Supercars

Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Charles Leclerc film brings the Monaco F1 circuit back to life

The Monaco F1 circuit has been brought back to life, if just for a few minutes.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is a dizzying engineering achievement of numbers and downforce and power-to-weight ratios and power output and a big plug. It's also Ferrari's first "series production" plug-in hybrid.

Series production is Ferrari-speak for car-that-we-build-a-bunch-of-instead-of-building-just-five. It also has the most powerful eight-cylinder engine of any Ferrari ever, and excitingly (if you're a Ferrari enthusiast), means that a V8 is the Ferrari's top-of-the-range engine for the first time.

Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Charles Leclerc film Monaco movie The film was shot on the streets of Monaco.Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The 90-degree turbo V8 makes 769 horsepower. The car's three electric motors (one on the back axle, and two more up front) make another 216 combined electric horsepower. Combined, that's a whopping 985 total horsepower.

The SF90 Stradale is also the first straightforward Ferrari sports car (not to be confused with GT cars like the Ferrari FF, which are not sports cars in the Ferrari playbook) to come with four-wheel drive.

It goes zero to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and on to 124 mph in 6.7 seconds. It also handles really well thanks to a whole bunch of wild and amazing technical details crafted by the engineering team that you can read about on Ferrari's website.

But a Ferrari isn't really about numbers and engineering. Go buy a McLaren if that's all you're interested in. The prancing horse is all about speed and pretty girls and sunshine. It's about passion for history. A Ferrari is basically Monaco in automotive form.

The plot takes the Ferrari around Monaco showing off several well-known attractions.Photo courtesy of Ferrari

That passion for history and speed and pretty girls is why Ferrari partnered up with Claude Lelouch, a cult hero in automotive circles for his short film "C'était un Rendez-Vous" shot on the streets of Paris in 1976. That film had a soundtrack from Lelouch's own Ferrari 275 GTB (it was filmed by a camera mounted on a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9), and Ferrari felt that now was time for a remake of sorts.

The Monaco Grand Prix is arguably the most iconic motor race in the world. The 2020 running was cancelled, however, thanks to COVID-19. But that wasn't going to keep Ferrari — the oldest active team in Formula One — from running a car around the city on race day.

And so Lelouch, Ferrari F1 driver and Monagasque Charles Leclerc, a Ferrari SF90 Stradale, and HSH Prince Albert II all got together on the closed streets of Monaco early on May 24. That's the day the race *would* have taken place, mind you, and His Serene Highness was kind enough to close all the streets around the Principality so Lelouch and Leclerc could create a new short film: *Le Grand Rendez-Vous*.

The film stars F1 driver Charles Leclerc.Photo courtesy of Ferrari

In true Ferrari fashion, it combines what makes a Ferrari a Ferrari and it is perhaps the perfect quarantine antidote for any petrolhead. Watch it, then watch it, then watch it again. It's guaranteed to put a smile on your face — especially when Leclerc and his lady friend (played by Lelouch's granddaughter Rebecca) pull their masks off at the end.

Monaco lives. The horse prances. Life goes on.

"Le Grand Rendez-Vous" — Charles Leclerc and the Ferrari SF90 Stradale — One guy. No traffic. www.youtube.com

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The Aston Martin Vantage Legacy Collection celebrates the winning racing legacy of the iconic models.

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

The new Aston Martin Vantage Legacy Collection celebrates one of the most successful periods of car racing in the company's history. Between 2009 and 2018, Aston Martin took the checkered flag in two 24 Hours of Le Mans class victories (in 2014 and 2017) and seven FIA World Endurance Championship titles, as well as numerous international sports car championship titles in British GT, GT World Challenge (Europe) and the European Le Mans Series.

The new trio of Legacy Vantages are based on the V8 Vantage road car, which was launched in 2005. They have been crafted in Aston Martin Racing's workshops and come complete with a brand new chassis, race-ready equipment, and a Sterling Green paint job with Aston Martin Yellow trim lines.

The trio includes a V8 Vantage GTE, a V12 Vantage GT3, and Vantage GT4.

