Targa-top Ferrari 812 Competizione A revealed

Thought the 830hp V12 coupe was special? Ferrari adds incredible convertible to the new Competizione mix…

By Sam Sheehan / Wednesday, May 5, 2021 / Loading comments

We thought it impossible that Ferrari could exceed our expectations for the runout 812 it previewed last month because we were already agog at the prospect of an 830hp hammer blow to the status quo. But the manufacturer has done it by launching the targa-topped Competizione A alongside the coupe and confirming that the overhauled V12 now revs to 9,500rpm. Taken together, the prospect is about as thrilling as real-world road cars get.

Every new feature of the 812 Competizione’s configuration is something of marvel, but we’ll start with the atmospheric 6.5-litre engine because it was already in the running for best engine ever made and now it’s been seen to again. Substantial effort was required to achieve a rev limit that beats the LaFerrari’s by 250rpm, with the emphasis on improving the flow-speed of gases into and out of the V12. That means an all-new intake and exhaust system, which forces the flow into onto wide-mouthed exit at the back (more on the significance of that shortly), as well as new internals and cylinder heads.

This being Ferrari, there are exotic materials everywhere: think titanium connecting rods, pistons and a three per cent lighter crankshaft. The piston pins wear a ‘diamond-like carbon’ coating to reduce friction, and they come bathed in less viscous synthetic engine oil of 5W40 grade for a freer-spinning experience. Add in a new fuel injection setup and you have yourself an engine that produces its peak at 9,250rpm and is limited 500 revs higher than the 812hp version already found in the Superfast. Peak twist doesn’t appear till 7,000rpm – which says everything you need to know about how Ferrari expects the car to be driven – and at 510lb ft is actually 20lb ft lower than in the 812. Not that you’re going to notice.

Anyway, those engine changes would have been all well and good in any other decade, but in 2021, with the mandatory fitment of a particulate filter to contend with, engineers had another problem to crack. The solution required a completely new exhaust system with a pair of extra resonators said to “reinstate” the medium frequency lost to the GPF hardware. We’re promised a scintillating soundtrack to go with the motor’s higher thirst for revs, coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with unchanged ratios but five per cent quicker shifts. Be that as it may, the 0-62mph time is only five-hundredths quicker at 2.85 seconds. More telling is the 0-124mph time of 7.5 seconds, which is four tenths better than the 812. Top speed remains 211mph.

Before we get to the chassis, that blown diffuser. It’s been enabled by the fitment of the new exhaust and its wide-mounted tailpipe, which exhales high pressure hot gases into the path of air channelled by the diffuser. Taking inspiration from the long banned F1 tech, the layout is said to help boost downforce by 10 per cent, adding to 10 per cent provided by an even larger floor and 15 per cent found elsewhere at the back. Like, for example, the coupe’s screenless tail, which sports six vortex generators to direct air onto a larger, higher spoiler, and a bumper that works to clean up the flow further. It helps to balance a 30 per cent increase in downforce at the front. All combined, the Competizione has 80kg more downforce than the 812 at high speed.

As you might expect given the mechanical alterations, the bodywork has also been resculpted at the front to work with a higher specification cooling system, while the brakes get a bigger cold feed to keep temps an average of 30 degrees lower on track. On the Competizione A (A standing for Aperta), there’s a flap that pushes air over the exposed occupants, while bodywork on the side sends airflow cleanly away from the windows. Then, at the rear, the convertible gets flying buttresses with a wing, which is said to not only claw back downforce lost from the absence of a roof, but also drastically reduces the drag normally associated with the bodystyle.

As for the chassis, the 812’s all-wheel steering configuration, which uses an independent rear system rather than one directly linked to the front, has also been upgraded. In the Competizione, the setup – which even in ‘standard’ 812 trim does physics-defying things – gets a new electronic overseer capable of controlling the left and rear actuators individually. The result, we’re told, “emphasises” the front axle’s responses, while “maintaining the feeling of grip from the rear axle”. It comes with tweaked software for Ferrari’s Slide Slip Control software (now into its seventh generation and terrific aboard the F8), as well as a unique tune for the E-diff and F1-trac stability systems. And, of course, matching magnetorheological suspension changes.

Weight has been slightly cut, although Ferrari only quotes a dry figure of 1,487kg at this stage (the 812 is 1,630kg at the kerb), thanks to additional carbon fibre in the body and cabin, as well as forged wheels that save 3.7kg as a set. Inside, Ferrari promises ergonomics that ensure “the driver becomes one with the car, regardless of whether it is on road or track”, to go with a soundtrack that is “unmistakeably Ferrari”. If you’re sold on the prospect (us too), we wouldn’t hang about in registering your interest. These are limited-run models, with only 999 coupes and 599 Apertas to be made, and Ferrari collectors already have first dibs, especially if they’re already using Ferrari’s GT Sporting Activities Department for their other toys at the Fiorano track. As for the price, you’ll need €499,000 for the coupe and €578,000 for the targa.

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