Ferrari F40

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Ferrari F40
Ferrari F40 at Auto Salon Singen Germany 432393386.jpg
Parent companyFiat Group
(1,315 produced)
AssemblyMaranello, Italy
PredecessorFerrari 288 GTO
SuccessorFerrari F50
ClassSports car
Body style(s)Berlinetta (2-door coupé)
LayoutMid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine(s)2,936 cc (2.9 L) twin-turbocharged V8 478 PS (352 kW; 471 hp)
Transmission(s)5-speed manual
Wheelbase2,451 mm (96.5 in)
Length4,430 mm (174 in)
Width1,989 mm (78.3 in)
Height1,130 mm (44 in)
Curb weight1,100 kg (2,400 lb)
ManualService Manual

The Ferrari F40 is a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-door coupé sports car produced by Ferrari from 1987 to 1992 as the successor to the Ferrari 288 GTO. From 1987 to 1989 it held the title as the world's fastest street-legal production car, and during its years of production, was Ferrari's fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car.

The car debuted with a factory suggested retail price of approximately US$400,000, although some buyers were reported as paying as much as US$1.6 million. A total 1,315 F40s were produced.[1]



The F40 was, in the most literal sense, designed as the successor to the company's GTO supercar, but the project's meaning ran deeper. At ninety years old, Enzo Ferrari was keenly aware that his life was coming to an end, and was somewhat disappointed that Ferrari's dominance in international motorsport had faded somewhat over the years. As a result, Enzo wanted a new pet project put into the pipelines, something that could remind the world of the company's capabilities as a manufacturer as well as provide both a competitor to the Porsche 959 and come to be his masterpiece; the company's impending 40th anniversary provided just the right occasion for the car to debut. The plan was simple: create a vehicle that combined the company's best technologies into a no-frills sports car that would come as close as possible to being a full fledged race vehicle while still retaining the necessary equipment to be a street-legal product. It was the last car to be commissioned by Enzo himself before his death.

It was intended that there were to be 400 F40s made, all painted red.



As early as 1984, the Maranello factory had begun development of an evolution model of the 288 GTO intended to compete against the 959 in FIA Group B. However, when the FIA brought an end to the Group B category for the 1986 season, Enzo was left with five 288 GTO Evoluzione development cars, and no series in which to campaign them. Enzo's desire to leave a legacy in his final supercar allowed the Evoluzione program to be further developed to produce a car exclusively for road use.

Drivetrain and suspension

Power came from an enlarged, 2.9 L (2936 cc) version of the GTO's twin IHI turbocharged V8 developing 478 PS (352 kW; 471 hp) under 110 kPa (16 psi) of boost. The F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990 when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons.

The suspension setup was similar to the GTO's double wishbone setup, though many parts were upgraded and settings were changed; the unusually low ground clearance prompted Ferrari to include the ability to raise the vehicle's ground clearance when necessary.

Body and interior

The body was an entirely new design by Pininfarina featuring panels made of kevlar, carbon fiber, and aluminum for strength and low weight, and intense aerodynamic testing was employed (see below). Weight was further minimized through the use of a plastic windshield and windows and no carpets, sound system, or door handles were installed although the cars did have air conditioning. Early cars had fixed windows, although newer windows that could be rolled down were installed into later cars.


The F40 was designed with aerodynamics in mind, and is very much a creation of its time. For speed the car relied more on its shape than its power. Frontal area was reduced, and airflow greatly smoothed, but stability rather than terminal velocity was a primary concern. So too was cooling as the forced induction engine generated a great deal of heat. In consequence, the car was somewhat like an open-wheel racing car with a body. It had a partial undertray to smooth airflow beneath the radiator, front section, and the cabin, and a second one with diffusers behind the motor, but the engine bay was not sealed. Nonetheless, the F40 had an impressively low Cd of 0.34 with lift controlled by its spoilers and wing.


An F40 LM on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The factory never intended to race the F40, but the car saw competition as early as 1989 when it debuted in the Laguna Seca round of the IMSA, appearing in the GTO category, with a LM evolution model driven by Jean Alesi, finishing third to the two faster spaceframed four wheel drive Audi 90 and beating a host of other factory backed spaceframe specials that dominated the races. Despite lack of factory backing, the car would soon have another successful season there under a host of guest drivers such as Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jacques Laffite and Hurley Haywood taking a total of three second places and one third.

