Do you know why Enzo Ferrari was so eager to see it complete? Here is the story of the F40 as narrated by the engineer who designed it.
Born into a family of doctors, Nicola Materazzi became interested in cars early on. When he was four years old, he asked his parents to read the magazine pages to him every day.
After a good start to his career at Lamborghini, where he participated in the Miura and Countach formation, among others, Materazzi was hunted by Enzo Ferrari.
In 1979, he joined the Ferrari luxury racing unit. He became the chief engineer of the design office, while Mauro Forghieri was the technical director. Turbocharger specialist, Materazzi will develop this technology at Ferrari.
Call from the boss
One evening, in his office, Materazzi receives a call from Enzo Ferrari. The boss asks him for advice about a new engine to be added to the column.
Enzo tells Materazzi that engineers are developing a “three-liter, turbo engine, generating 330 horsepower”.
Materazzi cuts Enzo Ferrari and responds that such an engine should produce more than 400 horses, “otherwise it is useless”.
Enzo Ferrari, stunned, pauses for a moment and then begins again: “Very good! Well do it yourself! ”This is how the third department was born in Ferrari.
In addition to the race department and the traffic department, there will now be Nicola Materazzi, alone in the room.
you are weak
We are in 1986 and Ferrari is going through a difficult period. They no longer win in F1, and in the case of a road car, sales tend to end and Enzo is aware of that.
The Revolution of Grace will come from one of his friends, Pietro Barilla. An Italian pasta maker drinking a drink with Enzo, when he tells her that his baby can match Ferrari and BMW performance!
The day before, the kid had successfully ridden a Ferrari 308 on the wheel of his new BMW M3. Enzo Ferrari is in shock. He calls his academic office.
But his people assure him that this BMW certainly performs as well as the Ferrari… for half the price. For Enzo Ferrari, it is extremely humiliating. The answer will be heard soon.
Design the best sports car in the world
Meanwhile, Nicola Materazzi continues to work. Its engine is ready and boosts 400 horsepower. Enzo Ferrari welcomes the engineer to his office: “You made the engine, you will make me a car to go with it”.
Project 164 was born, it should allow Ferrari also to run in Group B. Unfortunately, a few months later, the FIA banned these horrific vehicles, which were considered very dangerous.
The goal, which was to sell a Ferrari customer a car to run to rallies and on the road, collapsed. The F40 project had to end there. But Enzo takes Nicola Materazzi aside and tells her:
“If you want to make this car, make it work on Saturday. You guys are busy with 308 Quattrovalvole and 328, we must not disturb them ”.
In Pininfarina, we are working on a revised version of GTO Evoluzione. But during a body builder visit, engineer Materazzi discovers that the car is not aerodynamic at all. He takes his model, works on it for a few weeks, and returns to test it in a wind tunnel.
The decision is in, the best CX of 0.29. Impressed, Enzo Ferrari secretly sends a pilot to test the car. After a few rounds, the verdict is clear: “You can’t kill this car. I have never run anything successfully like this. “
The last masterpiece
This time Enzo is convinced. Not only has he found a way to turn off the competition, but he wants to make this project the best sports car ever built.
Knowing that this will be his final blow, he gives his engineers his final instructions: “Do not waste time. Be quick. I’m getting older and I really want to see this car come out. “
The Materazzi team is working hard. Every week, Enzo comes to the news. Every week, he insists: “Can’t we do it faster?” May comes with the time to choose the place and date of the official F40 presentation.
Everyone at Ferrari selects a presentation at the Frankfurt Car Show in October. The concept ignored by Enzo.
A real earthquake
Enzo feels weak and weak and knows he will not last forever. For him, the car will have to be delivered before the holidays. In an emergency, we get the date: July 21. That day, the car was presented to the press at the Fiorano circuit. It’s a victory, the automotive world is amazing.
Enzo can now leave peacefully. After announcing that only 400 copies of the F40 would be released, the sales department received 900 faxes of reservations! The day after the presentation, Materazzi can finally breathe for a few days.
He takes the opportunity to visit his mother. Before leaving the factory, he passed by the office of the Ferrari boss. Enzo informs him that he will take over the technical management of the brand when he returns from vacation.
When he returns from vacation, Materazzi discovers that someone is holding his post. Not only is there a new technical director in place, but one is a bad direct engineer directly from Carraco, an Italian tractor manufacturer.
For Materazzi is too much, he resigns instantly. The two men will not speak again. A few months later, Commandatore died. Enzo Ferrari and F40 go down in history.