Ferrari KC23 – the latest from Maranello

Ferrari today unveiled the newest addition to its One-Off series, the Ferrari KC23. The latest in the marque’s Special Projects program, it was commissioned by one of the Prancing Horse’s leading collectors. The KC23 one-off is a bold and extreme vision of what closed-wheel racing in the future will look like. The superlative new look at the most successful race car in Maranello’s 76-year history, the 488 GT3 in ‘Evo 2020’ version, performs an extraordinary feat that exudes grace in stop and thrills spectators in motion, thanks to innovative aerodynamic solutions, such as the motorized air intake vents and the impressive rear wing.

Designed by the Ferrari Styling Center led by Flavio Manzoni, the KC23 is based on the 2020 488 GT3 Evo platform which inherits its layout, chassis and engine. The basis for this project is indeed very special: the 488 GT3 has been racing since 2016 and to date, has triumphed in the world’s most prestigious endurance races, amassed over 530 wins and won over 119 championships, making it the most successful Ferrari race in history.

Given the extreme nature of the engine, chassis and suspension setup, the KC23 was designed specifically for non-competitive track use. Its most unusual feature is its dual configuration. At a stop, the car’s layout reveals its clean, sleek and twisty shape, but once it enters the track its visual position is dominated by the impressive air intakes, which open automatically, and its impressive rear wing.

From the early days of the project and in agreement with the client, the Ferrari Styling Center focused on creating radical one-off cars that were completely free from the constraints of homologation and sported timeless lines that would make for an instant classic while also providing a tantalizing glimpse into the future of the supercar. This challenging goal demands that every line of the 488 GT3 Evo 2020 be redesigned, including the glass surfaces and the light clusters.

As a result, the car has the monolithic beauty as if it were sculpted from a single block of metal. The design also hides some of the car’s technical functions, most notably the side air intakes, which open automatically when the rear V8 twin turbo engine is started. This gives the KC23 an almost lifelike appearance, as its shape changes depending on what it is used for. The rear wing has also been removed to underscore clean, formal lines when off track.

Smooth and seamless surface treatment, with sharp corners reduced to a minimum to underscore the purity of the KC23 which is sinuous in pursuit of an iconic and futuristic design that will stand the test of time. As the driver starts the engine before taking it out on the track, the KC23 undergoes a radical transformation, its racing demeanor and aggression suddenly to the fore. It’s impossible to ignore its impressive rear wing, which marks it as a race car designed to squeeze through corners and unleash every horsepower a V8 can produce.

In terms of downforce and cooling, the designers worked hard to maintain the performance of the donor car even though the KC23 has a completely different silhouette. The panels are developed with special kinematics that activate automatically when the engine is started: those behind the front wheels reveal a guardrail, which increases the front downforce to balance the car aerodynamically. Panels at the back provide the right amount of air intake to the intercooler and auxiliary components, as well as to the engine.

The KC23’s butterfly doors open vertically on one front hinge, an architectural solution shared by another iconic supercar, the LaFerrari. No structural changes are required to the greenhouse or car to include this feature. The clam-shell bonnet has a simple opening system – only two pins need to be removed to allow the front end to be inspected and maintenance work carried out. Both the headlights and taillights have been redesigned, with the most radical change coming to the taillights where a striking methacrylate light bar, inspired by the Ferrari Vision Gran Turismo, radiates dazzling life when the engine is cranked.

Even the windshield surfaces are influenced by the design philosophy underlying the KC23: they integrate seamlessly with the bodywork, with no visible pillars, frames, or seals, creating an aeronautical-derived dome effect. Their metallic finishes blend seamlessly for maximum stylistic continuity, creating a highly futuristic finish.

Another distinctive feature is the Gold Mercury KC23 livery, thanks to a specially developed four-layer aluminum paint. The molten metal in the paint gives it a stunning shine in the sun and the color itself seems to constantly change depending on the type and angle of light it hits, giving a very charming effect.

The cabin has been kept as closely as possible and is similar to the 2020 488 GT3 Evo, except for the door panels and dash trim on the passenger side. KC23’s custom seats, covered in Alcantara® with electro-welded logos, lend elegance to the cabin that harmonizes perfectly with the exterior. Rear view is ensured by a video camera system which also has a beneficial impact on the aerodynamics of the car, as the traditional wing mirrors are removable and the wing line is not smudged.

The car has two sets of specially designed wheels: 18” wheels will enable the KC23 to dazzle on world circuits while 21” wheels at the front and 22” wheels at the rear will entice the public when displayed in their static configuration.

This new arrival took over three years to develop and now joins the most exclusive group in the Prancing Horse range: bespoke cars built to client specifications, making them the pinnacle of Ferrari’s personalization strategy. It will make its first public appearance between 13 and 16 July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, one of the UK’s most important motorsports events. From August 1 to October 2, it will be on display at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, much to the delight of all fans who wish to admire its formal and outstanding engineering solutions in person.

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