like air intakes and we twisted the classic design by a juxtaposition of two different volumes. The rear was also a playground for our design team where we kept the traditional barchetta shape of the rear while also integrating a modern continuous light that runs across the whole body of the car.”
“Being driver focused we could not forget about the interior which is a cockpit-styled experience that is embedded in the main body, typical of classic race cars and F1 cars of today. We created a cover which hosts a seat underneath for the co-pilot when needed. The front was designed to manage airflows while at the same time creating a gap between the two separate volumes, reinforcing the driver oriented layout of the car. We reinforced the connection between the driver, car and nature to make the most unique driving experience we could.”
We would like to thank Mr. Flavio Manzoni for providing the insider’s view on one of the most iconic modern sports-car of today. The SP1 and SP2 are the beautiful creation of the Ferrari Design Center ran by Mr. Manzoni in full harmony, a powerhouse of automotive innovation.