Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge – Gentlemen choose your weapons…

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Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge – Gentlemen choose your weapons…

Post by challenger24 » Fri 4. Nov 2016, 21:32

Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge

Prior to the Lamborghini Gallardos and John Kaias’ Aston Martin gate-crashing the Australian GT Championship, arguably the most gorgeous cars in the field were the Ferrari 360s and 430s. Of those, the two most visible and desperately competitive, are the 360 GT of Ted Hughlin (campaigned by Dane Allan Simonsen) and the new 430 Challenge of Ferrari stalwart John Teulan. Currently the Hughlin 360 has the upper hand, due in part to it’s status as a GT2 car, in difference to the GT3 classification of the majority of the Australian GT field (with the exception of David Wall’s Porsche GT3 RSR, which is also essentially a GT2 car). What that effectively means is that the two cars are able to perform at different levels on the international stage, GT2 obviously allowed a greater range of performance enhancing modifications than the GT3 cars.
Ferrari 360 GT #2028
The Ferrari is for sale, here is the link

The problem in Australia though lies in parity, that alarmingly ‘variable’ word that no-one can quite gain an accurate understanding of, but its basis is to ensure that regardless of what your level of performance is, whether Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin or Lotus, your outright pace should be as infinitely close to your opponents as possible. The problem though lies in the many unpredictabilities in the equation, not the least being that your driver is one of the most talented GT pilots in the world, but that’s another story for another day. The issue at hand for the Australian GT.

Championship category administrators is that in order to ensure that they had respectable numbers into the category in recent seasons, they were in essence ‘forced’ to allow the GT2 cars into the field. With increasingly strong numbers, and greater interest in the category every day, they are now flush with a stunning array of GT3 cars and sit in a difficult position with what to do with the ‘faster’ cars, hence parity adjustments to slow them down. We spoke to Pat Cahill who is responsible for the preparation of Ted Hughlin’s 360 GT about the difficulties they face with adapting to parity adjustments ‘on the run’, and on how quickly he believes the current spec F430 Challenge will overtake them, and quite possibly the rest of the field in the development stakes.

321i Where did the Hughlin 360 come from? Ted’s 360 – F131GT (131 stands for 360 Modena bodyshape) is chassis #2028. A lot of the early 360 racecars in the GT Championships were actually 360 Challenge cars built in 2000 for the onemake series, then converted to GT spec, whereas Ted’s 360GT was a 2003 build, built by Michelotto from a 360 bodyshell.

The car actually came from ACEMCO in the US, where it was run in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and was a podium finisher. The team actually had two identical cars, and interestingly the second car is also here in Melbourne (currently for sale at Maranello Motorsport). The car was built in February 2003 for the 2003 ALMS season, then it was bought to Australia by Maranello Motorsport and purchased by Ted in 2005.
Having come from the US the car was actually built to ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) spec and not the FIA N-GT spec as it was then (prior to GT2), they had roughly the same weight and restrictor sizes, but the big difference was aero wise. The FIA used the original floor with a couple of large tunnels to a rear diffuser, which made quite a lot of downforce, but was quite draggy. The ACO floor is a true flat floor with a smaller diffuser at the rear, and tends to be more efficient in respect to lift/drag ratios.

Ted’s car has an ACO aero-spec floor which we’re actually having second thoughts about now because it’s actually quite heavy, there’s about 25kg in the floor alone. The Lamborghini also has a flat floor now, as does the Aston Martin and the Lotus Exige GT3, the Cup Cars don’t really have a flat floor, the Porsche’s are actually quite messy in the aero department underneath but that’s more to do with the engine, having said that, the Wall RSR also has a flat floor now as well, but that’s GT2 spec too.

Ted’s car has also got the Ferrari F1 gear shift system, which is a real story in itself. You have the option with the Ferrari. They come standard with the F1 paddle-shift system but you also have the option of going to a proper Hewland sequential – Hewland actually made a special transaxle for them, which was a whole kit you could buy from Michelotto, but it wasn’t homologated for GT competition here.

Basically the gearbox we have is the same as the H-pattern gearbox, there’s nothing special inside it, the tricks all come from what’s bolted on the outside. There’s an electro-hydraulic mechanism that bolts on where your selectors would normally be, it then has a valve body mounted off to the side, a hydraulic pump and an accumulator, so it pumps the accumulator up with pressure, then hydraulic valves open and shut to mimic you making the gear selections. It dips the clutch, shuts the throttle and selects gear, so it’s not fast shifting up through the gears.
As far as that goes, it’s really no faster than a stick shift, in actual fact it’s slower than a sequential shift, down-shifting however, it’s absolutely perfect. When you’re braking and down-shifting with that system, there is absolutely no disturbance to your deceleration whatsoever, it seemlessly downchanges, it’s very good at that.

