Ferrari presented the 499P Modificata, a strictly limited-series car for non-competitive track use, at the Ferrari World Finals at the Mugello Circuit to celebrate the company’s historic return to the top class of endurance racing in the 2023 season.
The 499P Modificata is a substantially modified version of the 499P that triumphed in the Centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June this year, and aims at setting a new benchmark for track driving thrills.
Designed for a very select clientele, the 499P Modificata represents a new kind of project for Ferrari: a track-only model developed directly from a racing car rather than a production model, but without the limitations imposed by technical regulations. While the 499P Modificata is based on the 499P, not having to comply with FIA WEC sporting and technical parameters has allowed Ferrari’s engineering team to introduce a number of significant modifications that enhance driving thrills and make the car’s performance more accessible.
The major technical modifications between the 499P Modificata and the 499P include the electric axle and four-wheel drive that can be activated even at low speeds; the “Push to Pass” function, which offers drivers the option of an extra 120 kW of power; specific tyres developed by Pirelli, and a complete recalibration of the suspension set-up, electronic controllers and engine mappings.
The 499P Modificata retains the cockpit, with its single-seater layout, and ergonomics of the 499P, providing clients with exactly the same driving experience as the crews who drove the racing cars #50 and #51 that took the win, Hyperpole and fastest lap in the race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Its obvious derivation from the 499P makes the 499P Modificata the highest-performance closed-wheel car that Ferrari has ever proposed for non-competitive use on the track. The cars will be fielded in the new Sport PrototipiClienti programme that, from 2024, will run alongside the existing F1 Clienti programme. This enables 499P Modificata owners to participate in a number of events on international tracks every year, with Ferrari taking care of logistics, track-side assistance and maintenance.
The 499P Modificata’s hybrid powertrain combines a mid-rear mounted internal combustion V6 with an electric motor on the front axle. The system can deliver a maximum power output of 640 kW (870 cv), unhampered as it is by FIA-ACO regulations. The ICE shares the architecture of the power unit fitted to the 296 GT3 but has been completely revised by Ferrari engineers to develop dedicated solutions and lower the total weight.
A particularly distinctive characteristic of the 499P Modificata’s V6 engine is the fact that it is load-bearing, so it performs a valuable structural function, compared to the GT racers where the engine is mounted on a sub-chassis.
The powertrain is equipped with a 200 kW (272 cv) electric motor with a differential and an Energy Recovery System (ERS) which recharges the battery during deceleration and braking. The 800 volt battery pack was developed using the company’s Formula 1 experience. The power unit is coupled to a seven-speed sequential gearbox.
Sporting an all carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, the 499P Modificata features state-of-the-art solutions such as push-rod suspension, and a sophisticated braking system incorporating brake-by-wire that allows the electric front axle to recover energy during braking.
The mechanical set-up (centrally-mounted shock absorbers and springs, anti-roll bars) has been specially designed to maximise driving thrills and ensure that the car behaves predictably in all conditions. The engine and driveability maps were fine-tuned according to the same philosophy; specific traction control logic was developed to facilitate torque management at the grip limit, and a dedicated start-assist logic was also introduced.
With respect to the 499P, the 499P Modificata uses specific Pirelli tyres that were developed for predictable handling and to maximise feedback in non-competitive driving, making them quick to warm up and promoting consistent grip levels for multiple laps over sheer peak performance.
Not having to comply with the FIA WEC regulations allowed the engineers to introduce new solutions on the 499P Modificata. The first regards activating the front axle at low speed (the 499P was limited to speeds above 190 km/h) enabling the driver to benefit from four-wheel drive. This solution offers advantages in terms of performance and driveability, making it possible to exploit the additional grip offered by the front wheels, and to optimise the distribution of torque between the axles. The result is a car that feels even more responsive and precise coming out of turns, making it easier for drivers to find the best racing lines, and inspiring confidence in driving to the limit in a car that is capable of extraordinary performance.
Another important modification made possible by the 499P Modificata’s freedom from specific regulatory constraints is the introduction of the “Push to Pass” system. This lets the driver benefit from 120 kW (163 cv) of power available for a limited period of time during the lap in addition to the nominal 520 kW (707 cv) output, thus achieving a total maximum power of 640 kW (870 cv). The logic is conceptually similar to that introduced in Formula 1 in 2009 with the KERS system.
The driver can activate the system using a button on the back of the steering wheel; the extra power is only available when the accelerator is pushed to full throttle and for a duration of no more than 7 seconds per activation. The maximum number of activations per lap depends on the track type and battery energy balance: the system automatically deactivates below a certain charge threshold and then reactivates when energy recovery has recharged the battery to an appropriate level.
The 499P Modificata is equipped with specific tyres - 310/710-18 front and 340/710-18 rear - developed by Pirelli starting with virtual simulations. Based on FIA regulations, the slick design features a dedicated structure and tread compound derived from F1 technology. Development was aimed at emphasising the car’s driveability and maximising handling feedback for non-professional drivers, optimising warm up times and reducing performance degradation during long runs. The rain tyre also boasts a new tread pattern and compound and was developed to ensure the best grip in semi-wet and full-wet conditions.
The design of the 499P Modificata was defined in collaboration with the Ferrari Styling Centre directed by Flavio Manzoni. The car flaunts its technical and aerodynamic qualities through simple, sinuous forms in an explicit expression of its Ferrari DNA.
The flat upper surface of the flanks is sculpted to harmoniously give form to the side pods and wheel arches. The latter are characterised by large openings, with the aim of reducing pressure inside the wheel housings. The headlights lend the front end character and an expressive quality, their design closely evoking the styling cues that make the car instantly recognisable as a Ferrari.
The rear epitomises the combination of technology, aerodynamics and design. A lightweight carbon-fibre skin wraps around the powertrain, leaving wheels and suspension completely exposed. The tail is characterised by a horizontal double wing, with the upper profile carefully designed to produce the required downforce. The lower wing also houses a light bar that lends the design of the rear end a decisive, minimalist character. A multiple air intake for the V6 engine and for cooling the battery and gearbox dominates the car’s roof.
SPORT PROTOTIPI CLIENTI
Ferrari’s unparalleled history has been written in part by the many models that have taken part in endurance racing, with prestigious results in both the GT and sports-prototype categories. From the company’s beginnings to 1973, Ferrari took nine overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, followed this year by its 10th win with the 499P.
The 499P Modificata was developed specifically to celebrate this glorious history in endurance racing with an exclusive car that could follow in the footsteps of those legends. With effect from 2024, the Corse Clienti department will organise the “Sport Prototipi Clienti” programme where 499P Modificata owners will be able to rely on Ferrari assistance with maintenance and support – both technical and logistical – for all dedicated track events.
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