The most extreme one-off Ferrari ever made
Creating an entirely new and modern take on the Ferrari sports prototype concept is both an ambitious and complex undertaking. But it was in this spirit, and with very specific input from a client, that the new Ferrari one-off, the P80/C, was conceived. The Ferrari Styling Centre, under the direction of Flavio Manzoni, and the engineering and aerodynamics team worked with their client, sharing principles and visions in order to create a new ‘Hero Car’ with an absolutely unique and authentic soul.
The client comes from a family of long-time Prancing Horse enthusiasts and admirers, and is himself a highly knowledgeable, discerning Ferrari collector. He was thus the perfect partner with whom to craft such a demanding project which required the highest level of interaction as well as emotional involvement.
The basic brief was to create a modern sports prototype inspired by iconic models from Ferrari’s history: the 330 P3/P4 on the one hand and the 1966 Dino 206 S on the other.
The P80/C thus set the Ferrari Styling Centre an ambitious target: to develop a new kind of product that simply did not exist in the current Ferrari range: a sports prototype inspired by the cars that essentially wrote their own styling rules becoming, in the process, famous icons that, although conceived as track cars, also went on to influence a whole series of elegant road cars. A case in point is the very close relationship between, for instance, the Dino 206 S racing car and the production Dino 206/246 GT. Both versions share a common DNA despite having a different styling lexicon: Ferrari racing elements appear in the case of the former while the latter have the more sober, refined lines of the road cars.
Their goal was to create a resolutely modern car that made no major concessions to the past, apart from attempting to recreate the sensual shape of those iconic models through more muscular wings formed by the intersection of concave and convex surfaces.
Kicked off in 2015, the P80/C project had the longest development time of any Ferrari one-off made to date. This highly intense gestation period was the result of in-depth styling research and lengthy engineering development, with meticulous analysis of performance parameters as well as scrupulous aerodynamic testing, all with a different approach than taken by Ferrari with its one-off cars in the past.
A decisive wedge shape dominates the side view at the front of the car. The muscular forms of the front and rear wings with the cockpit set in between are emphasised by very broad buttresses that expand towards the side air intakes. This gives the impression that the cabin is completely fused with the body, and is accentuated still further by the wrap-around windscreen which references the iconic look of sports prototypes of the past. The flying buttresses converge towards the roof underlining the visor effect of the greenhouse. All of these features are references not only to the 330 P3/P4 but also homage to the Dino and the 250 LM berlinettas.
The side windows merge graphically with a wide pocket created by the side air intakes giving a dynamic downward movement to the rear flanks. This disruptive line balances the wedge-shaped front flanks and visually separates the rear section from the rest of the car.
Seen from above, it is clear that the bodywork is widest over the front axle, but then narrows sharply, creating a tightly sculpted waistline around the rear door before broadening out again dramatically at the tail. This particularly iconic kind of architecture is also emphasised by flying buttress-type C-pillars which are physically detached from the cabin. On the one hand, the C-pillars wraparound the intercooler air intakes, while on the other, they accentuate the sharp drop in height between the roof and the surfaces of the rear engine cover. Compared to a more normal continuation of the roofline over the engine cover, a more extreme solution was preferred, creating a large void rear of the cockpit with a vertical rear screen.
The fact that the P80/C is homologated only for track use meant that it could do without components that would be deemed vital in a road car, and which would also heavily influence its styling. Classic head lights have essentially disappeared. Or rather they have been reduced to mere slits set into niches at the front of the car reminiscent of the air intake housings in the grille of the 330 P3/P4. Unlike the 330, however, in the P80/C, said housings are not set into an oval grille but look more like two pockets carved out of the front of the car.
The same styling element reappears at the rear of the car. The rear spoiler is very wide to meet aerodynamic requirements and incorporates the two signature tail lights in a way that makes them look like air vents, thus perfectly reflecting the design of the front.
Even the rear fascia, which leaves the running gear fully visible, has a catamaran-type architecture. This allowed the inside to be completed devoid of bodywork. In fact, its sole occupant is a grille to help evacuate heat from the engine bay. The space left is occupied by a huge rear diffuser which seems almost to be separate from the rest of the car.
The adoption of a concave rear windscreen and aluminium louvres on the engine cover, a reference to the 330 P3/P4, gives the P80/C’s tail an instantly recognisable and unique look.
At the client’s request, the car was designed with a dual soul: a racing set-up, which includes quite a showy carbon-fibre wing and 18” single-nut wheels, and an exhibition package complete with 21” wheels but devoid of aerodynamic appendages, to highlight the purity of its forms.
The P80/C’s design language was crafted to be instantly clear. Although made entirely from carbon-fibre, only the parts with strictly technical functions have been left bare, while the main car body has been painted a bright statement Rosso Vero. The name was chosen by the client, proving that his loyalty to Ferrari’s sports prototype tradition extends all the way to colour.
The interior is very much the same as that of the donor car with a roll cage integrated into the bodywork. The side sections of the dashboard have been redesigned from the version seen on the 488 GT3, as have the seat upholstery and door panels – the latter are now carbon-fibre shells and no have no impact on the car’s weight.