Surrounded by “The Great Ferraris” the 599 GTO was arguably the star attraction of the Ferrari exhibit at The Quail – one of the many high profile events leading up to Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Sharing podium space with the Ferrari California and the very new 458 Italia, the 599 GTO is the fastest street legal model from the Prancing Horse.
Based on the 599XX track car, the GTO makes a total of 670-hp from its 6.0-liter V12 engine and using an upgraded transmission, lighter weight and improved aerodynamics, it has achieved what Ferrari says is a record 1 minute 24 second lap at the automaker’s Fiorano test track.
The engine itself has been modified from the factory vehicle with friction reducing components as well as a redesigned crankshaft and new new intake system to make all 670-hp at 8250 rpm, while a total of 457 ft-lbs of torque is available at 6500 rpm. Ferrari claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.35 seconds and a top speed in excess of 208-mph. Helping to achieve quicker acceleration is a reprogrammed six-speed F1 transmission with 60 ms shift times and the ability to drop several gears at a time.
Ferrari engineers also focused on weight reduction, dropping the GT car’s curb weight to 3,538 lbs. Along with lighter bodywork, including thinner aluminum panels, the GTO also gets thinner glass, a lighter exhaust and transmission and an even lighter second-generation carbon ceramic brake setup.
New aerodynamic improvements were also made resulting in improved downforce but no more drag. New ducting around the wheels reduces drag, as do wheel doughnuts. A new front lip creates more downforce at the front axle, while new side skirts help streamline airflow under the body. It’s also hard to miss the new racing-style rear diffuser.
Suspension improvements have also been made with stiffer springs and rear anti-roll bar, as well as a second-generation magnetorheological suspension control system (SCM2). More importantly, Ferrari says the SCM2 setup works with a tighter steering ratio, VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) and the updated F1-Trac traction control systems to be incredibly responsive to inputs.
Also helping in the handling department are new 20-inch wheels, with wider 285 front tires. And what’s more important to getting the most out of the car than the driver? No, Ferrari doesn’t include your own Felipe Massa, but the 599 GTO does come with the company’s Virtual Race Engineer system designed for the 599XX. It constantly monitors all aspects of the car and is able to tell the driver how close to the limit he is operating the car.