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Ferrari and Turbocharging.........

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by Kds, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    I just finished reading another book about the incredible and all conquering Porsche 917/10 and 917/30............and began to wonder why Ferrari did not adopt turbocharging for it's road cars and GT/sportscar class race cars on the scale that it's nemesis Porsche did.

    We know about the 208GTS/GTB road car.....and their use of turbochargers in F1 is apparent and IMHO due to the fact that they had no choice it would seem.....but back in the 70's......the field was ripe and exploited masterfully by the Germans.

    Can anyone enlighten me.....where there turbocharged GT/sportscar class prototypes that went by the wayside ? Did Ferrari ever attempt to duplicate the succes of Porsche at any time ? Why was the 208, or the "tax avoidance" special as I call it, the only turobcharged Ferrari road car ?

    TIA for any and all answers.........
     
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  3. michael platzer

    michael platzer F1 Veteran

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    never heard of 288 GTO or F 40 ????
    5.593 posts and that´s the result ???
     
  4. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

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    The F40 was turbo charged...
     
  5. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    This is in the vintage section guys..............I am looking for 70's info mainly as it pertains to race/road cars and as to why they didn't do anything on the scale that Porsche did. A handful of F-40's and 288 GTO's were built obviously......but even they are different than the daily driver 208. I should have beem more clear.
     
  6. michael platzer

    michael platzer F1 Veteran

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    sorry but i dont get the point - vintage: the 208 has been built from 1980 to the GTS turbos in 1988 - the 288 GTO from 1984-86 and the F 40 from 1988-92. so where is the big difference? and as for the "handful" - there were 1331 F 40 built - almost as many as all the 208 types togehter.
     
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  8. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    There were 1988 208 GTB Turbo's as well.

    Best
     
  9. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    Let me try again..........

    In the 70's Porsche took turbocharging to the race track and created a series of overwhelmingly dominant race cars whose span lasted decades (917/10/30, 934, 935, 956, 962, GT1, etc) and whose technology transformed and found it's way into a successful line of road cars starting in the 70's (924, 944, 968, 911 Turbo) and extending over the next 31 years......with the exception of 4 years of production (1990, 98-2000).

    Ferrari saw this in the 70's and did pretty much nothing IMHO. With the exception of the 208 as a general production road car in the 80's.....and their thinly disguised race cars, or "halo" cars as some call them (288GTO and F40) turbocharging was non-existant from their line up of both race and road cars.....with the exception of F1 per say.

    Why ?

    What circumstances caused Ferrari to dismiss turbocharging tehnology in the 70's from their race and road cars. Were their any protoype engines or race/road cars that I am not aware of for example ?
     
  10. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    Well, the Porsche 917 that I associate most with the Porsche success at LeMans (where they actually went head to head with Ferrari) was not turbocharged - it was more like two 911 engines joined back to back and I believe made in both 4.4 and 4.7 litre sizes, so it was essentially a direct competitor to the Ferrari V12 of the day.

    Later they did put the super-turbos on it for Can-Am with about 1200 HP, and I remember no Ferrari effort in the Can-Am.

    So, maybe back then Ferrari did not feel there was any advantage, or may be the rules did not allow, a TC or SC in the racing classes they wanted to follow?
     
  11. Simon

    Simon Moderator
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    The reason is money. As it always is.

    Porsche took a relatively inexpensive route to make their cars more powerful. Ferrari's multi-cylinder(more than 4 ;)) multivalve, multicam high reving engines were very expensive to manufacture. Rather than go this route, Porsche took what the had, air cooled 4 and 6 cylinder engines and pulled as much HP from them as they could. It worked very well.
     
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  13. Simon

    Simon Moderator
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    The later cars did not use the 208 nomenclature. The names are simply GTB or GTS Turbo
     
  14. michael platzer

    michael platzer F1 Veteran

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    of course ! you own a very rare bird - one of only 308 GTB turbos - and with finest provenance!
     