Takeoffs are a bit flaky because of the way that it controls the clutch on takeoff, it’s very much dependant on the rate at which the accelerator is opened, and it’s very difficult to replicate the same speed of throttle opening, so you never quite get the same start twice.
The one good thing about the F1 shift is it would be fantastic in enduros for driver fatigue, you can’t mess a downchange up, even if you bang the paddle three times quickly, it won’t change until it can match the revs with the road speed – you can’t just pluck a gear out of nowhere.
It does have a variant of the shift-cut on the upshifts, it actually cuts the ignition, but it’s a bit more sophisticated than a Supercar shift-cut, because when it engages power again, it doesn’t just turn the ignition back on, it starts at zero spark advance and advances the spark every engine cycle, so the torque climbs back in instead of coming back in one hit. It’s much kinder on the clutch and drive train.

What is the performance like from the 3.6 litre V8? At the moment the 360GT is running two 31.8 mm restrictors on the air intake. We did have 29.2 mm restrictors, but we knew from the parity sheets that the Wall RSR had something like 32.8 mm restrictors, so we argued that the two cars should be even, so they allowed us to move back to the  Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge maximum the car would have had in GT2 spec, but at the same time they bumped the Porsche up to about 34.8s… That car has just got so much straight line speed it’s amazing, but it keeps him up with the Lamborghini. As an example of how much we’re held back, if you took the restrictors off, we’d make about 500 horsepower, which at the GT2 weight of 1100kg would be pretty impressive.

The current engine, Michelotto tuned is about 450bhp. Michelotto originally built these cars for Ferrari, so they handle all the engine rebuilding and their service is exceptional. They’ve been fantastic with us, and supply us as much knowledge as they have on these cars. Understandably development of the 360s has stopped, but anything they’ve ever developed for the cars, they’ve passed on.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the 360? I would say the strength of the 360GT is it’s aero and mechanical grip, and its ‘nimbleness’, even more nimble than the Porsche. Allan loves it and he’s driven Cup Cars, the latest 997, RSRs the whole lot, and he loves this thing when the rules allow it to be setup right, it’s a proper mid-engined race car. It’s weakness is horsepower, the little 3.6 litre V8 drives its brains out to make the power it does (we don’t run anywhere near the car’s 9000rpm maximum in the GT Championship), whereas the new 430 makes nearly 500 bhp at 8000rpm, and has great mid-range torque as well.

And what about the 430? The 430 Challenge is a very fast car once sorted, but globally teams are struggling with the setup, although notably, some teams have got their act together overseas and are starting to make good use of what the car has available. Realistically, it should easily be able to match the Gallardos, but as they come from the factory, they’re not well suited to Australian circuits.
Aside from John Teulan’s 430, the other three cars are still running the 430 Challenge 19″ wheels and brakes, which gives them a much narrower tyre than what we have on the 360GT. They have a 19” front wheel which is quite narrow and you just can’t get a wide enough front tyre on them, and the 17” front brakes won’t take the wider 18” front wheels, so it’s either bolt on the front wheel assembly from the 360, or run the narrower tyre. Alternatively, as John Teulan has done recently, source or fabricate your own 18″ wheels or upgrade to the GT3 Kessell kit.

The problem with the narrower tyre is degradation, if you haven’t got enough surface on the track, the tyres degrade at a horrible rate. Realistically the 430 Challenge has about 10 laps in a set of new tyres, then it goes away rapidly after that.  The other problem is that no-one really makes a good 19″ slick for that rim width and car weight. The tyre they used for the 430 Challenge was a tyre Michelin originally made for the Super Tourers, which is a vastly different car with front wheel drive and only a little more than half the horsepower. Where there is an advantage is when it’s wet, they’re very very quick on the narrower tyres. At Phillip Island last year in the wet, Teulan just drove away from Allan, and Allan couldn’t do a thing about it, we just told him to let John go. Post race in parc ferme you could see the steam coming off it’s tyres, they’d worked so well.

Does temperature create a big issue for the 360 as it appears to on the 430? I was puzzled by the early 430 and its heating problems, because all they really were over the road car were a different front splitter on the front and very little else, it was still just basically road car everything, and if you just belted a road car around the track for 20 laps, it wouldn’t get over 95 degrees celcius, yet the Challenge will run to 120° in three laps. The under bonnet temperatures you get in these things are pretty horrific at the best of times, which can really hurt the engine performance. It’s a bit like the Lamborghini which has got the airbox on top of the exhaust system, so it just heats the intake air up and you lose air density, and that’s all horsepower.

