Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] is close to finalizing development of a modular platform that will underpin its next generation of cars starting with a replacement for the California due out in the next year or two.
The platform needed to be highly flexible so that it can underpin most of Ferrari’s lineup including mid-engine sports cars and front-engined GTs. It also needed to be compatible with rear- and all-wheel-drive setups as well as hybrid technology.
It’s a strategy already employed by arch rival McLaren, but Ferrari is sticking with aluminum for its platform as opposed to carbon fiber favored by McLaren and a few other supercar marques. Ferrari favors aluminum because of the material's relative ease when it comes to production and maintenance, despite it being heavier and less stiff than carbon fiber.
It’s been revealed that America’s Altair helped Ferrari develop the new platform. Altair has been working with Ferrari for over a decade and even sent a team to Maranello to work alongside Ferrari’s own design, engineering and manufacturing teams on the new platform.
Altair is an expert in computational modelling and this talent was required in meeting the strict weight and structural targets, Ferrari engineer Maximilian Szwaj said.
“The speed of [Altair’s] optimization processes deployed were able to control the weight whilst achieving the demanding structural targets as new packaging changes were introduced,” he explained. “For Ferrari, the next-generation platform is a significant engineering achievement and a symbol of our successful collaboration with Altair.”
The result is a platform that is 15 percent lighter than Ferrari’s current designs, while also superior in areas such as crash performance, NVH levels and related attributes. This in turn should result in “outstanding” weight and performance characteristics, the company promises.