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Even With a Quirky Name, the F12berlinetta Can't Stop Ferrari’s Party

The new GT car looks brilliant and will be a challenge to any competitor.

Ferrari has achieved a unique double win with its latest releases, the F2012, the new F1 car and their new GT car, the F12berlinetta. The former is regarded by pundits as an ugly duckling (like most of its F1 rivals) while the latter, so far seen only in very limited and well-chosen official photographs, seems to be a great looking machine. The new F1 car's shape is dictated by the designers' solutions to the challenges of the new technical regulations.

There is nothing wrong with that; for generations F1 cars used to have all kinds of aerodynamic devices over, under and on the sides of the car. Those devices gave the cars unrealistic shapes and were part of the aura and excitement generated by F1 cars for years. The riddles "what is that flap for?" or "why the front wings are higher/lower/wider/narrower from last year" were only for Adrian Newey to answer. Every F1 fan tried to crack them. It made the F1 cars stand out through the overcrowded automobile landscape.

The fact is, however, that motorsport fans prefer their adored racing cars in unique shapes as single-seaters, prototypes, sport scars, or all other sorts of categories. The unique design is important to promote the sport and igniting the fans' and enthusiasts' imaginations. After all those are racing cars, not real world cars. And they're allowed to trade off beauty for victory. For GT cars it is an entirely different story. If there is a car segment in which the aesthetics of the car is of prime importance then it is the GT category. It is a category in which the combination of beauty, elegance and power is essential.

A front-mounted engine is the norm, since the car's proportions in this configuration are much better-looking than that of any other configuration. The long hood and the big radiator and the short backend when they are properly designed combine all of the attributes a GT car can carry with it. And that is what Ferrari designers, in cooperation with the troubled Pininfarina design house, have achieved with their latest creation. Many design cues of the new F12berlinetta were borrowed from either previous GT cars or other Ferrari models. The unique headlight design theme (originally appearing on the 458 Italia), gives it a refreshed face.

The grille is more dominant than in the previous 599 GTB, and the profile lines have a better flow. The proportions are also excellent, while the two double exhaust pipes out back are the two extremes. As in previous GTs, the backend is also much better sculpted. From the official photographs it also appears that the driver cabin is very well organized. All in all, in a digital sense, it is a great looking car. The F12berlinetta sets new standards in the GT category (even the idiosyncrasy of its name cannot interfere with that) that Ferrari competitors, i.e. McLaren, will find as a hard act to follow.

When the Geneva Motor Show's first press day opens next week it will be hot around the Ferrari stand - red hot. Hundreds of journalists will scramble to watch Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, accompanied by one or two of his F1 drivers, pulling the wraps off their new and beautiful F12berlinetta. This time di Montezemolo will not have to apologize, as he did before at the F2012 launch, only saying that if it wins it will be beautiful. This time he will reveal a car that is already a masterpiece and its acceleration, (3.1 seconds to 62 mph, 8.4 seconds to 124 mph) and a top speed of 211 mph ensures it a very special page in the history of GT cars. And Ferrari as well.

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