Aston Martin Vantage GT3 The Astin Martin V12 Vantage GT3 has a strong racing lineage.Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

"For a collector, this trio of Aston Martin Racing Vantages represents the ultimate tribute to a halcyon period for the brand in international sportscar racing," said David King, President of Aston Martin Racing. "While Aston Martin has since gone on to record world championship titles with the current generation turbo-charged V8 Vantage, the foundations laid by the huge success of the original car won it admirers the around the globe and led to it becoming a firm favorite with racing fans. The Legacy collection is a beautiful sign-off for this wonderful car."

Aston Martin brought the Vantage GT4 to the track as the first car created around the company's VH-era architecture. It debuted in 2009 as the first of 107 cars created by Aston Martin Racing. Many of these vehicles are still competing today. The car that is a part of the Vantage Legacy Collection is the 108th and final car to be made.

Aston Martin Vantage GT4 Legacy Collection

Aston Martin Vantage GT4

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

The Vantage GT4 Legacy Collection model is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine that is paired with a six-speed Sportshift transmission. It features a FIA-approved full roll cage, polycarbonate side and rear windows, side sills with exposed carbon fiber rib, a quick-release hoot and tailgate, and a lightweight battery. Stiffened front- and rear anti-roll bars, a spherical bearing suspension, two-way adjustable Koni dampers, and a double wishbone suspension are standard equipment as well.

An adjustable carbon fiber wing, four-piston mono block calipers, a Bosch race-developed antilock braking system and traction control, carbon fiber dive plates, two-piece front brake disc, and Pagid RS 29 race pads also come on the model.

The interior of this unique model features a Recaro competition seat, Sabelt six-point safety harness, FIA-copliant Lifeline plumbed-in extinguisher system, weight-reduced fascia, and a quick-release steering wheel. A Recaro HANS compatible seat is available.

The whole rig rides on magnesium five-stud wheels.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 Legacy Collection

Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

Three years after the Vantage GT4 took to the track, the V12 Vantage GT3 debuted and soon became the dominant car in the British GT championship, winning outright titles in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Over seven years, 46 cars were built.

The Legacy Collection version of the car is built on an aluminum chassis and has a steel rollcage that meets FIA standards. It also comes equipped with a 6.0-liter V12 engine that is paired with an Xtrac six-speed semi-automatic paddle shift transmission. A racing clutch, limited slip differential, carbon fiber prop shaft, six-pot front calipers, ventilated front and rear brake discs, four-pot rear calipers, and a manually adjustable front and rear brake bias are standard.

It also has a 8862 safety seat, six-point safety harness, racing seat nets, carbon fiber dash, fire extinguisher 8862 safety system, driver display, and shift lights are inside the cabin while a front splitter, full width carbon fiber rear wing, removable carbon fiber body panels, and an aluminum roof are on the exterior.

A double wishbone suspension, four-way adjustable Bilstein dampers, and staggered wheels compete the model.

A high-speed pneumatic jack system is included with purchase.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTW Legacy Collection

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTW

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

Aston Martin Racing brought the V8 Vantage GTW to Sebring in 2012 for its debut. It spearheaded Aston Martin's works return to production-based racing following three years of competing in the LMP1 class. The V8 Vantage GTE took its first win at the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Shanghai in October of that year. Only six of the models were originally built, with the last race of the models occurring at Le Mans in 2018. The GTE in this collection is the seventh and final car to be made, chassis number 007.

This Legacy Collection model comes complete with the aluminum chassis and steel rollcage that you'd expect. It has a lightweight V8 engine, six-speed semi-automatic paddle shift gearbox, ZF Sachs Racing clutch, limited slip combination VC and ramp/plate differential, and carbon fiber propshaft.

The car has the full aerodynamic update that brings it into alignment with 2016 LMGTE regulations, carbon fiber bodywork, an aluminum roof with driver safety access hatch, and an adjustable carbon fiber rear wing. Braking comes courtesy of six-pot Brembo calipers up front and four-pot in the back, vented discs, Pagid RS pads, a bespoke pedal box, and Goodridge hydraulic brake lines.

It rides on staggered wheels wrapped in Dunlop tires.

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The SF90 Spider is one of the most powerful production turbo V8 Ferrari has ever made.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

Most spiders aren't known for their quickness. This spider is. The just-revealed Ferrari SF90 Spider may be the company's first plug-in hybrid electric convertible, but it hasn't lost any steps when compared to its older fraternal twin, the SF90 Stradale.

