Sleek new Ferrari KC23 is a shape-shifting track car built for an avid collector

Published Jul 11, 2023


Commissioned by one of Ferrari’s most avid collectors, the new KC23 is described by its maker as a bold and extreme vision of what the racing car of the future could be like.

As the Maranello-based sportscar maker’s latest one-off project, the completely bespoke KC23 boasts ground-breaking aerodynamic solutions, such as motorised air intake vents and an imposing rear wing.

The KC32 inherits its chassis and 448kW twin-turbo V8 engine from the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, which is Ferrari’s most successful race car ever, having racked up over 530 victories on circuits around the world.

Given the extreme nature of its engine, chassis and suspension set-up, the KC23 was designed exclusively for non-competitive track use, Ferrari says.

Its most unusual feature is its dual configuration. At a standstill, the car’s layout showcases its clean, sleek, sinuous forms, but once it hits the track its visual stance is dominated by its impressive air intakes, which open automatically, and its imposing rear wing.

The design also hides several of the car’s technical functions, particularly the side air intakes, which open automatically when the mid-rear V8 twin turbo is turned on. This gives the KC23 an almost lifelike look, as its shape changes depending on what it is being used for.

When it came to downforce and cooling, the designers worked hard to retain the performance of the donor car despite the fact that the KC23 has a completely different silhouette.

Panels were developed with custom kinematics that activate automatically when the engine is turned on: the one behind the front wheel reveals a fence, which boosts front downforce to balance the car aerodynamically. The panel at the rear provides the correct amount of intake air to the intercoolers and auxiliary components, as well as to the engine.

The KC23’s butterfly doors open vertically on single front hinges, an architectural solution it shares with another iconic supercar, the LaFerrari.

The KC23 also boasts a Gold Mercury livery, courtesy of a specially-developed, four-layer aluminium paint. The liquid metal in the paint is said to give it an astonishingly luminous gleam in sunlight and the colour itself seems to change constantly depending on the type and angle of the light striking it.

Ferrari kept the cabin as pared-back and similar to the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 as possible, with the exception of the door panels and dashboard finish on the passenger side. For rearward vision the driver relies on a video camera system that also benefits the car’s aerodynamics by allowing the car to forgo traditional wing mirrors.

Interestingly, Ferrari created this car with two different sets of wheels. Firstly, there’s a set of 18-inch rims with track tyres, designed to optimise on-track performance, but to make the car look better when it’s on display, the carmaker has crafted a set of 21-inch (front) and 22-inch (rear) wheels.

The new Ferrari KC23 will make its first public appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this coming weekend, and will also go on display at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello from August 1 to October 2.

“The Special Projects programme is aimed at creating unique Ferraris (the so-called “One-Offs”) characterised by an exclusive design crafted to the requirements of the client, who thus becomes the owner of a one-of-a-kind model,” Ferrari says.

“Each project originates from an idea put forward by the client and is developed hand-in-glove with a team of designers from Ferrari’s Styling Centre. Once the car’s proportion and forms have been defined, detailed design blueprints and a styling buck are produced before the manufacturing process for the new One-Off begins.”

According to Ferrari, the entire process takes around two years on average, during which time the client is closely involved in assessing the design and verification phases.

IOL Motoring