Citing advances made in the Formula 1 arena, Ferrari has developed the Handling GTC option, a brake-and-suspension package for the 575M Maranello. (The GTC name is borrowed from the turnkey customer race car Ferrari builds for FIA and American Le Mans Series events.)
This Handling GTC package consists of ceramic-composite brakes, 19-inch modular wheels with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, revised suspension settings, and specially calibrated adaptive-damping shock controls. The car's F1-style paddle-shift transmission has also been revised for faster shifts and better integration during normal driving, and the car's rearmost mufflers have been replaced with lighter and louder units.
The result of all this tweaking, according to Maurizio Manfredini, who is the team leader of the 12-cylinder-car range, is a lap time at Ferrari's Fiorano test track some 1.5 seconds quicker than that achieved by the stock Maranello, which sells for about $250,000 in the U.S. Lateral acceleration has improved by 0.10 g, he says (we recorded 0.92 g in our most recent test [C/D, December 2002]), and the brakes are good for 290 laps without fading.
Although we can't be absolutely sure about the figures Ferrari presented, we did notice that the colossal ceramic rotors (15.7 inches in front, 14.2 inches in the rear) and their massive monoblock six-piston calipers provided dependable retardation during hard driving on the tight and twisting sections of Ferrari's test route as well as at Fiorano. They were also quiet in operation and produced no significant dust accumulations.
The big car could be driven quickly on bumpy, undulating surfaces with an almost complete absence of bouncing and pitching, exhibiting a remarkable degree of body-motion control for a 4000-pound grand tourer. Although we didn't have a stock 575M on hand to compare transmission performance, the Handling GTC gearbox seemed exceedingly smooth and synchronized compared with memories of recent 360 models we've driven.
All in all, the Handling GTC package seems like a rigorously developed system that does all the company claims. The racing package will add about $25,000 to the 575M Maranello's quarter-million sticker. But hey, that's only a 10-percent premium, and what will those Ferrari-club guys say if you buy a Maranello with the stock wheels and brakes? They'll think you're a wuss.
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