Just what are those big vents at the rear of the car for, anyway?
The Ferrari 812 Superfast - Ferrari's current front-mid-engine, RWD grand tourer - has been around for a few years now, and tradition mandates that the V12-powered two-door should get a special limited-run, higher-performance variant as it heads into its twilight years.
Sure enough, just such a car has crossed our path, as a spy photographer has managed to capture an 812 Superfast test mule on camera with some conspicuous-looking modifications. In a video uploaded to YouTube on Monday, the test mule can be seen driving on public roads around Ferrari's home town of Maranello, Italy.
The Ferrari 812 GTO - or 812 VS, as it may be named - will be Ferrari's swansong for the 812 model line, and as such, it's expected to pack something rather special under the hood: a souped-up version of the Superfast's standard 6.5-liter V12 engine, capable of spinning up to 9,000 rpm or higher and generating as much as 850 horsepower, naturally aspirated. This is set to be the last naturally aspirated Ferrari V12 for volume production, so the Italian marque wants to make it count.
What's less clear is the net effect of the modifications spotted on this test mule, which include a more wide-open aperture up front for the radiator and a pair of rear-facing grilles around the exhaust outlets.
If we had to hazard a guess, we'd say the rear openings are most likely intended to vent hot air from the rear brakes and help mitigate air pressure buildup in the rear wheel wells, but it's impossible to be sure. They might also help cool the rear-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transaxle.
In any event, the vents will undoubtedly be more elegantly incorporated into the surrounding bodywork on the finished version of the Ferrari 812 GTO, which could be revealed before the end of the year. Stay tuned.