Ferrari 360 GT

ferrari_360_gt_02.jpg
The Ferrari 360 is a mid-engine two-seat sports car produced between 1999 and 2005. The 360 replaced the Ferrari F355 and was itself replaced by the fairly similar Ferrari F430. For the 360, Ferrari partnered with Alcoa to produce an entirely new all-aluminum space-frame chassis that was 40% stiffer than the 355, yet 28% lighter despite a 10% increase in overall dimensions. Along with the new frame was a new Pininfarina body styling that broke ranks with the last decade’s sharp angles and flip-up headlights, replacing them with a rounded appearance that harkened to the 1960s. The new V8 engine, common to all versions, was only slightly larger and more powerful than the 355’s at 3.6 litres and 300 kW (400 bhp) of power, but the lighter frame and added stiffness improved performance; the 0 to 100 km/h acceleration performance improved from 4.6 to 4.4 seconds (not as trivial as it might seem), and in the Challenge versions it was as low as 4.0 s. An engine replacement resulted in the current V8 road model, the F430 (internally referred to as the evoluzione or evo) which came out in 2004.
Seven versions of the basic 360 were produced, three road models, three race versions & a one-off wedding present to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo:

Ferrari 360 production road cars:
1. Ferrari 360 Modena, a fixed roof two-door luxury sports coupe, available with a 6-speed manual or F1 electrohydraulic shift;
2. Ferrari 360 Spider, a convertible variant of the Modena;
3. Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale, an F1 electrohydraulic shift 360 Challenge inspired variant of a 360 Modena.

Ferrari 360 factory race cars
4. Ferrari 360 Challenge, a 360 F1 electrohydraulic shift stripped out circuit racing variant of the 360 Modena .
5. Ferrari 360 GT, a GT racing variant of the 360 challenge race cars, more extreme than a Challenge.
6. Ferrari 360 GT-C, based on the 360 GT with 360 CS parts to compete in the N-GT class.
Ferrari 360 one-off special
4. Ferrari 360 Barchetta, a one-off wedding present from Ferrari to Ferrari’s president.

* 1 Road models
o 1.1 Specifications
+ 1.1.1 Engine
o 1.2 Modena
+ 1.2.1 Performance
o 1.3 Spider
+ 1.3.1 Dimensions
o 1.4 Challenge Stradale
+ 1.4.1 Dimensions
+ 1.4.2 Performance
* 2 Race models
o 2.1 Challenge
* 3 Criticism
o 3.1 Handling
* 4 References
* 5 External links

Road models

The first model of the 360 to ship was the 360 Modena, named after the town of Modena, the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. Its six-speed gearbox is available as a manual or F1 electrohydraulic shift. The car went into production in 1999 and remained in production until 2005 when it was replaced by the F430. The Modena was followed by the 360 Spider, Ferrari’s 20th road-going convertible. Other than weight, the Spider’s specifications match those of the Modena almost exactly.

The 360 Challenge Stradale (or 360 CS) was a later addition to the road line. It was essentially a lightened version of the Modena, dropping 110 kilograms. Changes included larger 19″ BBS wheels, the use of carbon fiber for the frames of the seats and mirrors, titanium springs which were also 20% stiffer, and carbon ceramic brake disks. A variety of option allowed for further weight reductions, including replacing the leather interior with fabric, removal of the power windows and mirrors, and leaving off the stereo. Lexan side windows were available in Europe only. It was officially introduced in March of 2003 at the Geneva International Motor Show and went into production shortly thereafter. The 360 CS can be compared to Porsche’s GT3 RS model in design approach and many magazines have placed them head to head in road tests. Jeremy Clarkson compared the two and chose the 360 CS to be his favorite.

