Single issue hypercars—usually custom projects for the most super-super-rich of super-rich clients—range from vanity jobs and high-concept design efforts to hardcore track beasts that would scare the Gucci loafers off the average Gallardo owner.
The Ferrari P80/C, a new ride four years in the making and built for one unnamed collector for an undisclosed price, is a bit of each. It’s a design exercise that Ferrari promises can slay any track in the world. The Italian marque unveiled the project Monday, describing it as both an homage to legendary Ferraris of eras past, namely the 330 P3/P4 and Dino 206 S race cars from the 1960s, and a precision-crafted “Hero Car” that makes little in the way of compromises.
Those marching orders came directly from the client who commissioned the effort (which is where the vanity bit comes in). Said buyer worked with Ferrari designer Flavio Manzoni and the automaker’s performance engineers and aerodynamicists. The company said in a statement that it considers the P80/C to be a “new kind of product that simply did not exist in the current Ferrari range.” You know, a track-only prototype inspired by current design aesthetics, but drawing on iconic cars of the past.
The P80/C can ignore production vehicle requirements because it’s not going anywhere near public roads, and has external features that echo its predecessors. These include headlights and tail lights that are reduced to barely-there slits reminiscent of the forward air intakes of the 330 P3/P4, and a rear end left exposed to facilitate cooling and airflow, as was the case with both of the vintage racers. A concave rear windscreen and aluminum louvers over the engine call to the '60s era racers, but with some updated styling.
The guts of the car are based on the 488 GT3 track car, slightly stretched to accommodate the design flourishes and more aggressive posture. From the side it has a wedge shape, with distinctively arcing front and rear fenders and a massive, high-mounted carbon fiber wing that can be removed when driven in nonracing condition. (Think Pebble Beach.) Because the car also didn’t have to adhere to racing regulations either, the designers had the chance to optimize the aerodynamics and engine, resulting in a 5 percent overall efficiency improvement.
Will we ever see this car whip around a track? Ferrari is being coy about the owner’s intentions for the P80/C, but if this person is anything like fellow frequent custom-Ferrari acquirer James Glickenhaus, there’s hope.
Glickenhaus has received broad coverage of his specialized track cars, including solid and entertaining track footage. This new like-minded enthusiast may be equally generous, or conversely, mostly stingy with it. Meaning, of course, that we may never see the car again, as it sits in a collection to be pulled out only for private use on rented racetracks. Which would be a singular tragedy.