Hardcore Berlinetta

BY Burnpavement

More than just a fancy bodywork package, Ferrari have comprehensively re-engineered the F12 to create a meaner, leaner version in the form of the F12 TDF

TDF in Ferrari speak stands for “Tour de France”, a tribute to the automobile races (no, not the bicycle race) that Ferrari won with its 250 GT back in the 50’s and 60’s. Like the 250 GT and 599 GTO that preceded it, the F12 TDF represents an exclusive, more focused version of their flagship front-engined V12 coupes – with just 799 planned for production.

The standard F12 already has a 6.5 liter V12 with all of the latest technologies, but the TDF builds on that with a new variable intake manifold contributing to a 40hp and 15Nm gain, bringing the grand total to 780hp and 705Nm of torque. Despite being bereft of modern turbocharger technology, eighty percent of torque is available from just 2500rpm. Yet the redline is set at a scintillating 8900rpm, which should yield the evocative soundtrack one would expect from a V12 Ferrari.

The increased power goes through a similar 7-speed dual clutch transmission, but slightly shorter gear ratios and quicker shift speeds both up and down the ‘box should have the TDF feeling more manic than the standard F12. Together the revised engine and gearbox help to produce a 2.9 second sprint to 100km/h, with 200km/h is dispatched in 7.9 seconds. For reference, by the time the TDF hits 200km/h, a Suzuki Swift Sport would still only be on the way to 100km/h!

Arguably the TDF benefits more from bigger changes to the chassis. Like the 599 GTO, front tire size is increased (in this case by 20 millimeters) to eradicate understeer. However while the GTO was criticized for being tricky at the limit, the TDF benefits from experience with Ferrari’s XX programmes, culminating in a new rear wheel steering system that adjusts itself based on driver intent and steering input to improve low speed nimbleness and high speed stability.

On the “fancy bodywork” side of things, the TDF is heavily revised, getting a bigger front intake with an integrated splitter, wider vented fenders and more pronounced side skirts, while the rear deck and diffuser sprout out further than before. Not only does it look the business, but together with a revised underbody and active rear diffuser flaps, it produces 107kg more downforce at 200km/h. The bodywork also uses more carbonfiber, as does the now more spartan interior where Alcantara replaces leather. Together they contribute to a 110kg reduction in weight.

Ferrari have been on a roll lately, creating dream machines like the smaller 458 Speciale and monstrous LaFerrari. Given this, the TDF comes as no surprise, being a lighter, faster and flashier version of the already absurdly fast and desirable F12. And yet, Ferrari promise real substance, such as a chassis that can be enjoyed by an amateur driver and lap times that are just 1.3 seconds shy of their own hybrid hypercar on their Fiorano Test Track. Another Ferrari to look forward to; not a surprise, is it?