Scarlet fever: 60 F40s on parade lap


The ambience, the sense of occasion and - especially! - the sound track must have been an experience to savour as a world record 60 Ferrari F40s - of only 1315 ever made - paraded in formation around the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit at the weekend to mark the Italian supercar's 25th birthday.

Yes, Cyril, the car described by no less a cynic than Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson as “the greatest supercar the world has ever seen”, and which still looks like a futuristic concept car today, was released in 1987.

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Only 1315 F40s were ever made. To see 60 in the same place is astonishing.To see a Ferrari F40 in the flesh is, pardon the pun, a red-letter day in any petrol-head's life. Here are 60, parked in three rows in the parc ferme at Silverstone.


Conceived by Enzo Ferrari in 1984 as his “last great statement” (he was right; it was his final project before his death in 1988) the F40 was the world's first street-legal 325km/h (200mph in the old language) production car.

At the time it was not only the world's fastest but also the world's quickest-accelerating standard road car, much to Detroit's chagrin, demolishing the standing quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds with a terminal speed considerably in excess of 200km/h.

Yet with classic Ferrari elegance, it did so without having to use a thundering great V12 truck engine; the F40 got its 352kW from a jewel-like 2936cc V8 with two IHI turbochargers, running only 1.1 bar of boost.


Its outrageous performance came from advanced use of carbon-fibre, kevlar and aluminium alloys in its construction (an F40 weighs just 1100kg ready to go) and superlative aerodynamics, ensuring that it was as stable as it was fast.

The occasion was the 2012 Silverstone Classic, the world largest historic racing festival, and Sunday's phalanx of scarlet F40s led a glittering parade of more than 400 rare and exotic cars, including iconic British sportscars such as TVRs, Lotus Elans, Triumph Spitfires, Austin Healeys and MGBs - 2012 is the MGB's 50th anniversary year - plus Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz car club members.

On Saturday it had been the turn of hundreds of BMW Z1, Z3, Z4 and Z8 sports-cars to lap the famous circuit as part of the UK's first 'Z-fest'.

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