Car news

12 March 2013

Video: Ferrari F40 goes 355kph

While you’re waiting for our LaFerrari drive, watch this F40 at Bonneville

TopGear.com
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With Ferrari's recent LaFerrari bombshell still echoing in our ears, we thought we'd look back at some of Modena's other iconic output. Which explains how we stumbled on this - a film from 2006 charting the progress of a top speed attempt at Bonneville in an F40.

This is particularly foolish. Bonneville is a salt flat, and salt is soft. That means you want to float on top of it and spear through the air - you don't need grip because there aren't any corners, and you definitely don't need downforce because it'll only slow you down. That's why most Bonne' racers have bicycle-width rubber and look a little like tampons.

A Ferrari F40, on the other hand, has enormous tyres and massive wing on the back. The former creates lots of friction, and the latter causes many downforces. That pushes the car into the salt as speed increases, requiring lots more power to keep it going across the surface as opposed to sinking into it. This might explain why only a handful of Ferraris have ever made it to Bonneville...

This is something not lost on this car's owner, Amir Rosenbaum. "If you wanna go fast, Bonneville is the place you go. But F40's make a lot of grip and a lot of down force - two things you do not want out here. You want to float on top. [That's why] we have dragster front tyres on an inch of tread. You're not driving, you're planing."

While this film's seven years old, it still captures everything that's superb about Ferraris, why we so wholeheartedly endorse removing cars from their comfort zone, and that F40s look superb going 355kph on Moon Discs....

Tags: f40, ferrari, bonneville