Although the F40 would not return to IMSA for the following season, it would later be a popular choice by privateers to compete in numerous domestic GT series including JGTC. In 1994, the car made its debut in international competitions, with one cars campaigned in the BPR Global GT Series by Strandell, winning at the 4 Hours of Vallelunga. In 1995, the number of F40s climbed to four, developed independently by Pilot-Aldix Racing (F40 LM) and Strandell (F40 GTE, racing under the Ferrari Club Italia banner), winning the 4 Hours of Anderstorp. No longer competitive against the McLaren F1 GTR, the Ferrari F40 returned for another year in 1996, managing to repeat the previous year's Anderstorp win, and from then on it was no longer seen in GT racing.


The F40 was discontinued in 1992 and in 1995 was succeeded by the F50, which until a newer generation of factory backed GT1 cars that came along, remained competitive.


Rear view of a Ferrari F40 in Melbourne, Australia.

The F40's light weight of 1100 kg (2425 lb) and high power output of 478 PS (352 kW; 471 hp) at 7000 rpm gave the vehicle tremendous performance potential. Road tests have produced 0-100 km/h (62 mph) times as low as 3.8 seconds (while the track only version came in at 3.2 seconds), with 0-160 km/h (100 mph) in 7.6 seconds and 0-200 km/h (125 mph) in 11 seconds giving the F40 a slight advantage in acceleration over the Porsche 959, its primary competitor at the time.

The F40 was the first road legal production car to break the 200 mph (322 km/h) barrier. From its introduction in 1987 until 1989, it held the record as the world's fastest production car, with a top speed of 324 km/h (201 mph); the record was broken by the Ruf CTR "Yellowbird"'s 340 km/h (211 mph) top speed. The F40 was publicly proven capable of its rated top speed in 1992 through an infamous incident in which a Japanese dealership owner proved the car's potential by filming himself touching its top speed on an expressway only to be arrested after he sold a videotape to an undercover policeman. By that time, he already sold ten thousand videos.

During the 2006 Bonneville Speed Week, Amir Rosenbaum of Spectre Performance managed to take his F40 with minor air intake modifications to 226 miles per hour (364 km/h).


Supplied by Ferrari North America/John Amette.

  1. USA production spanned from early 1990 to late 1992. Chassis numbers to follow (European production started late 1987).
  2. USA F40s weigh in at 2,878 lb (1,305 kg) dry. Actual USA F40s weighed by FNA with all fluids and half-a-tank of gas weighed in at 2969 lbs (European cars are stated at 2,717 lb (1,232 kg) dry).
  3. USA F40s have aluminum gas tanks with twin fuel pumps mounted within the tanks ( European cars have rubber fuel cells which require replacement each 7 years with externally located fuel pumps ).
  4. USA F40s have twist-off gas caps (European cars have the locking items).
  5. USA F40s were all supplied with the variable ride height system deleted (some European cars were thus supplied).
  6. USA F40s have 2-piece seats with reclining backs and a passive restraint system (European cars have single-piece seats with 3-point seat belts).
  7. USA F40s have their tow-hook attachment mounted directly into the chassis (European cars attach to the front body).
  8. USA F40s have a final drive ratio of 10-29 (European cars are rated at 11-30).
  9. USA F40s achieve maximum torque of 58.8 kgm/427 ft lbs at 4300 rpm (European cars achieve this same torque at 4000 rpm).
  10. USA F40s are rated "at or above 500 bhp" @ 7000 rpm (European cars are rated at 478 bhp (356 kW; 485 PS) at same rpm).
  11. USA F40s were the first car to utilize metallic (titanium) based catalysts to allow faster warm up and greater resilience.
  12. USA F40s have a 'secondary air injection' for emissions that can be heard at each start up.
  13. USA F40s had to pass DOT front, rear & side impact tests. These include the 2.5 mph (4.0 km/h) front and rear tests. Accordingly the bodywork is strengthened.
  14. USA F40s have a drag co-efficient of 0.34CX including the rear wing (European F40s are rated the same).



  1. "1987 Ferrari F40". Retrieved on 13 September 2007. 

External links

Preceded by
Porsche 959
Fastest street-legal production car
323 km/h (201 mph)
Succeeded by