Ferrari Daytona SP3 : The New Icona
On February 6th, 1967, Ferrari achieved one of the most dramatic victories in its history by finishing first, second, and third in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the first round of that year’s International World Sports Car Championship. The new Icona’s name refers to that iconic 1-2-3 finish and pays homage to the Ferrari sports prototypes that helped establish the marque’s unmatched status in motorsport. The Daytona SP3, which was unveiled at the Mugello Circuit is a limited edition that joins the Icona series, which debuted in 2018 with the Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2.
The design of the Ferrari Daytona SP3 is a harmonious interaction of contrasts, with sublimely sculptural, curvy surfaces intermixed with the kind of sharper lines that revealed the growing importance of aerodynamics in the design of racecars. The brave choice of a ‘Targa’ body with a removable hard top was also inspired by the world of sports prototypes: as a result, the Daytona SP3 not only provides incredible driving experience but also practical performance.
Despite being inspired by the visual language of 1960s racing vehicles, the Ferrari Daytona SP3 is dressed in highly unique, modern shapes. Its sculptural strength celebrates and interprets the sensual volumes of sports cars to remarkably modern effect. A design this comprehensive required a carefully planned and coordinated strategy from Chief Design Officer Flavio Manzoni and his Styling Centre team.
The cabin of the Ferrari Daytona SP3 appears to be a dome set into a romantic sculpture from the back, with flowing wings extending out either side. The overall balance of the automobile is highlighted by monumental volumes that are a powerful expression of the long-appreciated skills of Italian coachbuilding. The fluidity of its volumes blends seamlessly with sharper surfaces to generate the illusion of effortless visual balance that has long been a hallmark of Maranello’s design history.
The sculptural beauty of former Ferrari sports prototypes such as the 512 S, 712 Can-Am, and 312 P is reflected in the sleek double-crested front wings. The geometry of the flanks is well represented by the contour of the wheel arches. They are structural at the front and provide a strong link between the wheel and the well by not entirely following the circular profile of the tire. The rear flank swells out from the sylph-like waist, forming a muscular rear muscle that wraps around the front of the wheels and then tapers down towards the tail, bringing a dynamic dynamism to the three-quarter view.
The butterfly doors, which have an air box built into them to route air to the side-mounted radiators, are another significant element; the sculptural forms result in the doors having a prominent shoulder housing the air intake that is visually linked to the vertical cut of the windscreen. The prominent surface of the doors, whose leading edge forms the back of the front wheel arch, also aids in the management of airflow from the front wheels. This surface treatment is also suggestive of automobiles such as the 512 S, which inspired the Daytona SP3’s styling code in part.
The wing mirrors have been relocated ahead of the doors to the top of the wings. The location was chosen to improve visibility and limit the effect of the wing mirrors on air flow to the door intakes. To provide a continuous flow to the intakes, the form of the mirror’s cover and stem were refined using dedicated CFD simulations.
However, the three-quarter back view of the automobile is even more notable because it fully exposes the original style of the Daytona SP3. The door is a carved volume with a distinct geometrical shape. It produces a whole different, clipped look when combined with the massive muscle of the rear wing. The door visibly replicates the volume of the flank and offers the car a more cab-forward appearance by extending the surface of the front wheel arch and counterbalancing the imposing rear. Because of the placement of the side radiators, this architecture might be altered to fit a sports car.
The front of the Ferrari Daytona SP3 is dominated by two impressive wings with outer and inner crests that descend into two air vents on the bonnet, giving the wings the appearance of being broader. The connection between the outer crest’s perceived mass and the inner crest’s aerodynamic purpose highlights how design and technology are deeply linked in this car. The front bumper features a large center grille framed by two pillars, as well as a set of stacked horizontal blades bordered by the bumpers outside edge. The headlamp assemblies are characterized by an upper moveable panel inspired by early supercar pop-up headlights, a Ferrari tradition that offers the car an aggressive, minimalist appearance.
The rear bodywork enhances the wing’s muscular appearance by repeating the twin-crest theme and the aerodynamic vent that increases its three-dimensional volume. The tiny, tapering cockpit works in combination with the wings to form a strong tail with a central backbone. At the end of this backbone, the naturally-aspirated V12, the new Ferrari Icona’s living beating heart, is unveiled in all its beauty.
The rear is completed by a sequence of horizontal blades, giving the appearance of a light, radical, structured monolithic volume, lending the Daytona SP3 a future design while also referring to trademarks from Ferrari’s DNA. The taillight assemblies consist of a horizontal fluorescent bar integrated into the first line of blades beneath the spoiler. The twin tailpipes are positioned squarely in the upper portion of the diffuser, adding to the car’s aggressive appearance and completing a design that visibly broadens it.
The cockpit of the Daytona SP3 is inspired by historic Ferraris such as the 330 P3/4, 312 P, and 350 Can-Am. Starting with the concept of a high-performance chassis, the designers methodically created a space that delivers the comfort and luxury of a modern Grand Tourer while remaining very simple in its stylistic language. On sports prototypes, the traditional upholstered cushions that were directly attached to the chassis have been changed into futuristic seats integrated into the body, creating a smooth textural continuity with the surrounding trim.
Several outside aspects, like the windscreen, had a favorable impact on the interior design. When viewed from the side, the windscreen header rail cut forms a vertical plane that divides the cockpit in half, separating the functional part of the dashboard that houses the instrumentation from the seating. This building accomplishes the challenging task of being both incredibly sporty and extremely graceful at the same time.
The interior of the Daytona SP3 is designed to provide a comfortable driving environment for both the driver and the passenger by using stylistic influences from race cars. The major aim was to visually broaden the interior by separating the dash area from the two seats. In fact, the latter are part of a smooth textural continuity, with trim that extends all the way to the doors, duplicating the sleek utility typical of sports prototypes. When the doors are open, the same trim extension may be seen on the sill.
The seats are integrated into the chassis and so have the ergonomic wraparound design that distinguishes high-performance cars, as well as the kind of painstaking workmanship that distinguishes them. Because the seats are fixed, the textural connection between them and the expansion of the theme to the neighboring trimmed areas, as well as certain volumetric effects, were made feasible, while the driver’s adjustments are handled by an adjustable pedal box.
The shape of the door panels also aids in visually expanding the cockpit. Some trimmed parts have been added to the carbon-fiber panels: leather padding on the door panel at shoulder height reinforces the connection with sports prototypes and emphasizes the wraparound appearance even more. Lower down, the surfaces, on the other hand, feel like an extension of the seat itself.