  15. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    #12 Napolis, Nov 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  16. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    Simon......

    Ferrari was, as I understand it, not exactly rolling in the lira back in the 60's and 70's.....therefore turbocharging should have been attractive to them........no ?

    James......

    That is just it....the ACO outlawed the Porsche 12 cylinder, so they went overseas with astounding success. Ferrari could have followed them in racing Can-Am to add a shine to their street cars sales in the USA.....but they did not.

    It seems to me that Ferrari, after the late 60's and 70's, kind of "hid under the rug" at both the racetrack and the street.....when the solution to building winning race/street cars (not F1 obviously, but everything else) was right under their noses.....as Porsche was showing.

    Where are the turbocharged 512M/S, Boxer's, 365's, Daytona's, etc, etc......? Why were they not built, or at least put into prototype form ? This is my question.......along with why ? It is the one thing about Ferrari I cannot comprehend.
     
  17. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    Norwoods?

    Seriously, you and I are on the same wavelength on the scarcity of Ferrari turbo until rather late in the game.

    Notice too, that Ferrari whined mightily about the displacement differences of the big Ford GT and their little 275LM back in the day...that was when Enzo himself supposedly promised to build a prototype with "cylinders the size of wine bottles"! (but no word about a turbo). I am not sure the rules would have allowed a turbo at the time...or maybe would not have permitted a competitive one to be entered.

    BTW, those Hyper-Turbo 917 cars were considered by many as the thing that put the kiss of death onto Can-Am - could Ferrari have sort of had a sixth sense that this was an excersize in futility to follow into a dying series?
     
  18. Simon

    Simon Moderator
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    No because that would have been an complete about turn for Ferrari regarding engine design. That in itself is massively expensive.

    Porsche had robust little engines that were ideal candidates to Turbocharger. Ferrari had a house full of high reving highly stressed V12's. The best way to keep costs low is to work with what you've got.

    Edit. Just to clarify, I know I'm generalising somewhat here. Ferrai also had smaller engines and and Porsche had more complicated designs.
     
  19. hg

    hg Formula Junior
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    One of the reasons was reliability. I asked this question to a Ferrari engineer at that time and that was the answer. The 208 was manufactured exclusively for the italian market because of tax issues and it remains the only "true" road car Ferrrari turbocharged. The 288 and F40 were limited production designed for competition and belong to the category of supercars, although the F40 production was quite numerous for commercial reasons.
     
  20. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    I wonder about that as well.......Porsche turbocharged their 12 cylinder to in excess of flash readings of 1,500 HP on a dyno.....917/30 race cars ran with 1,100 HP +/-.......I see no reason why they could not have done the same at the time.
     
  21. bigodino

    bigodino F1 World Champ
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    Simply because Ferrari from 1973 on concentrated solely on F1. Of course there were the Daytona and 512 BB racers but not with "real" factory backing (all through their concessionaires). The road cars were capable enough and Ferrari didn't have any experience with turbo charging so why risk anything with your customers?
     
  22. robert_c

    robert_c F1 Rookie

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    Learn something new everyday.

    Napolis, If I had seen your GTB without reading this post I would have wondered why you added the Boxer air intake by the rear wheel to your 308. Must be a kit car.
     
  23. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    This is a great thread, the way it brings back the memories.

    One of the things I admired most about Ferrari sports car racing (as a young fan & wanna-be) back in the 60s was the way they stuck to their V12 (mostly) and high-RPM guns rather than raw displacement or forced induction. I for one was actually pulling for Ferrari all through the movie LeMans when it first came out - even though I had a 911T at the time.

    I once read that Bugatti (in a like manner) long resisted using a supercharger because he thought it to be a form of "displacement cheating".

    I don't think for a moment that Enzo would hold to such a stubborn chivalry, (if the rules favored a turbo) but who is to say? Maybe he liked that linkage of prototype racer >> road car that we have admired so much over the years. He was pretty stubborn about brakes, wire wheels, and carburators for a long time too.
     
