Interview

Formula One Legend Emerson Fittipaldi Told Us The Best Car He's Ever Driven

Aside from his own EF7, of course.

Emerson Fittipaldi was only 25 when he became F1 World Champion for the first time, racing for Lotus. He went on to win the title a second time as well as becoming a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, the latter win at age 47. He finally retired from Indy Car in 1996. But his so-called retirement hasn’t been without adventure and drama. Aside from racing on the rare occasion, the Brazilian-born Fittipaldi is also a pilot and was involved in a plane crash that left him with serious back injuries.

This hasn’t stopped him though from “building the project of my life,” the Pininfarina-designed, AMG-powered Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo hypercar, which just had its official debut at Geneva. Despite everyone seeking his autograph and a selfie, we managed a walk and talk interview with Fittipaldi as he was heading to a meeting with the folks at Pirelli at the Swiss show. Aside from learning more about the EF7, we took a chance and asked him flat-out what was the best road car he’s ever driven. “The Ferrari 458 Italia,” came the reply with only a slight delay. “That’s the car I benchmarked for the EF7. I drove all of the GT racecars, Porsches, Ferraris...just to get the feeling of what they’re like.

“But it was the 458 that did it for me.” Remember, this is coming from a guy who, because of his status in the racing world, has access to anything he wants. “But it came back to the 458. I wanted this (for my car), but lower to the ground. I wanted shark inspiration. Something light (it weighs only 2,200 lbs) and with the safest cockpit. Like a safety capsule."

As far as the engine goes, Fittipaldi couldn’t have been clearer: “I went straight to AMG.” Located mid-ship is a naturally-aspirated 4.8-liter V8 with 600 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. The car was engineered by German racing specialists HWA AG. Only 25 examples are planned, and owners will be given individual driving instruction from Fittipaldi himself. Italian designed. German-built and engineered, along with Fittipaldi’s input. That’s the EF7. And it was the Ferrari 458 that was benchmarked for driving awesomeness.

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