BY CHERYL TAY
One of the first events to kick off the Formula 1 week is the launch of the all-new Ferrari F12berlinetta. The fastest and most powerful Ferrari road car ever built, the F12berlinetta represents a new generation of Ferrari 12-cylinders.
First unveiled to the world at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the F12berlinetta was launched on Wednesday at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. It will remain on display for the rest of the F1 week till Sunday, 23 September.
The 6262cc 65° V12 naturally-aspirated engine in the F12berlinetta delivers 730bhp of maximum power at 8,250rpm. Peak torque of 690Nm at 6,000rpm revs to the limit of 8,700rpm, with 80 per cent of it available from 2,500rpm. Mated to the engine is the F1 dual-clutch 7-speed transmission that has been designed with closer gear ratios to match the car's performance.
Technological goodies in the F12berlinetta include Ferrari's latest generation of carbon ceramic brakes (CCM3) and the magnetorheological suspension system (SCM-E) for damping control. Standard with all Ferraris, the F12berlinetta also has the third generation electronic differential (E-Diff), electronic stability control, F1 traction control (F1-Trac) and high-performance ABS with electronic brake balance.
All these contribute to the 3.1-second sprint from zero to 100km/h. At Ferrari's test track in Fiorano, the F12berlinetta pushed out a lap time of 1'23.00, the fastest from any Ferrari road car since the Ferrari 599 GTO's 1'24.00 in 2010. The record for Fiorano circuit is 0:55.999, clocked in 2004 by Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari F2004.
With a shortened wheelbase and the engine, dashboard and seats lowered in the chassis, as well as the new layout of the rear suspension and gearbox, rear volume of the F12berlinetta has been made smaller for a more compact car with lower centre of gravity (moved further back in the chassis) and improved aerodynamics.
Also highlighted at the launch event was the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, Ferrari's own one-make racing series that has three official championships in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. The last race for each championship cumulates at Ferrari's annual World Finals (Finali Mondiali) where all competitors from each series race together.
As one of the support races to this weekend's SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, this is the first time that the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific series will be taking place at the Marina Bay street circuit.
This year, there are over 30 drivers in the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific series, including Gregory Teo from Singapore, who is driving for Ital Auto Racing, the team backed by authorised Ferrari distributor Ital Auto. Competing in the Coppa Shell category for amateur gentlemen drivers, this is Teo's second season of the Ferrari Challenge. Now running third in the Coppa Shell leaderboard, Teo is hoping for a class win on home ground this Sunday.
"We are very excited to bring the Ferrari Challenge to Singapore. Our drivers will like it a lot and it's the first time for many of them. It will be challenging, especially with the qualifying session at 10.30pm on Saturday, but I'm sure it will be fun to learn too. The Ferrari Challenge started in 1993 in Europe and the Asia Pacific series that just launched last year has become very popular. Our aim is to be the best one-make racing series in Asia," said Andrea Reggiani, head of Corse Clienti (Ferrari's customer racing unit) for the Asia Pacific region.
Ferrari F12berlinetta Technical Specifications
Engine: 6262cc 65-degree V12
Transmission: F1 dual-clutch 7-speed
Max Power: 730bhp at 8,250rpm
Max Torque: 690Nm at 6,000rpm
Top Speed: Over 340km/h
0-100km/h: 3.1 secs
Distributor: Ital Auto
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.