All models featured the same layout:

* No. of cylinders: 90° V8 F131
* Bore & stroke: 85 by 79 mm (3.34 by 3.11 in)
* Total displacement: 3586 cm³ (218.8 in³)
* Redline: 8500 rpm

For Modena and Spider:

* Maximum power: 298 kW (395 bhp) @ 8500 rpm
* Maximum torque: 373 N·m (275 lbf·ft) @ 4750 rpm

For Challenge Stradale:

* Maximum power: 317 kW (425 bhp) @ 8500 rpm
* Maximum torque: 373 N·m (275 lbf·ft) @ 4750 rpm

Modena
Interior of the Modena with the Rossa Corsa paint and tan leather. This example is equipped with the F1 gearbox, controlled by the “paddles” on the steering column
Interior of the Modena with the Rossa Corsa paint and tan leather. This example is equipped with the F1 gearbox, controlled by the “paddles” on the steering column
Profile of Ferrari 360 Modena.
Profile of Ferrari 360 Modena.

Performance

* 0-62 mph: 4.5 s
* Top speed : 300 km/h (186 mph)
* downforce: 180 kgf (1.77 kN) @ 300 km/h (without rear wing)
* lift/drag: -0.73:1
* EPA Fuel Economy: 10 mpg U.S. city/16 mpg U.S. highway (24 L/100 km and 14 L/100 km)

Spider

The 360 Spider is Ferrari’s twentieth roadgoing convertible. The model was regarded a classic even when launched in 2000. Designer Pininfarinas lines are by many regarded as timelessly beautiful and yet sportingly aggressive.

The engineers worked hard from the start of the 360 project to lay the foundation for a Spider with exceptional torsional and flexional rigidity. They had to strengthen the sills, stiffen the front of the floorpan and redesign the windscreen frame. The rear bulkhead had to be stiffened to cut out engine noise from the cabin. The convertible’s necessary dynamic rigidity is provided by additional side reinforcements and a cross brace in front of the engine. Passenger safety is ensured by a strengthened windscreen frame and roll bars.

The 360 Spider displays a curvilinear waistline. The fairings imply the start of a roof, and stable roll bars are embedded in these elevations. Due to use of light aluminium constructions throughout, the Spider weighs in with only 60 kg (130 lbs) more than the coupé.

With its hood up, the Ferrari 360 Spider looks extremely aggressive. Lowering the hood totally transforms the look. Seen from the side, the 360 Spider resembles a sports racer, a sensation underlined by the length of the rear engine bay, the twin roll bars, the rear fairings and the steep windscreen.

As with the Modena version, its 3.6 litre V8 with 400 bhp is on display under a glass hood. The engine – confined in space by the convertible’s top’s storage area – acquires additional air supply through especially large side grills. The intake manifolds, with the classical Ferrari covers, cuddle up to each other between the air supply conduits in the Spider engine compartment, as opposed to lying apart as with the Mondena.

Despite the car’s mid-mounted V8 engine Ferrari’s engineers found a way of creating a hood that automatically folds away inside the engine bay, thus ensuring purity of line. The top canopy of crease free material comes in black, blue, grey and beige. The striptease from a closed top to an open-air convertible is a two-stage folding-action that has been dubbed “a stunning 20 second mechanical symphony”. After a short to and fro, the entire top disappears into a closed storage area between the seating and the engine.

The interior of the Spider is identical to the coupé.

Dimensions

* Overall: length 4477 mm (176.3 in)
* Overall: width 1922 mm (75.7 in)
* Height: 1235 mm (48.6 in)
* Wheelbase: 2600 mm (102.3 in)
* Front track: 1669 mm (65.7 in)
* Rear track: 1617 mm (63.6 in)
* Weight: 1350 kg (2976 lb)
* Curb weight: 1450 kg (3197 lb)
* Weight distribution: 42/58% front/rear
* Fuel capacity: 95 L (25.1 US gal)

Challenge Stradale

The Challenge Stradale is the hard-core, race-focused version of the Modena. With a modified 3.6-litre V8 motor from the Modena, the Challenge Stradale accelerates from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in just 4.2 seconds.

In total, the CS is 110 kg (243 lbs) lighter than the ordinary Modena. 94 kilos (207 lbs) was taken off on the aluminium bodywork and by stripping the interior. The engine and transmission was slimmed down 11 kg (24 lbs).

