310-MPH, 1,200-HP Ferrari F80 Concept: Viable or Vaporware?

Article by Rick Jensen (Turboguy). Photos courtesy of Adriano Raeli.

I fell in love this morning. I could barely focus, and instead, stared and daydreamed about the latest hot-blooded Mediterranean supermodel.

Are you pulling up Maxim in breathless anticipation? Don’t bother. Because her name is F80, and if there’s any justice in this world, she’ll be Ferrari’s next supercar.

The F80 is a mind-blowing concept that was penned by Adriano Raeli. Raeli is a young Italian who moved to California to study transportation design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His portfolio contains several interesting designs: the Alva Roadboard is a lightweight, electric take on an adult skateboard, and the Alfa Romeo Azzurra is a futuristic cross between a Maserati and a Jaguar.

But the two-seat, semi-tandem F80 is so beautiful, it’s easy to think that it could already be a production car; it has gone balls-to-the-wall viral in the past few weeks. Raeli was inspired by Ferrari F1 cars and futuristic Navy fighter jets, and the F80’s powertrain is inspiring as well: A 900-horse, twin-turbo V-8 would rev to 16,000 rpm, and a kinetic energy recovery (KERS) system similar to the ones on the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 would add an additional 300 horses. And because this 1,200-horse rocket would only weigh 1,763 pounds, Raeli claims a 2.2-second 0 to 60 sprint, and a theoretical top speed of 310 mph!

Now, you know what it means when something looks too good to be true. Personally, I could believe the 1,200 horsepower number, but claiming 1,700 pounds and 310 mph makes it sound like our Italian friend has been hitting the ye olde bottle, but let’s be real–we like his style, but need to entertain that his claims may be a little out in left field.

So to get an educated opinion from someone who doesn’t hack on a keyboard all day, I reached out to Josh Luckabaugh. Josh is an engineer with more fancy degrees than me, and he understands basic thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and structural design and analysis. He’s also an enthusiast who builds boosted sports cars and restores classic trucks in his free time. Here are his thoughts on the stunning F80.

Revv: Thanks for your time Josh. So, what were your thoughts when you first saw this F80 concept?

Josh Luckabaugh: I thought it looked pretty cool at a glance, but not very realistic, in my mind. To me, the F80 looks like a semi-wrapped, open-wheeled concept car. Wrapped means when bodywork such as fenders cover—or wrap—around the suspension, steering linkages, etc. that the wheels are connected to.
So a wrapped vehicle has more surface area bodywork, which can greatly reduce aerodynamics and lower turbulence and drag.

What I see with the F80 concept is it is a mishmash of being both wrapped and unwrapped. Even though the wheels have fenders, looking down the front vent, you can see the suspension and steering linkage tying them together. It reminds me of the fenders on an Ariel Atom (albeit much fancier and prettier IMO), which from my understanding, are mainly there to conform to DOT rules for street legal cars and fenders.

Also, the F80 is only 39 inches (1m) tall, so getting in and out would be pretty tough. I think that some active aero would be needed to be able to handle turns at slower speeds and maintain stability at higher speeds.

Revv: Do transportation designers get basic training in aerodynamics and other auto-related engineering? If not, do you think he consulted with someone, or is he guessing at these weight, power and speed numbers?

J.L.: I think he is just throwing them out there. They are all pretty round numbers like 500 kph, 800 kg, etc. on his technical spec page, all of which seem to be just past the cusp of what is currently possible. If only one of the specifications of the car broke a record, it would be more believable. Add to that there is no factual basis or list of materials that the car is made from. Take for instance a Formula One car weight limit: 642 kg, without the driver or fuel. This is at the cusp of current possibilities. Now, add to the F80 the things required to make it street legal like glass, actuators, door linkage/hinges, air bags, ABS, power steering, traction control, etc., and we are way past the listed 800 kg. The size of the windscreen alone would be a good chunk of weight.

I don’t believe that I saw it anywhere, but even with today’s safety nannies, to put 1,200 hp to the ground, I can’t imagine that RWD would be the right drivetrain. But with a more driver-friendly AWD, you are adding the substantial weight of a transfer case, driveshaft and a second differential and axles.

