Ferrari M3? Enzo Prototype Explained
Author: Tom Magnay; Images: Various
As briefly mentioned in our article relating to the stunning Schumacher signed Ferrari Enzo up for sale, another particular Ferrari came to our attention, the Enzo Prototipo M3.
No, the world hasn't gone mad, and we're not faced with the prospect of a prancing horse with a Bavarian power plant.
This particular car was designed as a test mule (muletto) for the Enzo, namely as a test bed for the V12 power plant which would send the production Enzo to 218mph.
However long before the launch of the Enzo at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, motoring press around Maranello began to notice what looked, on first glance, like a 348, but upon closer inspection (and the Italian ingegneres did everything they could to make sure the camera lenses couldn't get close!) it becme obvious that this wasn't just a 348 on steroids, it was a prototype test base for something really special!
Notably the V8 usually found in a 348 chassis has been swapped out for a V12, the only giveaway of this initially was the different exhaust piping visible at the rear, plus different ventilation routing air to the engine. But once the V12 had been tuned, the keen eared press decided this was much more than a pista edition 348 but the beginning of an exceptional, all new car.
BlendLine Magazine caught up with a now retired Ferrari engineer who had been working on the project at Maranello with a small team of fellow ingegneres tasked with bringing the planned Enzo to life: "The F50 had been a success, so we were told by our management that a new car was coming, and myself and Sergio [Adamo] would be within a team to continue the F50 legacy with the Enzo", explained Paolo Marcos to us. Beaming into his laptop (our meeting is virtual and carried out on Zoom) as he sits in his Milan kitchen.
Paolo went on: "the passion with the project was obvious, and what is more, this new car was to carry the name of our true leader, Enzo Ferrari. There was certainly excitement in our workshops as the initial engines and chassis were taken from the drawing tables and brought to life!"
The first muletto was built (M1) and within a few days of its completion it was being used in tests to check the strength of everything. M2 and M3 were then presented, and the M3 version is the example in the photos before you now.
M3 was built between 25th September and 25th November 2000. The primary role of M3 was for use as the engine test, the others were used for transmission and suspension development.
"The subframes were stretched to carry the engine, the V12, we had the Type A engine first, then for production, we used Type B, with just small differences" remembers Paolo. "The airbox was aluminium in the mule, not carbon like in production - Paulo gestures to some images he has brought out for our meeting. We also sought to find cooling that would work with such power in the 348 chassis, the radiator was something we constructed and we used a 550 oil cooler, the final position of this we only finished at the time the Enzo was complete."
Many parts of the car are made by engineers by hand - as elements were carried across from M1 and M2. The wings are made from composite and the rear ones are removable to allow unprecedented engine access. The rear screen is also polycarbonate and there were modifications to the rear windows, bumpers, bonnet and vents as mentioned before.
"As well as 550 parts, we used 355 Challenge components too for the testing, including the transmission, the brakes and the independent suspension. We knew these would work well! We normally let the test drivers use these cars to drive between the circuit in the town, or sometimes on the Autostrada! [motorway] it would always create quite some attention."
By 2002 it was well known that the Enzo was coming and the secret was out. By this point, Paolo's work was done on this project and he was drafted to begin on something new.
The car was launched with success in front of the motoring press at Paris at the end of the year.
A few years ago it was revealed that the M3 car was still in existence (Ferrari often destroyed concept cars) and it was offered for sale at a Sotheby's auction.
The car was running at the time of the sale, but Ferrari were firm that it would never be allowed to be made road legal. The photographs he were taken at the time of the original sale, and at BlendLine we do love a good test mule, so it's great to see the bare bones of this one, and we're truly grateful to Paolo for sharing his thoughts and memories from the incarnation of this car and its engineering.
Stay tuned to Blendline for more, and be sure to check out our own projects on our YouTube channel!
Tom Magnay: @tommagnay01
Tal England: @talengland
BlendLine Apparel: @blend_line
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