The work carried out on the car as a whole has also delivered an exceptional weight-to-power ratio of 2.21 kg/cv which results in such unparalleled performance levels as 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in 3” (0 to 200 km/h in 9”5) and a Fiorano best lap time of just 1’23”5.
To achieve these results, the 458 Speciale A’s combustion, mechanical and volumetric efficiency were all significantly improved with a focus on reaching ambitious targets such as boosting torque at all revs through upping the compression ratio to 14:1, the highest for an engine of this kind.
Clearly, the transfer of Ferrari’s Formula 1 expertise and technology was fundamental too. This is true not merely of the design phase but also the production and control processes involved: the engine is the product of the cutting-edge in-house foundry which also casts leading-edge components with extreme structural and dimensional characteristics, exactly as happens with the Scuderia’s single-seaters.
Improved combustion chamber fluid-dynamics, new intake geometries and a new cam profile are just some of the modifications that helped the engineers meet their goals. Several components were also reviewed (new materials were adopted for the pistons and con rod bushings) and this too made a significant contribution. Lastly, the crankshaft and intakes systems were also redesigned, with the latter slashing 8 kg off the engine’s overall weight.
The use of Ferrari-patented active aerodynamics is pivotal too and allows different configurations to be adopted to suit different requirements: maximum downforce when cornering, minimum drag on straights.
There are two vertical flaps on the front of the car plus a horizontal one on the underbody. At relatively low speeds, all of these are closed, channelling air into the radiators to guarantee the necessary cooling for the engine. However, at over 170 km/h, the vertical flaps open, thereby reducing the volume of air reaching the radiators thus cutting drag. At speeds of over 220km/h, however, the horizontal flap lowers to balance downforce between the front and rear axles, leading to a 20 per cent shift in overall downforce towards the rear.
Part of the increase in downforce as well as the 4 per cent shift in the aerodynamic balance over the front are achieved by means of turning vanes at either side of the front bumper which make the most of the lateral sections of the splitters. Aerodynamic fins contribute too.
The front dam creates a separation zone in the air flow immediately after the leading edge of the front splitter while the hump does the same at the start of the flat underbody, reducing pressure on the front of the car.
A rear spoiler with a larger surface area and more pronounced shape has also increased Cl on the rear by 7 points.
Additionally, moving the tailpipes has allowed the diffuser to be redesigned to enhance the extraction capacity of the underbody thereby generating greater downforce across the latter’s entirety.
Downforce is boosted still further by the mobile rear flaps which raise and lower as required (raised for more downforce, lowered to minimise drag): electronically controlled, they can be lowered to just 17°, which stalls the diffuser and reduces Cd by 3 points.
The 458 Speciale A’s sculpted forms as is the case with all Prancing Horse cars are absolutely performance-oriented. Most of the bodywork panels have been redesigned without modifying either the passenger cell or the signature design features of the car.
The composite bumpers have been redesigned and the front bonnet now features two deep air outlets to channel away the air exiting the radiator.
The air outlets to the side of the headlight assemblies now also include three louvers reminiscent of the powerfully sporty Ferraris of the past, such as the 250 GTO and the F40. The rear features a Kamm tail with a full-width grille and twin exhausts.
The 458 Speciale A is being premiered in an unusual yellow triple-layer livery with a Nart Blu and Avus white centre stripe. Its new forged five-spoke wheels are available in three colours: Oro, Grigio Corsa and diamond-finish matt black.