That’s why the engine bay of Ted’s car is all gold leaf coated, especially around the airbox and air tubes which are all carbonfibre with gold leaf to keep the temperature down as much as possible. The dashboard of the 430 provides another anomaly as it ‘whites’ out in high temperatures. It was developed by Magneti Marelli in house, and it seems to have issues whenever they’ve got really high cabin temperatures. It’s a very pretty LCD layout, and looks better than most peoples colour televisions, but it tends to suffer from extreme heat and vibration, which we tend to have a fair bit of. We use a Digitek display which is much more robust.

What are the brakes like on the Ferraris? The brakes on the 360GT are a 6-piston front and 4-piston rear caliper with a staggered piston setup. We use a Performance Friction disc and pad, but we use a much thicker pad than the normal Challenge car, because the GT was built for enduros. Despite that they are a much more economical, the pads actually cost as much as they do on a 360 Challenge, but last three times as long.
The discs are bigger and thicker than a 360 Challenge cars discs, as an example, the GT’s rear is the same as that used on the front of the 360 Challenge. This is another one of the pros for the 360GT in that it has exceptionally good brakes, there’s nothing on the track that will out-brake it. The 430 Challenge runs a carbon-ceramic system they have as an option for the road cars, but it’s very expensive, and no better than a good steel setup anyway. Just to replace a set of discs is something like $16K. They get quite good life out of them, but they don’t stop any harder. They’re actually a larger diameter than the 360 disc, so they should stop harder because they generate more braking force, but they don’t. In my view the ceramic brake is just a very expensive inferior version of a steel brake.

What exhaust system do you use? The car runs a straight through exhaust, with two small silencers, unless noise is an issue (no catalytic converters) then we add a central silencer which mounts on top of the gearbox. We do run the central silencer in the state series regardless, as it seems to have slightly better off-idle performance, which is very important for us when we’ve got standing starts. If there’s anything in it up high, we’ve never really picked it, but with the silencers on, strangely enough it does have a little better bottom end.

How often is the engine rebuilt Engine rebuilds are about 5000km, which is easily a season and a half. This year for instance, we’ll do 17 races and it still won’t see the end of its engine life. They’re pretty good though, even then. The first time we sent an engine back (to Michelotto), we’d been told a few porky pies from the US about the life the engine had when we got the car, and apparently it was closer to 10,000km and not 5000, so there was much gesticulating on the phone by the Italians. It had cracked heads and the like, but it was still going. When we put the spare engine in, we thought wow, this things got some grunt. The funny thing was that it wasn’t breathing heavy, and there was no real indication that it had done that many kays, it did have some cracks in the cylinder heads and around the valve seats, so we were probably lucky we pulled it out when we did.

Do you still run the original 360 suspension? The suspension we’ve got in it now is very different to how the GT was, the shocks, geometry and spring rates that we run is nothing like what Michelotto tell you to or how the car came from ACEMCO. The Europeans tend to slant their suspension setups towards aero efficiency as opposed to compliance, but down here we don’t have the smoothest race tracks in the world. If you actually do all the sums, the Europeans tend to go to the high end of the scale especially with spring rates, we tend to run nowhere near as much bar, moderate spring rates and a completely different shock package. We run Ohlins TT44 shocks on it and some different geometry stuff as well.

The only failing it’s got as a racecar is that the rear suspension geometry actually bump steers quite badly. It’s a packaging thing, you can’t get the links quite long enough to get rid of it. You’ve only got so long between the wheel and the chassis rails. Realistically to get rid of it, you’d have to run the wishbones all the way back into the diff housing.

How much setup is done at the track, and how much in the workshop? Setup at the track now is pretty much experience, we probably have it 80% there before we leave, it’s really just trimming which is nice, and we’ve run four times on most of the circuits we go to now as well which helps with data. At Eastern Creek for instance, Allan set his pole time on his first flying lap.  We run a little heavy on aero, then weed it out until we don’t go any faster. The beauty about having the Ohlins now is that they’re such a responsive shock, a lot of the chassis setup is just tweaking shocks, in the low speed compliance stuff, just chasing grip more than anything else.  The roll bars these days are just a trim device for us, we don’t move them more than one or two positions if you’re lucky.

What data-logging system do you use? We run the Digitek-Corse data-logging system. The car originally came from Michelotto with a Magneti Marelli system, which was developed by Digitek anyway, so what we use now is just a 2007 spec of what the car originally had, with three times the memory. We can log an entire 24-hour race at pretty high rates if we need to.