  24. JCR

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  25. morcal

    morcal Formula Junior
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    There were many reasons which may explain Ferrari position on turbos: all concurrent to lack of resources ( people/time/technology/money). First of all, Ferrari engines had enough performances to compete in the racing and in the road market as well. In mind , wherever turbo engines were engaged ( CAN-AM, Endurance in the '80 ies) Ferrari was officially not participating so that no need to develop turbo engines. When turbo was required like in F1 ( where Ferrari was engaged ) than Ferrari developed the V6 ( beginning with 1 turbo, after with 2 turbos, the 3 turbo version only did run at engine bench ) and decided also to divert the technology for road application like the mentioned 208 ,288 GTO and F40. At that time there was a lot of excitation in the factory ( starting from Mr. Enzo and including Mr. Forghieri and the engineering/testing teams ) about the promising turbo technology. There were multiple teams working in parallel , dedicated to the F1 and to the road V8 engines, on the factory development rigs could see running only turbo engines. Most of the attention was dedicated to the F1 program, because the engine turbo performance was expected to cure the lack of competitivity of the car. Now we have to consider that 25 years ago the turbo technology was at beginning stage and very difficult to be managed without the big help of high-temp materials and integrated electronic engine management systems. Anyway the small 1.5L V6 was capable to deliver in excess of 1000 HP in practice configuration wit an overboost of about 4 bars. While the German competitor Porsche ( who delivered turbo F1 engines to McLaren ) had apparently easy access to German key engine component manufacturers for turbos (3K), for electronics ( Bosch ), for pistons ( Mahle ) and engine cooling (Behr ), Ferrari was struggling to get the expected support and perhaps not enough organized to manage the concurrent problems on both car body/aerodynamics and engine/transmission. In mind at that time no Shumi, no Todt, no Montezemolo , no wind tunnel, no shift pads, no big money ; on top of, a little internal turmoil caused Mr. Forghieri ( Chief engineer and knowledgeable of the turbo engine ) to step-down. Due to this internal situation, Ferrari was not quick enough in realizing that the turbo engine development required a quantum leap in resource allocation to master engineering/simulation, new materials and electronic management systems. To cut the story short, when Ferrari got someway around it , the FIA reglements did change , banning turbos from the F1, in order to cut costs. What remained are the mentioned turbo V8's and maybe a door open to come-back of boosted engines , when fuel economy and emission reglements will make unavoidable to have small,efficient turbo engines on road cars instead of current big blocks. But maybe at that time they will be all diesels......
     
  26. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Ferrari were never interested in CanAm. Their minor efforts were really a joke ... thus they could not careless if Porsche and McLaren were winning.
    Er wrong ... Enzo and his team are famous for being the last race team to take up a new idea, eg: disc brakes, rear engine, monocoque chassis, etc.

    Pete
     
  27. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    OK, Pete - Enzo was of course were quite conservative. And I acknowledge that may have been one reason he was slow to pick up on the turbocharger. One might also uncharitably say he could be quite stubborn as well.

    However, his leadership also pioneered several things - the V12 (which had been occasionally used before in luxury cars, but never in small displacement sports machines like the early 212s etc.), Superleggera body construction, rear-mounted transaxles, etc...he was also not slow to adopt the mid-engine design in Formula One (although he did resist it for many years for his top-line road cars).

    My point was that Enzo liked to win even more than he liked to be stubborn. My contention is that if an inline 4 was better suited to the class rules, then that is what he would have made. If a turbocharger had offered an instant winning advantage, then no doubt he would have been there with half again more boost than anybody else.

    I think that in the particular racing venues that Ferrari was running at the time, the turbocharger was either outlawed by the rules, or was made to be at a disadvantage by the rules. Which is why turbocharging is somewhat rare with the Ferrari cars.
     
  28. mk e

    mk e F1 World Champ

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    The 70-early 80s turbo cars are just awful to drive and ferrari did the right think by not selling them.
     

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