Driving report Ferrari F12 TdF (Tour de France)

Achim Hartmann
Driving report Ferrari F12 TdF
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S eleven most of the journalists gathered in Fiorano are aware of that Abbreviation 'tdf' a bit at a loss. The td hardly stands for “turbodiesel”, jokes one. The abbreviation stands for 'Tour de France' and it has nothing to do with the cycle race of the same name, but with the Tour de France de Automobil car road race, which started in France between 1951 and 1986, initially as a road race similar to the Mille Miglia, later as a rally.

Ferrari F12 tdf is called 'Tour de France'

In 1956 a Ferrari driver, the part-time racing driver and playboy Alfonso de Portago, won for the first time in a 250 GT the competition. His car had a wheelbase shortened to 2,600 millimeters and a simple but stunningly beautiful light alloy body designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti.

Then the Scuderia won eight more times with three generations of the 250 GT, including the GTO the Tour de France, and in memory of de Portago's opening victory, the 250 Berlinetta from 1956 with its wheelbase trimmed to 2600 millimeters was nicknamed the Tour de France.

Limited edition of 799 copies

Back to the present in the hinterland of Emilia-Romagna, in the new Ferrari F12 tdf, one on 799 Limited special edition copies of the F12.

Wrumm, the F12 tdf flies up the mountain at half throttle as if it were being shot into the next bend by a steam catapult. The second gear howls until just before the 9,000 mark in the rev counter, the LED flashes in the steering wheel converge, and the next gear is inside. Then a quick step on the brake, and the F12 drives like in front of a wall, zap back a gear, turn in, a little gas, through the bend, again wroooap, further.

780 hp, less than 1,500 kg - that sounds like a brutal driving machine in which you feel like flying a helicopter in your living room here in the mountains. Not so in the Ferrari. Despite the enormous performance, the sophisticated aerodynamics and the brute brakes, this F12 is an exemplary manageable sports car with control units that react to the finest movements and provide crystal-clear feedback.

V12 front engine and all-wheel steering

The steering is extremely direct,the tdf changes direction as spontaneously as a skier sweeping through slalom gates, not a trace of understeer. Only later on the racetrack with very sustained use of gas does the rear end tend to dance out. Passo corto virtuale is the magic formula for the handiness of the F12 tdf.

Before the exit, the Ferrari engineers reveal what's behind it: The F12 tdf is the first Ferrari to have all-wheel steering. Electric actuators from ZF move the two rear wheels depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration, speed and in cooperation with the electronic differential lock, traction control and ABS sensors by a maximum of 1.5 degrees in order to achieve greater agility with extremely high cornering stability.

None of this can be felt on the country road, except that the tdf sweeps through all the oncoming bends at apparently any high speed, as unshakable and stoic as a crazy fast rail vehicle.

Ferrari F12 tdf: Super vacuum cleaner with crazy driving performance

Of course not only the all-wheel steering is new on the tdf, they also helped the engine a little in Maranello, among other things with mechanical bucket tappets without hydraulic play compensation and with infinitely variable intake pipes, as they were common in the old V10 Formula 1 engines. In addition, there is a more throughput-friendly intake tract with a larger throttle valve diameter.

780 hp at 8,500 revolutions as well as a speed limit of 8,900 revolutions are the result and 705 Nm maximum torque at 6,250 revolutions. The twelve-cylinder with the unusual bank angle of 65 degrees is not a good, but a very obedient fellow who acknowledges every millimeter of the accelerator pedal with an extremely quick and willing reaction. Seen in this way, the seven gears of the dual clutch transmission are a superfluous luxury, the engine could also get by with five or six gears. Nevertheless, the gears in the tdf gearbox are more closely spaced, and the gear changes are now a bit faster.

It is almost needless to say that the tdf accelerates a bit more quickly than the normal F12: it should be the first street Ferrari Sprint to 100 km /h in under three seconds, up to 200 km /h in less than eight seconds. And the top speed is 340 km /h, which is as theoretical in Italy as balanced state finances.

The Ferrari F12 tdf can also race tracks

The tdf has also upgraded aerodynamically. The underbody has been optimized, air baffles accelerate the airflow and the exhaust air from the radiator under the car, which, together with the side tail units and the rear diffuser, ensures downforce. At the front, a complicated tail unit made up of delta wings, splinters and flaps portions the wind. Of course, this is also not noticeable even when driving fast on country roads, just as little as that of over 100 kglower overall weight.

Fortunately, there is Fiorano, the small test track around Enzo Ferrari's house. The tdf is said to be three seconds faster than the predecessor 599 GTO and two seconds faster than the F12 with 740 hp. Four short laps are enough to condense the impressions of driving on the country road: overwhelming, but easily controllable power, fine, communicative steering, infinite grip and almost unshakable neutrality.

And brakes that can hardly be embarrassed even with very optimistic braking points. And while we're at it: clean, flawless workmanship in the very simple cockpit, which is simply furnished in black in carbon fiber and Alcantara.

Although expensive, but already sold out

That makes you want more, of course. But the hurdles are high: an F12 tdf costs 379,000 euros in Germany, at least in theory. Because the series, which is limited to 799 copies, is practically sold out before production begins. Incidentally, one of the 84 old 250 TdFs built was auctioned at Sotheby’s in September - for around seven million euros.

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