Ferrari’s much-anticipated hard-core version of its superlative F12berlinetta has finally arrived, in the form of the F12tdf. The “tdf” stands for “Tour de France,” a name that was applied to a series of endurance-racing Ferraris from the 1950s and ’60s. Ferrari characterizes the F12tdf as “the ultimate expression of the concept of an extreme road car that is equally at home on the track,” and the modifications from the standard F12 are more extensive than you might imagine.
As with all things Ferrari, the specialness starts in the engine room. The naturally aspirated, 6.3-liter V-12 screams to 8900 rpm, and horsepower climbs from an already-ridiculous 730 to 769 at 8500 rpm. Torque increases from 509 lb-ft to 520, the full measure of which is on tap at 6750 rpm. Mechanical tappets and variable-geometry intake trumpets are among the “numerous modifications” to the engine. The F1 automated manual gearbox also boasts faster upshifts and downshifts.
Besides imbuing the F12tdf with more power, Ferrari says it also has excised nearly 250 pounds from the car. Also a result, factory acceleration times are down to just 2.9 seconds from 0-to-62 mph (versus 3.1 seconds for the F12berlinetta) and 7.9 seconds to 124 mph. The F12tdf also shaves two seconds off the F12berlinetta’s Fiorano lap time, now 1:21. Top speed is said to be “in excess of” 211 mph. Ferrari says braking distances are 100 feet from 62 mph, and 397 feet from 124 mph.
Beyond a more robust engine, there are chassis changes as well. The F12tdf boasts a wider front and rear track, as well as wider front tires (275-series, up from 250). More significant, the F12tdf also introduces rear-wheel steering (dubbed Virtual Short Wheelbase). Ferrari claims the system counters the increased tendency to oversteer caused by the stickier front tires, yielding greater high-speed stability yet also making for quick turn-in.