Take a moment to simply stare at the Ferrari P80/C, a one-off and track-only racer with all the aero and a pared-back cabin to die for.
It’s a modern interpretation of a kind of car the Italian brand used to make much more often. Ferrari has an enviable history of building what it called ‘Sports Prototypes’, usually badged with a P or even SP. From the 250P to the 330P4, these are some of the most exciting Ferraris ever built – and now the P80/C joins the list.
Although it’s based on a 488 GT3 – not the road car with its 50mm shorter wheelbase – the P80/C has had the longest development period of any one-off Ferrari yet, with The Official Ferrari Magazine confirming that work on it started in 2015.
Ferrari has a unique way of combining beauty with brutal function. The P80/C – also known as the SP36 – is staggeringly pretty and yet, thanks to bodywork sculpted with speed the central goal, it’s said to be supremely aerodynamically efficient.
It’s built around the racecar’s 592bhp, 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 – although this rules-restricted power figure will presumably have been bumped back up to the road car’s 661bhp, or even higher. A long, ‘catamaran-style’ rear end adds stability on hard corner exits and allows neater packaging.
Power and performance figures have been withheld for now, but the information released states clearly that peak circuit performance was the design team’s must-meet goal. An exceptional series of CAD sessions, aerodynamic analyses, carbonfibre manufacturing and more then followed. The unnamed client, whose standing with Ferrari is as good as it gets, has footed the bill for the entire process.
Among the visual highlights are a ‘wraparound’ windscreen designed to ape a crash helmet visor. Then there’s the massive rear wing-on-a-wing, the top section of which is fully removable so the car can be presented at concourse of elegance events in its ‘purest form.’ There’s a second, auxiliary rear wing at the back of the roof and we can only presume that comes off as well.
Inside you’ll find two bright blue and deep Alcantara bucket seats along with what look like six-point harnesses. The cockpit is totally, wonderfully focused on the driver with a slim but button-splashed steering wheel and a centre console loaded with switchgear and angled towards the driver. There’s a screen showing lap time and vital car data, plus the currently selected gear. Naturally the whole thing is encased by a roll cage. It’s all just… stunning.