The bar was set extremely high for the Ferrari Icona cars after the Monza SP1 and SP2. They looked sensational and were powered by arguably the greatest V12 in production, which was more than enough. That the Monzas harked back to the glory days of Ferrari sportscars - and that every other supercar manufacturer has followed Maranello's speedster lead - has only helped their cause. Now, the Icona series has reached its third instalment with the Daytona SP3.
The name pays homage to one of America's most famous circuits, where Ferrari scored a memorable 1-2-3 in 1967 with a pair of 330s and a 412 P. The mention of "Ford's home turf" is clearly no accident in the press release, as the Daytona win was mere months after the Blue Oval's incredible win at Le Mans 1966. The 1-2-3 proved Ford wouldn't have things all its own way in sportscar racing, and seems a fitting moment to celebrate.
As with the Monzas, the Daytona SP3's styling can be considered a modern reinterpretation of legendary era. Ferrari says that the look is "a harmonious interplay of contrasts, sublimely sculptural, voluptuous surfaces alternating with the kind of sharper lines that revealed the burgeoning importance of aerodynamics in the design of racers such as the 330 P4, 350 Can-Am and 512 S." Which is surely what we were all thinking, too. Of course, much more attention has been paid to aerodynamic efficiency now than in the late 1960s, with the Daytona SP3 said to boast the highest level of passive aero efficiency ever found in Ferrari. When there are underbody chimneys as well as an engine cover that features a central backbone to benefit air both going in and out of the V12, you get an idea of how seriously this has been taken. A homage to the 60s wouldn't look right with active aero, hence the focus on fixed devices. The intakes either side of the grille aid both the brakes and the front downforce, while the flics below the headlights also lend a helping hand; the stacked winglets at the back reduce drag by directing airflow into the wheelarch. And you thought it just looked like this for the attention; as always with Ferrari, everything serves a purpose.
But, in truth, with an 840hp V12 in the middle, Ferrari could have launched a car that looked like a Mondial and it would have been lapped up. The Daytona SP3 is powered by a further evolved version of the 812 Competizione's ferocious V12, the 6.5 now treated to further intake and exhaust tweaks to liberate another 10hp. It's now known as the F140HC V12 (it's the F140HB in the Comp), still revs to 9,500rpm and promises "completely unparalleled driving pleasure" along the way. Ferrari says 0-62mph takes 2.85 seconds, with double that figure arriving in 7.4 seconds. Furthermore, a targa top promises the best of both worlds for full V12 immersion; greater exposure than both the 812s (especially with the engine now in the middle) along with a little more protection than the screenless Monzas. It means the SP3 is road legal in more countries, too.
As well as the classics, the Daytona SP3 borrows from more recent Ferraris as well. The chassis is built from aeronautical composites apparently not utilised since the LaFerrari (T800 carbonfibre for the tub and T1000 for the doors and sills, since you're asking), with the seat a part of the structure and the pedal box adjustable to get the driver comfy. Which works nicely for the whole SP3 ethos in fact, as cushions straight onto the chassis was pretty much what passed for a seat back in the day.
What the driver then looks at is borrowed from more recent models like the 296 GTB and SF90 Stradale, with the newly introduced gearshift gate for the seven-speed DCT, the carbon central pillar and the latest HMI with 16-inch display. Ferrari says the interior is "a meticulously refined space that delivers the comfort and sophistication of a modern Grand Tourer whilst keeping the styling language quite minimalist."
Finally, it's worth pointing a few details to prove this Daytona is very far from the ordinary limited run supercar (even if just 599 will be made). There's a bespoke Pirelli P Zero Corsa for this car, and the SP3 is the first time that the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer has been included in a mid-engined car. Side Slip Control is now at version 6.1, should the need to cut loose in a £2m Ferrari take you. Ferrari reckons the V12 in the middle and the lightweight chassis bits mean optimised weight distribution and a lot of mass around the centre of gravity. So, y'know, it'll probably skid quite well...
The third Icona sports car was revealed at Mugello this weekend as part of Ferrari's World Finals event. Though more are being made of SP3 than SP1 and SP2 (there were just 499 of those in total), a global production run of fewer than 600 means they won't be commonplace. Those original Monza customers will be prioritised for the Daytona, too, so it's hard to imagine many being left behind for Ferrari's elite B team of buyers. But what a car all of them stand to acquire when deliveries begin at the end of next year. If we are witnessing the final throes of the Ferrari V12, this looks some valedictory salute.
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