The Italian automaker thinks this can have aerodynamic benefits, but it still needs to figure out how to make sure the positives are greater than the negatives.
Ferrari is working on fenders that are rigidly mounted to the wheel uprights, but it doesn't know quite how to make the idea work. CarBuzz discovered Ferrari's latest patent filed with the European Patent Office. Modena wants the fender to move along with the wheel because its current fenders, which are rigidly mounted to the body, are less than ideal in the Italian engineers' eyes. We've seen spy images of the LaFerrari replacement, which does not appear to have this system in place.
The reason fenders are fixed to the body is easy enough to explain. They cover the wheels and leave enough room to not interfere with all the movements enabled by the suspension setup while the car is being driven.
Ferrari calls its current bodywork "simple and effective" but also states that there is a "plurality of drawbacks." To understand why Ferrari wants to mount the fenders to the uprights, we first need to look at the drawbacks in greater detail.
According to Ferrari, the most apparent drawback is design limitations from ensuring the wheels and the fenders don't touch. There has to be enough space for the wheels to clear, which limits how much the engineers can do regarding aerodynamics.
Because the position between the wheel and the fender changes constantly, the air flowing through there changes behavior depending on the wheel and fender position. A non-variable setup would give the engineers a set standard to work with, making it easier to control the airflow over the fenders even when the car is in motion. This system is likely being designed for an electric vehicle, considering how important this particular branch of science is to the automotive world.
Ferrari also says the height of the fenders from the ground can impact the driver's visibility negatively, especially when the seat is mounted extremely low, as is the case with every Ferrari except the Purosangue.
Ferrari's solution to the problem is to fix the fender to the upright, but here's the catch. In the patent application, Ferrari says that its solution wasn't sufficiently satisfying and introduced further drawbacks.
While it managed to bolt the fender to the upright, it realized that the new rigid system rotated with the wheels with respective axes transversal to the ground. This, in turn, created more negative aerodynamic disturbances with regard to handling. The rigid fenders had to be small to minimize these aerodynamic disturbances, so Ferrari canned that idea, most likely due to strict legislation regarding fenders, especially in the USA.
Ferrari notes that these drawbacks need to be overcome, preferably in a simple fashion. Basically, Ferrari still thinks there's something here, which is why it filed the patent. The automaker hasn't discovered the solution yet, but we one is likely forthcoming. After all, we are talking about the company responsible for the sublime Daytona SP3 (pictured above). Not to mention the ridiculously complex all-wheel-drive system used in the FF, Lusso, and the Purosangue.
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