An outfit like Ferrari keeps a tight product portfolio. Four model lines in all, when it comes down to production models. Even with the various derivatives that follow, that still doesn’t amount to a large number of new debuts from year to year. But as a racing team first and an automaker second, it rolls out a new vehicle at least once a year. What falls between, then, bridges the gap.
What comes in between a road car and an F1 car, you ask? With a rapidly escalation level of crossover in technologies, less and less. But the narrow territory we’re talking about is the XX development program – what Ferrari terms as their elite cadre of “client development drivers.” That is, the customers who are willing to shell out big bucks – and we do mean big bucks – to test out the latest technological developments on the path from F1 cars to road cars.
The program initially launched with the FXX, an Enzo-based track car that was neither homologated for any racing series nor certified for road use (save a handful of well-heeled customers in some small countries where cash can overcome regulation). That was later improved upon with the FXX Evoluzione, an upgrade offered to existing owners/participants in the program. That, in turn, was succeeded by the 599XX, which has now led, somewhat expectedly, to the 599XX Evoluzione.
For another €185,000 (about $250k) over the €1.3 million ($1.75m) purchase price of the initial 599XX – existing buyers-in to the program can opt to upgrade to the Evoluzione model. That includes a two-year extension of factory-backed “test sessions”, as well as a number of upgrades that center primarily around the aerodynamics package. Aside from the giant front splitter that juts out from the nose, you might notice a rear wing that would make a jumbo-jet blush. But it’s not just a big spoiler: it’s an adaptive one, too. Like the DRS mechanism employed in Formula One, the FXX Evo’s rear wing can be opened up for reduced drag on straightaways or closed for increased downforce in the corners.
Coupled with an incidental 30-horsepower increase in output from the 6.0-liter V12 (for 740hp total), the 599XX Evoluzione can now lap Ferrari’s private Fiorano test track in 1:15 – a full second faster than the existing 599XX… or nine seconds ahead of the 599 GTO, the fasted street-legal version of the same road-going GT. But with only 29 examples in existence – the first of which was just unveiled for the first time at the Bologna Motor Show – we’ll just have to wait for the adaptive aero bits to trickle down to the rest of us.