MOTOR Magazine Australia|December 2021
Does internal combustion get much better than this?
PILIFEROUS POET Scroobius Pip once said “You see a mousetrap, I see free cheese and a challenge” and after driving the Ferrari 812 Competizione, I understand what he meant. Apathy has no reward because it requires no action, whereas hard things hold the potential for great satisfaction – even if they look a bit dicey.

In this particular analogy, imagine the cheese is the latest in Ferrari’s line of exclusive special-edition front-engined V12 sportscars and the trap is the Fiorano test track in the pissing rain. Intimidated, I was.

Take for example, the new Competizione’s ancestors; the F12 TDF was a wild iteration of the front-engined, rear-drive coupe that was a handful at the best of times, and before that, the 599 GTO was a savage interpretation of the donor model that really should have been fitted with an ejector seat. And now the limited-edition Special Series bloodline continues in the form of a car that takes the 812 Superfast as its basis.

What has resulted, however, is not simply a liberal application of stickers and carbon fibre but a comprehensive weaponising program that probably violates the Hague Convention.

At its heart, the 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 has been extensively revised with titanium con-rods replacing the iron-age versions, connected to a lighter crankshaft. At the top end, different cylinder heads incorporate finger valve lifters in favour of the bucket tappets found in the Superfast, while the entire induction is new with shorter tracts for better performance at higher rpm.

The net result is a truly violent version of the glorious 65-degree V12 that revs freer and faster to a maximum of 9500rpm and will chuck out 610kW and 692Nm at 9250 and 2500rpm respectively.

Number nerds will note that, compared with the Superfast, power is up 22kW but torque is shy by 26Nm. Think of the Competizione like a Christmas present though – its respectable torque is the wrapping paper and box that kids play with, while its incredible power is the true gift for the initiated. Those who have experienced the savagery of a Ferrari V12 would take care pointing this carbon-tipped missile at any road or track. However, we’re at the Ferrari’s test track in Fiorano – a ribbon that’s as infamous for its narrow unforgiving path as much as it is for the long, long list of legendary cars and drivers that have graced it over the decades. I’m certainly humbled and almost embarrassed to be here but thick clouds are looming and there’s no time for vanity.

The Competizione is available shod with a choice of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R tyres or Pirelli P Zero Corsa but the latter are the only option for a day like today which is struggling to climb past seven degrees with rain forecast. And yes, we have used pictures from a sunnier day where you can actually see the car. With warmish rubber, the coupe’s tail squirms out of the pits and suggests the conditions will allow full power at no point.

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