There's a new supercar manufacturer on the scene – but it's not a new name. That name is Fittipaldi, the two-time F1 and Indy champion who has now started his own line of road-going supercars, starting with the one you see here.
The culmination of much anticipation, the Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo has finally stood for its curtain call at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. And it looks every bit as awesome as we'd hoped.
Those who've been following the development will know that, even with all his clout and expertise, Emerson Fittipaldi did not go it alone on this project. He's used to being part of a winning team (like Lotus and McLaren with which he won his world championships), and assembled some serious talent to turn his dream into a reality.
The design before you is the work of Pininfarina, the Italian carrozzeria that has plenty of experience styling supercars. The engineering work was carried out by HWA, an offshoot of sorts from AMG that runs Mercedes' DTM operations (among others).
Their combined talents have yielded a deliberately shark-like supercar with the bite to back up its bark. The entire thing is crafted out of carbon fiber, from the racing-style monocoque chassis to the dramatic bodywork punctuated by more wings and vents than an air force base. The construction was chosen not only for its lightness but also for its crashworthiness, with the vehicle designed not just to meet FIA motorsport safety standards.
At its heart sits a 4.8-liter V8 engine that, contrary to the latest trends, is entirely naturally aspirated – no turbochargers, no hybrid assist, just a stratospheric 9,000-rpm redline. The powerplant, designed specifically for the purpose by HWA, produces 600 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, channeled to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox (integrated into the structure) and two-way mechanical limited slip differential.
The whole thing is about the size of a Ferrari 488, but weighs a good third less – its curb weight projected at around 1,000 kilograms (give or take 50). Independent wishbones with coilover springs at both ends keep it suspended less than two and a half inches off the road. But instead of carbon-ceramic discs, the EF7 uses ventilated steel units favored by track enthusiasts for their cost-effective swappability.
The first product from the newly established Fittipaldi Motors will be available to play in the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport for PlayStation 4, but that won't be the end of it. The vehicle will be available (at an as-yet undisclosed price) to paying customers, who will be offered extensive customization options and benefit from personal coaching from Fittipaldi himself as well as a training program of his design. There'll be organized track days, too, held at “some of the world's premier racing circuits.”
What we don't know at this point is whether Fittipaldi will also create a version of the EF7 that would be certified to drive on public roads – because this one doesn't look like it could clear a speedbump. But we'll be watching for that news along with performance and price figures in the near future.