Ferrari’s replacement for the Enzo supercar is due out towards the end of this year and in the lead up to its arrival the automaker has been dropping numerous hints about its revolutionary new powerplant.
Today, at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, Ferrari has revealed the new V-12 powertrain destined for its upcoming flagship and at the same time confirmed that it will feature an advanced hybrid system.
The powertrain features an updated version of Ferrari’s HY-KERS system previewed in the 599 GTB back in 2010.
The latest version has been adapted to fit a mid-rear engine layout as well as a dual-clutch gearbox.
It consists of two electric motors, one mounted to the gearbox and sending drive to the rear wheels and the other used only to power auxiliary systems of the car like the power steering, brake servo, air conditioning and onboard systems. The two electric motors are connected to batteries, which Ferrari states can be positioned in the car in line with the available space and final configuration.
The objective of this configuration is to create a supercar that, thanks to the integration with the electric motors, increases power while at the same time reducing emissions. The system also features new, smaller and lighter electronic components which come close to achieving the declared target of 1.34 horsepower per 2.2 pounds of extra weight added by the hybrid system.
The primary electric motor delivers power using one of the gearbox’s two clutches and is mated to one of the two main shafts. The result is instantaneous, continuous power delivery between the electric motor and V-12 engine.
During braking, the electric motor acts as a generator, using the kinetic energy from the negative torque to recharge the batteries. This crucial task is managed by a dedicated ECU, which borrows Formula 1 technology and not only controls the electric motor but also governs the power to the auxiliary systems.
The F1 tech doesn’t end there, however. Technological transfer from the highest echelon of motorsport was also fundamental to the design, engineering and construction of the system’s ability to optimize the car’s longitudinal and lateral dynamic characteristics, namely torque management, traction control and brake distribution, to the benefit of improved handling.
Ferrari is predicting that its HY-KERS system will offer similar performance to a standalone internal combustion engine, but with around 40 percent less emissions on a combined driving cycle. And how much power under the hood can we expect? Early reports are predicting somewhere between 800 and 920 horsepower. This should guarantee that the new Ferrari flagship is the fastest road-going car ever launched by the automaker, even more so than the recently revealed F12 Berlinetta.
Work on the system has now reached the end of the experimental phase and the development phase is now ramping up. The first prototypes are already testing at private race tracks in Europe.
Note, one of Ferrari's key rivals, McLaren, is also exploring the use of an energy-boosting KERS for its future models and is rumored to launch just such a system in its own McLaren F1 successor due out this May. Lamborghini has also stated in the past that it is planning to use hybrid technology to ensure the future viability of its big V-12 engines.