Legendary Ferrari Sports Prototypes inspire the new Ferrari Icona Daytona SP3

Legendary Ferrari Sports Prototypes inspire the new Ferrari Icona Daytona SP3

The launch took place at the Mugello Circuit as part of the 2021 Ferrari Finali Mondiali

 On February 6th 1967, Ferrari pulled off one of the most spectacular feats in its entire history when it took the top three places at the 24 Hours of Daytona in the first round of that year’s International World Sports Car Championship. The three cars that shot past the chequered flag in that legendary side-by-side finish on Ford’s home turf – in first place a 330 P3/4, in second a 330 P4 and in third a 412 P – represented the pinnacle of development of the Ferrari 330 P3, a model that chief engineer Mauro Forghieri had significantly improved in each of the three racing car fundamentals: engine, chassis and aerodynamics. The 330 P3/4 perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the sports prototypes of the 1960s, a decade now considered the golden era of closed wheel racing and an enduring reference point for generations of engineers and designers.

The name of the new Icona evokes that legendary 1-2-3 finish and pays homage to the Ferrari sports prototypes that helped earn the marque its unparalleled motor sport status. The Daytona SP3, presented at the Mugello Circuit during the 2021 Ferrari Finali Mondiali, is a limited edition that joins the Icona series which debuted in 2018 with the Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2.

The Daytona SP3’s design is a harmonious interplay of contrasts, sublimely sculptural, voluptuous surfaces alternating with the kind of sharper lines that revealed the burgeoning importance of aerodynamics in the design of racers such as the 330 P4, 350 Can-Am and 512 S. The bold choice of a ‘Targa’ body with a removable hard top was also inspired by the sports prototype world: consequently, the Daytona SP3 not only delivers exhilarating driving pleasure but also usable performance.

From a technical perspective, the Daytona SP3 takes its inspiration from the sophisticated engineering solutions already adopted in racing the 1960s: today as back then, maximum performance was achieved by working on the aforementioned three fundamental areas.

The Daytona SP3 sports a naturally-aspirated V12, mid-rear-mounted in typical racing car style. Undisputedly the most iconic of all Maranello’s engines, this power unit delivers 840 cv – making it the most powerful engine ever built by Ferrari – along with 697 Nm of torque and maximum revs of 9500 rpm.

The chassis is built entirely from composite materials using Formula 1 technologies that have not been seen in a road car since the LaFerrari, Maranello’s last supercar. The seat is an integral part of the chassis to reduce weight and guarantee the driver a driving position similar to that of a competition car.

Lastly, just like the cars that inspired it, the aerodynamic research and design focused on achieving maximum efficiency purely using passive aero solutions. Thanks to unprecedented features, such as chimneys that extract low-pressure air from the underbody, the Daytona SP3 is the most aerodynamically efficient car ever built by Ferrari without resorting to active aero devices. Because of the clever integration of these technical innovations, the car can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 2.85s and from zero to 200km/h in just 7.4s: exhilarating performance, an extreme set-up, and the intoxicating V12 soundtrack deliver completely unparalleled driving pleasure.

Although inspired by the stylistic language of 1960s racing cars, the Daytona SP3 is clothed in very undeniably original, modern forms. Its sculptural power celebrates and interprets the sensual volumes of sports prototypes to wholly contemporary effect. It goes without saying that a design this ambitious demanded a meticulously planned and executed strategy from Chief Design Officer Flavio Manzoni and his Styling Centre team.

From the wraparound windscreen back, the Daytona SP3’s cabin looks like a dome set into a sensual sculpture with sinuous wings emerging boldly either side. The car’s overall balance is underscored by monolithic volumes that are a powerful articulation of the long-appreciated skills of Italian coachbuilding at its finest. The fluidity of its masses melds effortlessly with sharper surfaces, to produce the sense of effortless aesthetic balance that has long been a signature of Maranello’s design history.

The clean double-crested front wings are a nod to the sculptural elegance of past Ferrari sports prototypes of the likes of the 512 S, 712 Can-Am and 312 P. The shape of the wheelarches efficiently connotes the geometry of the flanks. At the front, they are structural and create a powerful link between wheel and well by not completely following the circular profile of the tyre. The rear flank swells out from the sylph-like waist giving rise to a powerful rear muscle that wraps around the front of the wheels, then tapers back towards the tail, lending a powerful dynamism to the three-quarter view.

Another key element is the butterfly doors, which have an air box integrated into them to channel air to the side-mounted radiators; the resulting sculptural forms give the doors a pronounced shoulder housing the air intake that is visually linked to the vertical cut of the windscreen. The pronounced surface of the doors, whose leading edge forms the rear of the front wheelarch, also helps to manage the airflow emerging from the front wheels. This surface treatment also closely recalls that of cars such as the 512 S which partly inspired the Daytona SP3’s stylistic code.

The wing mirrors have been moved ahead of the doors to the top of the wings, recalling again the sports prototypes of the 1960s. The position was chosen to provide better visibility and reduce the impact of the wing mirrors on the air flow to the door intakes. The shape of the mirror’s cover and the stem were perfected via dedicated CFD simulations to ensure an uninterrupted flow to the intakes.

That said, the three-quarter rear view of the car is even more significant as it fully reveals the Daytona SP3’s original styling. The door is a sculpted volume, which generates a pronounced dihedral form. Together with the powerful muscle of the rear wing, it creates a completely new, pinched-waist look. The door acts to extend the surface of the front wheelarch and counterbalances the imposing rear, visually transposing the volume of the flank and lending the car a more cab-forward look. The location of the side radiators allowed this architecture to be adapted to suit a sports car.

The front of the Daytona SP3 is dominated by two imposing wings that feature outer and inner crests: the latter dive into two air vents on the bonnet, making the wings look wider. The relationship between the perceived mass created by the outer crest and the aerodynamic role of the inner one underscores the way in which styling and technology are inextricably linked in this car. The front bumper has a generous central grille framed by two pillars and a series of stacked horizontal blades framed by the outer edge of the bumper. The headlight assemblies are characterised by an upper mobile panel that recalls the pop-up headlights of early supercars, a theme dear to Ferrari tradition that lends the car an aggressive, minimalist look. Two bumperettes, a reference to the aeroflicks featured on the 330 P4 and other sports prototypes, emerge from the outer edge of the headlights, adding a further expressiveness to the front of the car.

The rear bodywork highlights the powerful appearance of the wing by the repetition of the twin-crest theme and the aerodynamic vent that boosts its three-dimensional volume. The compact, tapered cockpit combines with the wings to create a powerful tail with a central backbone element inspired by the 330 P4. The naturally-aspirated V12, the living beating heart of the new Ferrari Icona, is revealed in all its glory at the end of this backbone.

A series of horizontal blades complete the rear, creating the impression of a light, radical, structured monolithic volume that lends the Daytona SP3 a look that is both futuristic and a nod to signatures from Ferrari’s DNA. The taillight assemblies are made up of a horizontal luminous bar beneath the spoiler and integrated into the first line of blades. The twin tailpipes are positioned centrally in the upper part of the diffuser, adding to its aggressive character and completing a design that visually broadens the car.

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