The 2022 Ferrari Daytona SP3 basks in thoughtful glory
To our knowledge, Ferrari does not have a space program. So if you have funds for space travel and want to spend $2.2 million of them on the Prancing Horse brand, you might be one of the lucky 599s. clients who will buy a Ferrari Daytona SP3. If so, buy a matching spacesuit from Rosso Corsa. We will not judge.
SP3 is a rolling theater and crowds form at every stop. It’s the kind of thing that tells phones to start recording and makes excited noises in kids. And you can play your part by pulling both paddle shifters to temporarily select neutral, allowing you to rev the 6.5-liter V-12 to its 9500 rpm redline.
While great art shouldn’t need streamlining, you may wonder the reasoning behind SP3. It dates back to 1966, when Ford took first, second and third place with its GT40 at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, much of that dramatized in the film. Ford versus Ferrari. It wasn’t until eight months later, back at Daytona, that Ferrari delivered its fightback and finished first-two-three with its redesigned prototypes.
The Daytona SP3, which looks back on those race cars of the late 60s, is the latest in Ferrari’s Icona series, reserved for ultra-limited production cars inspired by defining moments in the marque’s history (the Monza SP1 and SP2 were the first Icona models). This fusion of retro ’60s design with modern vehicle shapes results in bulging wheel arches, side mirrors placed on the fenders, a three-piece wraparound windshield and striking horizontal bars running across the rear. The result looks something like Cyberpunk 2077.
But perhaps most impressive is how the SP3 eschews modern performance gear. Sure, it has a carbon fiber body and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, but there are no big fenders or active aero parts, the steering is hydraulically assisted and the V -12 of 829 horsepower is free of forced induction or assisted by electric motors.
The body of the SP3 has its origins with the 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari and its roofless Aperta variant, sharing similar measurements for wheelbase and length. The SP3 is slightly taller due to its larger diameter wheels (20″ front and 21″ rear), and it’s noticeably wider at 80.7″, that’s even wider than a Ford F-150. Modifying the A-pillar to mimic a wrap-around windshield required significant changes to the structure, which, like the body, is carbon fiber. Despite the increased size, Ferrari says the SP3 is lighter than the LaFerrari, with a claimed dry weight of 3274 pounds.
Other differences continue below. The V-12 is derived from the 812 Competizione engine, but with 10 more rearing horsepower. That makes this V-12 the most powerful in Ferrari’s history, but you’ll be most impressed by the sound: a glorious howl in its upper register but equally charming in its low-end mechanics. You can feel its inertia even under light engine braking and see its heat waves through the rear view camera. The sound and vibration of the V-12 is still present, so it’s shocking when the auto stop-start system kills it at a fire. (Pro Tip: Disable stop-start immediately after turning on the SP3 by pressing the button marked HELE.)
For all the smoothness of the V-12, it’s the steering that really stands out. The hydraulically assisted rack might be the best part of the car. The wheel is stable enough that you have the confidence to maneuver it with one hand, while faithfully conveying the texture of the road. The effort is light but so controlled that it immediately boosts confidence in this rolling masterpiece.
Confidence behind the wheel of the SP3 is key, lest you become a highlight on someone’s social media cringe reel. While stealing eyeballs might seem like the goal from the outside, Ferrari designers explain a different desire: to produce the same aerodynamic performance as modern supercars, but without wings or active elements. They say they succeeded, although it’s hard to imagine that many of these cars will be driven fast enough to dispute that claim. The only active elements on the outside are the headlight covers which move up and down depending on the light setting.
The rounded, flowing shapes of the SP3 help draw air over and through the body. The best part is the hood, whose curves are wonderfully free of unnecessary lines. Another dramatic element is the stack of body-colored horizontal bars at the rear of the car. They hide a vent that essentially spans the height and width of the rear of the SP3 to help extract heat. Each bar is a unique carbon fiber piece.
Ducts at the front of each door channel air into radiators behind the side panels. The width they add means you have to be very careful not to hit your head when entering under the gullwing doors. There’s also no real way out gracefully, especially for the less flexible. The result makes the Daytona a wonderful car to arrive in, but one you might not want to see come out. No cameras, please.
The SP3 is a short distance car. It has no real luggage space – a shallow boot tray can accommodate a tool kit and a fabric roof for unpredictable weather conditions (the body-coloured carbon fiber roof panel must be stowed separately when ‘it is removed). Buyers choose from three seat sizes and three backrest angles, and Ferrari bolts the non-adjustable seats directly to the tub. In another nod to Ferrari’s prototype drivers of the ’60s, fabric connects the seats above the tunnel. The rider adjusts the pedals forwards and backwards for more comfort and accessibility. While headroom is generous with the roof installed, passenger legroom is shallow due to the packaging of the HVAC system.
Part of our driving experience included a handful of laps around the Zandvoort Circuit, home of the Dutch Grand Prix and seemingly all of the uplifting features of the Netherlands. Although we were limited to less than 80 km/h, the view forward, with the wheel arches sticking up proudly and framing the extreme lean, really looked like the shot you see when they scream in the Mulsanne Straight in Ford versus Ferrari.
When it comes to driving the SP3, the steering feel and engine response are nothing short of delightful, but low-speed track access and narrow Dutch roads don’t reveal just how exciting it is to drive fast. . We doubt it will fail in that department, but one might rightly wonder if driving fast is even the point.
The Daytona SP3 interprets a moment from Ferrari’s motorsport past through a modern lens. It looks like a spaceship and draws crowds when parked. And it will be one of the last mid-engined, naturally aspirated V-12 supercars made by Ferrari – the company won’t confirm the remaining number, but it’s a short list. The fact that it eschews certain tropes of modern supercars means it’s a type of vehicle that exists less and less every year, a type of vehicle that reminds you that you’re using a machine, and a very special one. to that.
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