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Auto blogTue, 14 May 2013 12:45:00 EST
Two people are lucky to be alive after a brutal crash during a recent Ferrari 458 Challenge event in Japan. Driver Shigeru Terajima lost control of his machine on the Suzuka Circuit start/finish straight, left the course at nearly 200 miles per hour and struck the inside wall where a corner worker was standing and monitoring the race. The 458 immediately disintegrated, sending bits of carbon fiber bodywork, suspension components, wheels and tires scattering into the infield and across the race course. The passenger cell spun through the air before coming to a stop on its roof.
Miraculously, both Terajima and the corner worker survived the incident. While the driver was transported to a local hospital in serious condition, he's expected to make a full recovery. The track worker, meanwhile, saw the incident coming and dove out of harm's way at the last possible moment, saving him from the brunt of the impact. You can watch an observer's frightening footage of the Ferrari crash by scrolling below.
If you're a serious fan of Formula One, you already know all about The Great Nosecone Conundrum of 2014. Those given to parsing each year's F1 regulations predicted the strong possibility of the so-called "anteater" noses as far back as early December 2013. Highly suggestive visual evidence first came after Caterham's crash test in early January, with further proof coming as soon as Williams showed a rendering of the FW36 challenger for this year's championship. That car earned a name that wasn't nearly so kind as "anteater."
Casual followers of the sport - or anyone who gets the feed from this site - probably don't know what's happening, except to wonder why the current year's F1 cars are led by appendages that would make Cyrano de Bergerac feel a whole lot better about himself.
The short answer to the question of ugsome F1 noses is "FIA regulations and safety." The reason there are various kinds of ugsome noses is simpler: engineers. The same boffins who have given us advances including carbon fiber monocoques, six-wheeled cars, double diffusers and Drag Reduction Systems are bred to do everything in their power to exploit every possible freedom in the regulations to make the cars they're building go faster - the caveat being that those advances have to work within the overall philosophy of the whole car.
Ferrari might have jumped the gun debuting the LaFerrari hypercar at the Geneva Motor Show, judging by these spy shots. There have already been rumors that the nearly 1,000-horsepower hybrid still needed some finalizing, but it seems really quite odd that we're seeing cars running with camo six months after the official debut.
So here are our theories as to what this might be. First, the likely case is that this car is merely taking part in finalization of the LaFerrari. The two more sensational theories we've brewed up are a bit more unlikely. This could be a prototype of the once-rumored Maserati MC12 successor, with the camo in place to hide sheetmetal specific to a Maserati. The second, and in our minds, least likely scenario, is that this is a prototype of a more hardcore or competition variant of the LaFerrari, along the lines of the Enzo-based FXX.
Admittedly, that last option is really grasping at straws, but the last camo'd car we saw sported a unique exhaust, that our spy noted as being significantly louder than an uncovered model that was running alongside. While the timing seems odd - a mere six months after the debut of a car that isn't even on sale yet - it's not outside of Ferrari custom to release more potent, track-only versions of its hypercars. Take a look at the spy shots up top, and let us know what you think.