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Ferrari sets Nurburgring record

2010-04-26 07:59
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Ferrari
Model 599XX
Engine 6l V12
Power 536kW @ 9 000r/min
Torque 686Nm @ 6 500r/min
Weight 1 521kg
Despite vacillating weather conditions and driver ability always depreciating the scientific validity of the exercise, Nurburgring lap times remain one of the best comparative tools when measuring the dynamics of one vehicle’s supposed superiority over another.

Much joy has subsequently filled the automotive world after news broke of Ferrari's 599XX completing a lap of the Nurburgring’s Norschleife circuit in record time, clocking 6min 58sec.

This is the first time a production-derived sports car has broken the 7-minute barrier.

Many doubters will say the 599XX is hardly a production car as you cannot drive it on the road, yet the lap time remains a stunning achievement in isolation.

Ferrari test driver Raffaele de Simone rolls the 599XX out of the pits for its record attempt - 1.5t of pure performance car pornography.

F1 credible aerodynamics?

Ferrari engineers say a key aspect of the 599XX’s ability to navigate the 20km Nurburgring circuit at such pace was its aerodynamics.

The car is capable of generating 280kg of downforce at 200km/h, and an even more reassuring 630kg of airflow generated stability at 300km/h – the latter figure nearly equal to the company’s current F1 racecar’s downforce…

Ferrari’s "Actiflow" system underpins these outlandish downforce figures, increasing downforce or minimising drag depending on the 599XX’s cornering posture.

Actiflow works courtesy of the 599XX’s diffusers being finished in a highly porous material and two boot-mounted fans that channel airflow from beneath the car's flat undertray through dual grilles flanking the tail-lights, markedly smoothing airflow and reducing drag.

Rear three-quarter view shows off the monumental diffuser and rear air porting embellishments, which have supplanted the rear headlights - priorities, priorities...

All the right numbers, or are they really?

Power was never going to be a problem for the 599XX as it sports a 6l V12 producing 536kW.

Ensuring as much of its peak power output was converted to meaningful directional acceleration was the issue.

Here Brembo’s carbon-ceramic brakes and special Michelin tyres did their bit to trim speed when necessary and guarantee faithful turn-in dynamics.

Doubters will point out that the 599XX’s record is a rather niche one. The Radical SR8 remains the outright king, having done a lap of 6min 48sec last year. It’s road legal too, which the 599XX is not.

In fact, the 599XX is only a production derived car (talk about euphemisms) and serves the sole purpose of testing components for Ferrari’s fastest ever roadcar, the 599 GTO. Now that’s something we’d like to see post a Nurburgring time…

Are Nurburgring lap times a fair dynamic unit of analysis or not? Have your say

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