Ferrari has chosen a retractable hardtop for its noise insulation properties. It also delivers protection from the elements and doesn't deform at high speed. The hardtop takes up significantly more space than a ragtop roof, with just 100 liters of space occupied compared to 150-200 liters. The roof can be opened in just 14 seconds and can be deployed while the vehicle is in motion. When the roof is deployed, the sides, front, and tail of the SF90 Spider have the same styling as the SF90 Stradale.

2021 Ferrari SF90 Spider With its roof deployed, the Ferrari SF90 Spider has the same lines as the SF90 Stradale.Photo courtesy of Ferrari

Buyers can get their SF90 Spider with the track driving-centric Assetto Fiorano pack, which features Mulitmatic shock absorbers that were derived from Ferrari's GT racing exerpience, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. By checking the box, buyers also get an optional two-tone livery that delivers race-ready looks.

Powering the SF90 Spider is a turbocharged V8 engine that is paired with three electric motors (two up front, one at the rear). That gives it 986 horsepower combined, more than any other Ferrari turbo V8 ever built. Ferrari has paired the engine with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Ferraris are known for having a throaty gurgle out the backside and despite its electrified powertrain, the SF90 Spider is no exception. A hot tube system transfers exhaust system sound directly into the cockpit producing a rich rumble.

The car features regenerative braking. Under normal braking conditions, energy is recovered using electric motors. The hydraulic braking system supports the electric system under deceleration conditions. At high speed, the combined contribution of the electric motors lowers the engine's response time, improving performance

2021 Ferrari SF90 Spider

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

There are two steering wheel-mounted selectors on the SF90 Spider - the traditional Manettino and eManettino. The eManettino offers four modes (descriptions by Ferrari):

  • eDrive - The internal combustion engine remains off and traction is entrusted entirely to the electric front axle. Starting with a fully charged battery (with a capacity of 9 kWh), the car can cover up to 25 km in this mode which is ideal for city-centre driving or any other situation in which the driver wishes to eliminate the sound of the Ferrari V8. The 135 km/h speed limit means the car can also be used on out-of-town roads;
  • Hybrid - This setting optimizes the system's overall efficiency. The control logic autonomously decides whether to keep the internal combustion engine running or turn it off. Power flow from the electric motors is limited to conserve battery power;
  • Performance - This mode keeps the ICE running because the priority is more on charging the battery than on efficiency. This guarantees that power is instantly and fully available when required. This mode is best suited to situations in which driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel are the main focus.
  • Qualify - This mode allows the system to achieve maximum power output by letting the electric motors work at their maximum potential (162kW). The control logic prioritizes maximum performance over battery charging.

Ferrari honed the car's power and underpinnings to ensure that drivers can enjoy their time behind the wheel at all times, not just on a track day. Due to the hybrid powertrain, extensive work had to be put in to the traction control system, torque vectoring technology, and brake-by-wire control system. They also completely redesigned the car's chassis from the SF90 Stradale to deal with the extra stress associated with the new power unit.

Just as much attention was paid to the car's aerodynamics, downforce, and cooling so that the roof and powertrain would not encumber the ride and drive experience.

Inside, the car is just as modern. The redesign of Ferrari's infotainment system allows for instrumental to be predominately digital with all the screens going completely black when the car is not running. The screens come to life when the engine stop/start button on the steering wheel is pressed. The instrument cluster is made up of a 16-inch curved screen.

Innovations are found throughout the cabin. The wheel now allows for touch commands to activate so that drivers don't have to take their hands off the wheel to make adjustments. The gearshift has been altered away from the F1 bridge and toward the design of Ferrari's manual gearboxes.

At the bottom of the center tunnel is a compartment for stowing the car's ignition key, which is an exact replica of the Ferrari Prancing Horse badge. The key works in full keyless mode so that the driver can not only start the ignition but also open the doors without taking it out of their pocket.

If you want a SF90 Spider, you'll want to head to your local dealership ASAP to put your name down (after you ensure you'll be able to afford the likely $500,000+ price tag).

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