For decades automotive aerodynamics were viewed almost as an act of the dark arts. Progress in this arena has been slow and plodding, but it finally feels like we’ve reached the pinnacle of the science. Generational improvements still occur, but it’s reached a certain point of diminishing returns. That is, unless you’re Ferrari. The new F8 Tributo, it says, is 10% more aerodynamically efficient than the 488 it replaces.
The F8 accomplishes this with a serious revamp of the aero package. Not only does the new body flow air more efficiently and create more downforce, it looks a right side better, too! I like the way the F8 looks, it’s a shade prettier than anything Ferrari has built in decades.
The most visible new piece of the aero package is the so-called Front S-Duct. Allowing air in the front of the car and up through the front trunk lid, the whole front of the car acts like a wing, providing huge front downforce. This is literally F1 aero technology applied to road cars. It was introduced with the 488 Pista, and has been updated for the F8.
The new “blown” rear wing makes use of the upwashing effect of air that goes under the wing to further force air upward coming off the rear of the car. It’s not explained very thoroughly, but perhaps this works something like Lamborghini’s ALA system. They are quick to highlight three wing supports underneath the wing, perhaps they force more air into the stream to accelerate the under-wing air on straights to stall downforce for less drag on high speed runs? Hopefully more will come out about this system soon.
The underbody floor is flat, as on most cars these days, but the front has a pretty serious diffuser built in. Those diffusers also help cool the brakes. There are a number of underbody vortex generators that help push air out to the sides of the car, which should create a suction force pulling the car to the ground.
All of the underbody air that makes it to the back goes out through a giant diffuser. That diffuser has a series of flaps that allow it to apply downforce as needed to the inside wheel in a corner, or to close it off completely for more efficient straight line speed.
Further, the radiators have been laid down to make the car smoother through the air, and more wedgy at the front. Out back, the charge intercoolers have been enlarged enough to drop intake air temperatures by 15 degrees (it doesn’t specify which scale, but hopefully not Kelvin) to help support the F8’s 50 horsepower bump over the 488.
Man, I fuckin’ love science.