1993 Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR
1993 Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR Photos and Stories.
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1993 Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR by Michael Rockich
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The Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR
Once upon a time my opinion of the Ferrari Testarossa was that it was an excessively styled heavy metal cruiser that the good guys and gals used to chase after the bad guys and gals in the television program Miami Vice. If you think that way too, think again! I have a number of books at home on automobiles and auto sports with several covering Ferraris. One afternoon I was looking through my books and I picked up The Complete Ferrari by Godfrey Eaton. After flipping a few pages I came to a section on the Testarossa. Eaton called it "a highlight in Ferrari's long career as a producer of genuine high-performance road cars." Reading a bit more, and to my complete surprise, I began to discover that the Testarossa followed the architectural mantra, "form follows function." Eaton noted, "Aerodynamics have obviously played a great part in the design..." And by the way Testarossa, in Italian, means red head, with the words reversed of course. Red refers to the color of the paint on the cylinder heads.
From Eaton's book I learned that the Testarossa, which replaced the BB512i, embodied certain technical innovations. The formerly front mounted radiator had been split in two, increased in size for better cooling, and moved rearward to just in front of the engine. The change also increased comfort by removing the need to pass very hot water directly under the passengers. (1)
The radiators provided rational for the horizontal strakes on both sides of the car which previously I had considered as over-the-top-styling. Some in fact called them "egg slicers". Behind the strakes lie air intakes for the dual radiators. Some countries have maximum size limitations on openings in a car's bodywork. The strakes removed that issue by dividing the orifice. (2)
The overall Testarossa body styling which I had found a touch extravagant was actually the result of wind tunnel studies by the Pininfarina Study and Research Center on several polystyrene 1:1 scale models. During design, Testarossa body aerodynamics were evaluated in a wind tunnel in Grugliasco, Italy. When the final design was completed, a durable full-scale resin model was produced and still exists today, occasionally going on exhibition. (3)
First in line, camera, roof mounted
Suddenly I wanted to learn more about this intriguing car. Corroboration of facts generally helps the case. It was at this time, and very fortuitously for my Ferrari learning curve, while attending the Ferrari Challenge at the Sonoma Raceway I met one John Dilena who actually owned a Testarossa. When I saw his sleek red 512 TR was first in line from the Ferrari car corral to take laps on track, and had a camera mounted on the car's roof to record exploits, I thought "who better to speak with"? From my conversations with John I became a believer that the Ferrari Testarossa is one serious machine.
I explained to John my former doubts about the car's credibility. John quickly reassured and made my remaining concerns vanish as he explained his experiences with his 1993 Testarossa. Three models had been produced, the Testarossa, the 512 TR which is John's car, and the F512M.
John said the 512 TR which has been his for 12 years is "extremely fast" and "handles extremely well for its size." John called the 512 TR a "great touring car" saying it is "quiet inside unless I am on it."
"Those 12 cylinders provide enough power to break the rear wheels loose", John confided, "but with the engine mounted in the rear the power is very tractable." Some refer to the engine positioning as rear-mid chassis. On track John has demonstrated the power and stability of his 512 TR at speeds of 190+ mph! He added the car is also "quite trouble free." I asked if the relatively large engine caused any handling imbalances such as over-steer or under-steer. John responded it is "mostly neutral but can be tail happy if overly aggressive." Performance is enhanced by the double wishbone front and rear suspension systems.
John's 512 two door Berlinetta has a robust power plant. The engine boasts 12 cylinders in an opposed configuration. In other words the cylinder banks are not in the conventional V layout. This provides a lower center of gravity among other things. Every cylinder has two additional valves, totaling four, for good breathing. Lubrication is by a dry sump system.
His five liter (4,943 cc or 302 cu. in.) engine displacement generates 361 ft-lb of torque at 5500 rpm with a maximum of 428 hp at 6750 rpm, although red line is indicated beyond at 7,200 rpm. Power gets to the 10 inch wide alloy rear wheels through a five speed manually shifted transmission. The net-net is that the TR can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, to 100 mph in under 11 seconds, and reach a top speed about 195 mph.
Opposed 12 cylinder engine
John said he enjoys socializing with other Ferrari owners and putting his car on track. He explained that "every couple of months" he participates in some sort of concours or driving event which includes FOG (Ferrari Owners Group), the Concorso Italiano in August, and taking laps with the Ferrari car corral at the Ferrari Challenge. He is justifiably proud of his Testarossa which sports Rosso Corsa (red) paint with a black interior.
© 2013 Michael Rockich Contributing Editor
(1) The Complete Ferrari, Godfrey Eaton
(2) Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrari_Testarossa
(3) Red Headed www.red-headed.com/index2.html?articles/testarossa_design.html&3