Revv: What is your official stance on these estimates? Which ones are believable, and which ones aren’t? For instance, if a 1,200-hp Veyron can only do around 270 mph, how could a 1,200-horse F80 production car go 310 mph?

J.L.: I believe that the power estimate is believable, but I’m not sure how reliable of an engine it would be considering its 16,000-rpm redline. They don’t mention anything about the displacement, but 16,000 rpm seems pretty damn fast to be much more than a 1.5L engine (which is pretty much the size of a twin 750cc sport bike mill). Without any other info it’s tough to guesstimate the engine size, or how much boost the turbos will run.

Next, let’s discuss the top speed. For those of you who aren’t aerodynamics engineers, for our purposes, the coefficient of drag is the resistance of an object to pass through the air. In order to calculate the maximum speed of a vehicle, you need to know how much power the vehicle has, its cross sectional area, its coefficient of drag and the density of the air. The calculation to find the maximum speed is:

Velocity =(2*Power/(coefficient of drag*Density of fluid*Area))^1/3 => v=(2*P/(c*D*A))^1/3.

This can be rearranged to find any of the factors that you like.

I did a calculation based on the listed power, height, width and top speed to find the coefficient drag necessary to overcome just the wind speed, and the Cd came out to 25.5. Note that this does not take into account the mass of the car, the added mass of the car due to downforce, or rolling resistance. That is on par with a 2010 Toyota Prius, or a Nissan GT-R. They are both pretty round cars, so with [F80’s] flaps and wings for downforce, I imagine it would be a bit higher.
Looking at the body of the car, it does not resemble a Prius. It more resembles an F1 car, or an Ariel Atom. Wikipedia has a great list of current cars and their listed coefficient of drag.

Using a conservative estimate, we will use the Ariel Atom’s drag coefficient of 0.40. At 1,200 hp and a drag coefficient of 0.40, this limits the top speed to 267 mph. However, the KERS systems on F1 cars only last for six or so seconds. On a top speed run, the F80’s proposed twin-turbo V-8 would be alone in providing the power to the wheels—so at 900 hp to the wheels, the car is limited to a top speed of 242 mph. Remember though, these numbers do not account for the mass of the vehicle, added mass of the downforce or the rolling resistance of the car, so the actual top speed would be even lower.

Revv: And what about the weight? What changes would be mandatory to make the F80 road legal?

J.L.: I would say there would be quite a bit of weight added for crumple zones (which probably would change the aesthetics a bit). Plus air bags, a higher ride height, etc. And they would definitely need to add more lighting to become DOT legal, but of course, this is just a concept here.

Revv: Is a twin-turbo V-8 with a KERS system possible packaging-wise, based on the dimensions? How about a traditional V-12 with KERS?

J.L.: With the way the rear end of the car is proportioned, it looks like the V-8 would be an incredibly tight fit. If the drawing on his website is accurate, the V-8 already almost touches the rear of the passenger seat, so I would say a V-12 wouldn’t fit—but of course, talented manufacturers with huge budgets can work miracles…

Revv: Based on the proposed vehicle dimensions, how would the F80 drive and handle?

J.L.: If it stayed pretty low to the ground, driving in a city would be tough! The door lines look really short, so it would be tough to get in and out of. But other than that, I bet it would be a blast!

Revv: Finally, if this thing got mad attention and backing for production, estimate its cost…

J.L.: Man, I would say the cost of an F1 team!

So in closing, these numbers sound just a little too good to be true. But whether or not the F80 could hit these lofty performance claims, it remains one of the most stunning concept cars in recent memory. And any car design that looks like it goes 300 mph standing still is a winner!


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Rick Jensen (Turboguy)

Rick's a Turbo Buick and EFI GM nut who was born in Nebraska, then reborn on the mean streets of Queens, NYC. Spent high school and college wrenching and racing before moving to NYC and spending 13 years as the editor-in-chief, editor, and writer for some of America's best automotive magazines, websites, and ad agencies. Favorite moments include running low 10s in my Turbo Buick, Exposing GM's weak-assed early CTS-V drivetrains, road racing Corvettes and Camaros, and doing high-boost launches to make my kid laugh.
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Michael Crowley10/27/2014

Man. good luck washing that thing when it gets dirty! Imagine trying to get dirt and dust out of all of those nooks and crannies!