Ferrari has just revealed the follow-up to its first two Icona Series cars with this, the Daytona SP3. Like the Monza SP1 and SP2, this is a car that has a very limited production run, offers unique technical innovations, and is utterly breathtaking to behold. As the name suggests, this new masterpiece is inspired by Ferrari's successes in racing, and while the Italian automaker could easily have referenced one model from its illustrious past and slapped a reinterpreted design onto an existing car (as Lamborghini did with the new Countach), the people in charge of the Prancing Horse are much more introspective when it comes time to build something truly special. But just how special is it? Read on.
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7-speed dual-clutch automatic
There are plenty of big design elements that immediately capture your attention, but Ferrari hasn't forgotten about the little things either. As you'd expect, everything has a purpose. We start at the front, where a splitter below an expansive grille is complemented by straked side intakes that help to smooth airflow from the wheels. Those wheels are also designed to clean the air running down the side of the car, but there's a lot more going on at the front. The headlights feature retractable eyelids as a callback to pop-up headlights, and even these apertures are designed to improve the aerodynamic properties of the design. Vents in the hood help improve visual width, while the front wings lead to a pair of intakes in the front of the doors. The mirrors have been placed further forward to ensure that these intakes get enough clean air to the radiators, while the shape of the profile further improves airflow and helps keep the rear of the car planted with an integrated spoiler.
Even the targa top of the roof has been designed to smooth airflow towards the engine cover, whether the roof panel is in place or not. Ferrari promises minimal turbulence in the cabin with the roof off, so this should be enjoyable as a grand tourer as well as a supercar. At the rear of the car, those muscular rear arches, the integrated and extended rear spoiler, and a combination of vents and a diffuser that is almost like a double diffuser all work together to create an area of low pressure behind the car. Essentially, this car uses its own shape to effectively manage heat extraction, clean the airflow around the vehicle, and make driving at high speed supremely stable. The high-mounted double exhaust and the louvered fins are not necessarily to everyone's taste, but there's no doubt that Ferrari made the right call by choosing clever aero tricks over massive wings and overt aero appendages. As far as design goes, this may be Flavio Manzoni's finest work yet.
Since this is based on the same carbon fiber architecture as the LaFerrari Aperta, the carbon tub acts as the anchor point for the fixed seats that are essentially little more than stuck-on cushions. Ferrari will doubtless mold these cushions to the exact measurements of the buyer, and those who are worried about reaching the controls can take solace in the knowledge that the pedal box and steering wheel are adjustable. And while Ferrari has been showing off its love for screens in many of its latest releases, this cabin shows an elegant approach of restraint. One screen exists ahead of the driver, and this curved 16-inch unit handles all controls in an unfussy manner. Haptic controls take care of many steering-mounted functions and the climate control system, but while these look clean, they can be a mission to operate. Nevertheless, Ferrari has succeeded in its goal of keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
The upholstery of the cushions extends from one door, across the center divider, and through to the opposite side, and the quilted design is pure retro Ferrari. The retro gearshift is also a nice touch, but it's only once you're seated in the car having climbed in through those butterfly-style doors that you may even notice the wraparound glass. We thought this sort of styling trait was dead, but Ferrari has certainly made an old-school design element look perfect for the modern age. It helps with visibility and makes placing the car on the track easier, while four-point harnesses keep your face from leaving its mark on the glass if you ever get it wrong on the track.
Ferrari's most powerful engine ever is the motivating force behind this mesmerizing work of art. Borrowed from the 812 Competizione is the F140HC V12 engine, which means 6.5 liters of displacement with no turbocharged or electrified assistance to dull the experience of a V12 that can rev to 9,500 rpm. The 65-degree 12-cylinder generates an obscene 829 horsepower, all of which goes to the rear axle via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The resulting numbers are mind-bending: 0-62 mph takes just 2.85 seconds, 0-124 occurs in 7.4, and the throaty engine will keep spurring you on until you surpass 211 mph. Thanks to the fact that it eschews the LaFerrari hybrid system, dry weight is kept to just 3,273 pounds, which means that this carbon-loving supercar will be quick to respond in the corners too.
As with any Ferrari, the driving experience is just as important as the headline numbers, so you sit lower and more reclined than in other Ferraris in the range. This allows for a low roofline, which gives one the added benefit of reduced drag. Once you do come to a corner, specially developed P Zero Corsa tires have been created while Ferrari's SSC 6.1 makes it easier for one to come to grips with controlling a slide. For the first time in a mid-rear-engine V12 Ferrari, this system also includes Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, which increases cornering performance by adjusting the car's yaw angle through targeted brake controls that help tighten your line. Simply put, you'll have plenty of reason to chase a corner, downshift as you get to it, enjoy the precision and control as you navigate through, and then wring out the V12 as you hunt down the next apex.
As part of the Icona Series, this is a limited edition and just 599 examples will be produced. Deliveries will begin at the end of 2022 and are expected to conclude by the end of 2024. Unfortunately, even if you do have a spare $2.25 million, you're out of luck - all have been sold to Ferrari's most exclusive and high-priority customers. All 499 owners of the SP1 and SP2 we mentioned at the outset have ordered an SP3 to complete their collections while the remaining 100 were fought over by around 300 attendees at the exclusive Ferrari Finali Mondiali launch event that took place at the Mugello Circuit in Italy. But if you're really flush and totally in love, don't fear - we're willing to bet that a build slot or a completed car will be flogged for a hefty profit before production comes to an end.
As for what one could compare the Daytona SP3 to, it doesn't really have rivals, nor is it meant to. It's a celebratory classic for collectors to enjoy, perhaps in the same vein as the new Lamborghini Countach.