I think some of the Supercar guys are envious of the system we’ve got, because they can’t run half the things we have. We also recently fitted a beautiful new GPS system, which is accurate enough to pick different racing lines, true ground speed and all that sort of stuff. We’ve got three separate multi axis accelerometers all over the car which we use for picking up tyre coefficients, handling, balance and things like that. Then there’s some multi-point infra-red temperature sensors that take a spread of six temps across the tyre and transmit the data over the CAN bus as well. The data logger is also interfaced directly with the vehicles CAN bus and reads a lot of extra information from the cars ECUs, gearbox control unit and ABS.

What affect does the penalties that are imposed on the 360GT in the GT Championship have on the cars performance? Our base racing weight for the Australian GT category is 1250kg, but as a Allan is a ‘seeded’ driver, we have to run a 1300kg minimum weight, as opposed to the GT2 class weight of 1100kg. The air restrictors are what we would run in full GT2 spec, but we’re running 200kg heavier. Then on top of the minimum racing weight, if we win a race, we get a 77kg penalty straight away, so we end up with 1377kg as our racing weight after we win the first race. I think it’s worked out as a percentage of a car’s minimum weight. With the Ferrari it’s 77kg for first, 52 for second and 28 for third from memory. This is where the penalty I don’t think makes a lot of sense. The Lamborghini for instance has a similar thing, but the base weight of the Gallardo as it’s running at present is about 1350kg, and it’s start weight under the rules is 1300kg, same as us, so a penalty for winning a race of 77kg, puts it 27kg over its base weight, so a limited penalty. The other funny thing is the rpm limit they’ve given the Lamborghini. Their initial rpm limit was registered at 8500 rpm, but the ECU won’t let them rev past 8000!

The next thing with the Ferrari is ride height, and as mentioned earlier, the Ferrari is a very nimble car mechanically and aerodynamically, and part of that is obviously its ride height, which is absolutely critical, especially when you’re running the flat floors. It’s not just the height, but the rake is also important. This is part of the reason why we’re looking so hard at the data-logging, so we can see that the car’s at the right attitude for the right part of the track. Five millimetres in these things is big-time, the suspension would deflect 20-25mm in total, hitting bumps and everything, so to change the ride height by 5mm is a fair chunk, it certainly hurts you straight away.

The problem we have is, and this is where a lack of experience in these penalties comes in, we’ve had situations like Wakefield Park last year, when we’ve been called for the second race, and they suddenly decided to raise the ride height by 20mm…
With the bump steer problem we’ve got, to go up five millimetres we have to realign the car. We did what we could, but sent the car out with four wheels pointing in different directions. If you look at the in-car footage from that round, in the first race, Allan’s hands hardly moved, it was just turn in, turn out. The second race though looked like he was driving on black ice, it was almost undrivable, and Allan wasn’t too happy about driving it. The same thing happened at Bathurst  this year. We were heavy, we were rev restricted, and our ride height was way out, but we were still by far the quickest car across the top of the mountain. We were faster than a Supercar could ever dream of being across the top, and that was being an inch too high in the air.

We were actually getting concerned about it, and I had discussions about the fact that if it picked up a wheel it would be in the barrier, because there was no suspension travel left in it at all. The rpm restriction too really hurts us. The steps are a little smaller this year which is better. In the past the steps were too high, and in a car that revs as high as the Ferrari which is all top end torque and power, there’s no mid-range whatsoever. This is again where the parity rules are a bit wide of the mark, because the Lamborghini makes solid torque from 4000 to 7500rpm, and yet the worst of its rev limit, brings it back to just 7750 rpm.

The Ferrari on the other hand is meant to rev to 9000 rpm, they’ve artificially limited it to 8750 rpm and 8250rpm, but with Allan it could be as low as 7750 rpm, which is barely at maximum torque let alone maximum power. Every bit of missing rpm hurts us quite badly.

– Sean Henshelwood © 321 IGNITION Pty Ltd 2007

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Re: Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge – Gentlemen choose your weapons…

Post by Andi355 » Fri 4. Nov 2016, 21:51

........wie geil ist das denn bitte?.....ä sexy is this??????

Geil, geil ,geil "......... :roll:

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Re: Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge – Gentlemen choose your weapons…

Post by Laferrari » Sat 5. Nov 2016, 01:21

No better tool than the 360-GT!

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Re: Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge – Gentlemen choose your weapons…

Post by challenger24 » Sat 5. Nov 2016, 01:23

Laferrari wrote:No better tool than the 360-GT!
Agree ;-)

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Re: Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge – Gentlemen choose your weapons…

Post by Alex » Sat 5. Nov 2016, 02:02

What a story, thank's for sharing.

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Re: Ferrari 360GT versus Ferrari 430 Challenge – Gentlemen choose your weapons…

Post by F355CH » Sun 13. Nov 2016, 22:26

Very interesting story, thanks for posting.

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