Ferrari's CTO isn't interested in Nurburgring lap times so don't hold your breath.
Lamborghini dropped a bombshell before the Geneva Motor Show kicked off, announcing that the Huracan Performante had set a new Nurburgring production car lap record. Naturally you’d expect other automakers to try and challenge the new king’s top time. Don’t expect Ferrari to be among the list of comers. Top Gear spoke with Ferrari CTO Michael Leiters over in Geneva, and when the topic of Nurburgring lap records came up—well let’s just say the automaker isn’t interested. “I don’t want to follow this announcement,” Leiters told Top Gear.
“We never announce times [for our cars]. For me, the Nürburgring is a technical target, an engineering target. It is the most challenging circuit, and it’s true, if you are quick at the ‘Ring, your car will tend to behave very well on normal streets, because you need a set-up that’s less hard than a racing set-up,” he continued. One of the issues Ferrari’s CTO has with Nurburgring lap times is that there are so many things that go into setting them. The vast amount of factors at play makes it easy for people to call foul on a new time. Lamborghini learned this firsthand with some people saying the Huracan Performante’s lap time is inaccurate. Being able to boast about a record lap time doesn’t seem to be worth the trouble for Ferrari.
“For me, a lap time is just an internal engineering target. I’m not thinking about setting records,” Leiters said. OK, so the Prancing Horse won’t be coming for Lamborghini at the ‘Ring anytime soon (or ever). But what about the new trend of building F1-inspired supercars. Surely the folks over at Maranello would like to prove to Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG that they can build a better F1-derived supercar than them…right? Wrong. Michael Leiters shot down the idea of a supercar using tech from its F1 outfit. “Now I’m speaking just for Ferrari, I’m not big on the idea of taking a Formula One engine and putting it into a street car.” When Top Gear brought up the F50 Michael Leiters called it a “compromise” that "makes everything difficult."
So, in review: A Nurburgring record is not happening, nor is an F1-derived Ferrari hypercar. Was there any topic Leiters gave Top Gear a positive answer on? Actually there was, and it involves the future of the V12 engine. The German auto exec said the V12, specifically the 6.5-liter unit in the recently revealed 812 Superfast, is “enough to be competitive for the next four years.” He then hedged a bit, saying that after the four-year period “alternative technologies” would be looked at. Here’s hoping that in four year Ferrari buyers still have an appetite for big and burly V12s.