The common difference between a Challenge Stradale and the base Modena is by the larger 19″ BBS wheels on the CS, and carbon-fibre side mirrors. Other noticeable differences include an updated front bumper, lower ride height, and a black mesh grille at the rear end of the car, with the unique Challenge Stradale badge.

The car also has unique bucket seats which are noticeable from the outside.

Dimensions

* Overall length: 4477 mm (176.3 in)
* Overall width: 1922 mm (75.7 in)
* Height: 1199 mm (47.2 in)
* Wheelbase: 2600 mm (102.4 in)
* Front track: 1669 mm (65.7 in)
* Rear track: 1617 mm (63.7 in)
* Curb weight: 1180 kg (2601 lb)
* Fuel capacity: 95 L (25.1 US gal)

Performance

* 0–100 km/h (62 mph): 4.1 s
* Top Speed : 300 km/h (186 mph)
* downforce: about 270 kgf (2.6 kN) @ 300 km/h (without rear wing)
* lift/drag: about -1.1:1

Race models

Challenge

The Challenge was a track only car. It was a non-road legal variant of the Modena that shed 120 kg of weight by use of carbon fibre and stripping out of all of the road car’s luxuries such as leather interior coverings, electric windows and mirrors. The car boasted a fully stripped out racing interior with full integrated welded in roll cage and fire extinguisher. Lightweight BBS 18″ alloys, challenge rear grille and plexi-glass rear engine cover cosmetically distinguished the car from the standard 360. The Modena’s advanced electronic suspension system with integrated ASR was dropped in favour of conventional racing Boge dampers. These changes lowered the car by an inch over the Modena while removing the electronic safety net of the road going car.

The engine performance was left the same as the Modena (at 400 bhp) with the focus on handling, weight reduction and weight balance improvements. The Challenge was only available in F1 automatic variant, no manual cars were produced. The biggest differences in driving were attributed to the weight reduction and massive handling improvements through the use of uprated stiffer springs and uprated aluminium suspension flamblocks (bushes).

ferrari_360_gt_03.jpg

From the 1980s forward, Ferrari devoted all its competitive efforts to Formula One. Rapidly developing technology and intense competition dictated that even with Fiat money behind Ferrari, the proliferation of competition designs in sports cars, prototypes and grand prix couldn’t be sustained. Fiat’s interest in the production side of Ferrari also limited the exchange of technical, material and production support which had characterized Ferrari’s organization in an earlier, and decidedly simpler, era.

It was an era of specialization that, even in sports car prototypes, saw major manufacturers like Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Jaguar and even Porsche develop short-term projects with massive resources behind them to conquer a single championship (or even a single race, i.e., LeMans) and then withdraw to reap the commercial benefits from their racing successes.

Rules and series, too, were Balkanized by national and regional promoters so cars that were developed and configured to specific promoters’ ideas of commercially viable events and series had to be significantly altered to compete in other series.

Ferrari’s decision made commercial sense, but that mattered little to committed owners who recalled the joy, pride and excitement of racing Ferraris. They cajoled, wheedled and importuned Ferrari to develop competitive sports cars and prototypes. They even offered to pay large (some might say ‘huge’) sums to guarantee the financial viability of a sports car racing program. And gradually Ferrari saw the value, not only in enhancing its image but also in generating revenue.

A series of outsourced and half-heartedly backed Ferrari sports cars, the 512 BB/LM, showed there was potential, but it wasn’t until the F40’s success was followed by the creation of the Ferrari Challenge, a factory-backed racing series using specially prepared production based F355 Berlinettas that included appearances as support races at major professional races and a year-end championship runoff for regional and national championships.

The Challenge was a success and continued with the introduction of the 360. Wisely, Ferrari created a new class for the F355 Challenge cars, prolonging both their owners’ investments and offering an affordable entry to aspiring competitors.

Scribbled on January 26th 2007 in Ferrari 360, Ferrari 360 GT
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