These conflicting requirements necessitated active aerodynamics. The movable elements are two front-hinged flaps in the underbody under the twin front radiators and a rear body panel between the taillights. For maximum downforce, the front flaps are tucked up flat against the underbody, and the rear spoiler extends up. For less wind resistance (and maximum speed), the front flaps angle down while the rear spoiler retracts. Besides the movable panels, there is considerable attention to air management elsewhere. For instance, air channels run along the car's smooth underbody, from the pointed nose to the two rear diffusers. The Enzo's project leader, Giuseppe Petrotta, claims it's this underbody air management that allowed the engineers to meet Montezemolo's directive to eliminate the huge rear wing, a feature of both the F40 and the F50.
The inside of the Enzo is nearly as exotic as the outside. That's particularly true of the steering wheel, which looks like something out of an F1 car. Indeed, what Ferrari refers to as the man-machine interface is one of the chief areas where the Enzo borrows from Formula 1 technology. So here's this flat-topped wheel with a series of light-emitting diodes in the rim at the top. Yellow and red lights at the far left and right let you know something's up on the gauge cluster. The band of five red diodes in the middle light up in sequence from 6000 rpm up to the 8000-rpm redline. Shifting is via steering-column-mounted paddles, although the gearbox is slightly different here from those in other Ferraris: Shifts are quicker, there is no automatic mode, and reverse is engaged not by a T-handle on the console but by a button on the steering wheel. Other buttons change the info display on the dash, raise the front of the car by 1.2 inches (to cope with bad road surfaces), and switch among the traction control's three settings. The Sport mode has traction control fully engaged; the Race mode allows some wheelspin; the system also can be shut off altogether.
An overview of these controls is the extent of our briefing before the start of the five-lap test drives. We're in the pit garage just a few feet from the long straight. The great red beasts idle on the red-painted floor, the V-12s resonating in the metal building. The mid-mounted engine is visible under the rear window, as per the current supercar custom. The 48-valve, 5998-cc engine is a brand-new design that is the first of a new family of V-12s. Featuring a 65-degree V, it's constructed of aluminum, with Nikasil-lined cylinder walls and titanium connecting rods. In addition to continuously variable intake- and exhaust-valve timing, the intake manifold has telescoping pipes, a torque-boosting technology derived from F1.
Every so often, one of these impossibly exotic machines zooms off, then, a couple of minutes later, comes rocketing past down the straight, so close to the garage windows one could almost lean out and touch it. We listen to the sound of the engine fall and rise and fall again, then we recheck the handwritten list of names to see how many more have to go before it's our turn.