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Most radical one-off Ferrari yet - The P80/C is a breathtaking tribute to classic sports cars

2019-03-26 12:46
Ferrari P80

Image: Ferrari

Creating an entirely new and modern take on the Ferrari sports prototype concept is both an ambitious and complex undertaking.

But it was in this spirit, and with very specific input from the client, that the new Ferrari one-off, the P80/C, was conceived. The Ferrari Styling Centre, under the direction of Flavio Manzoni, and the engineering and aerodynamics team worked hand-in-glove with the client, sharing principles and visions in order to create a new “Hero Car” with an absolutely unique and authentic soul.

Gallery: 2019 Ferrari P80/C

The client, a great connoisseur of the Ferrari world, comes from a family of long-time Prancing Horse enthusiasts and admirers, and is himself a highly knowledgeable, discerning Ferrari collector. He was thus the perfect partner with whom to craft such a demanding project which required the highest level of interaction as well as emotional involvement.

Ferrari P80

One-off design

The client’s basic brief was to create a modern sports prototype inspired by iconic models from Ferrari’s history: the 330 P3/P4 on the one hand and the 1966 Dino 206 S on the other. 

The P80/C thus set the Ferrari Styling Centre an ambitious target; to develop a new kind of product that simply did not exist in the current Ferrari range: a sports prototype inspired by the cars that essentially wrote their own styling rules becoming, in the process, famous icons that, although conceived as track cars, also went on to influence a whole series of elegant road cars.

Ferrari P80

A case in point is the very close relationship between, for instance, the Dino 206 S racing car and the production Dino 206/246 GT. Both versions share a common DNA despite having a different styling lexicon - Ferrari racing elements appear in the case of the former while the latter have the more sober, refined lines of the road cars.

The Ferrari Styling Centre’s goal was to create a resolutely modern car that made no major concessions to the past, apart from attempting to recreate the sensual shape of those iconic models through more muscular wings formed by the intersection of concave and convex surfaces.

Ferrari P80

Longest development yet

Kicked off in 2015, the P80/C project had the longest development time of any Ferrari one-off made to date. This highly intense gestation period was the result of in-depth styling research and lengthy engineering development, with meticulous analysis of performance parameters as well as scrupulous aerodynamic testing, all with a different approach than taken by Ferrari with its one-off cars in the past.

Ferrari P80

Normally speaking, this kind of car tends to be a stylistic reinterpretation of models in the current range - a new concept or basic idea that marks a departure from the donor car is built on existing running gear. The glorious history of Italian coachbuilding is just that: a wealth of exceptional cars based on the same chassis, but bodied by different coachworks.

The P80/C, however, is radically different. It is a track car, which means that performance is a major factor so this not only pointed the design team in the direction of a design that was absolutely unique, but also forced them to make radical changes to the running gear of the donor car. This involved introducing specific features required to guarantee a captivating marriage of style, technical prowess and aerodynamics.

Image: Ferrari

The decision was made to use the 488 GT3 chassis as a basis, not only for its performance, but also for its longer wheelbase (+50mm compared to the 488 GTB) which allowed more creative freedom. With respect to the Ferrari 488’s classic layout in which the cockpit tends to be placed centrally, the GT chassis allowed the designers to emphasis a cab forward-effect in which the rear is elongated, lending the car a more aggressive, compact character. This was one of the cornerstones of the P80/C’s styling from the early stages of the design process.

Ferrari P80

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