Ferrari F599 Novitec suspension
At BRracing, we try to ensure that we don’t just throw products at customers, but instead take the time to understand their specific needs and objectives, their driving style, their driving environment (not just the street or the track, but in this case, that the car would be driven in San Francisco a lot for the customers work). Once we have all that information, we can work to tailor a solution to meet that diverse set of data points.
In this case, the requirements were indeed diverse. The stock ride of the F599 was not meeting the needs of the customer, even w the multiple settings, yet they didn’t want to lose the Magnetino steering wheel options for the suspension settings. They also, as mentioned, were going to be driving the car on the streets of San Francisco, where the roads are horrible (filled w holes and ruts, and the driveways are steep when getting off or on the street). And, the stock suspension settings offer a large range of options for the customer, as the suspension comes stock with a full set of coil-overs with adjustable spring perches. But, Ferrari realized that they had a ride height problem…..and set the stock suspension ride height too high. In the stock settings, the underbody clearance was about right, but the car looked like it had large gaps in the wheel wells. But, if you lowered the car on the suspension to get the handling and ride height right, then you introduced more scraping and the act from the road monsters on the bottom of the car. What to do?
To meet that odd set of requirements, we specified a Novitec suspension system, and the NLS (remote control “nose lift system”). Novitec is the leading supplier of complete high end systems for Ferrari across the world, and their testing ensures that each kit and solution is fully integrated into the car, to work just like the OEM options. So, a suspension system or upgrade must work w the steering wheel magnetino selection options, and fully integrate into the wiring harness of the car, as the magnetino for Ferrari doesn’t just control suspension settings, but most of the major functions of the car (shift points, throttle mapping, shock settings, differential settings, exhaust settings).
The NLS (nose lift system) is the perfect answer for a Ferrari, especially with the long nose over hang the front of the F599 has….which makes it even more likely to engage those steep driveways and speed bumps and scrap the car. Our customers car only had a few miles on it, but it already showed signs of the battles it had engaged in with the roads and driveways……but we now would have a way to deal with those monsters.
Time to get to work -
The installation of the NLS system not only requires integration into the stock Ferrari wiring harness in several places, but time and thought needs to be applied as to where the new wiring and remote control buttons will be installed…..and the new interior of the F599 is quite slick. You want the button to be very handy, but not stand out. Here is the interior before the installation -
So, how does the NLS and new suspension work? The NLS system is a separate hydraulic system that must be installed in the car. The electronics are not only tightly integrated into the stock wiring harness, but also must work with the cars wheel speed sensors. The system has two settings, UP and DOWN or street. However, if the user were to level the car in the UP position, and drive, and the system senses that the car reaches a speed of 52mph, then the system will automatically lower the car into the DOWN position to provide the stability and aerodynamics needed at higher speeds.
The suspension can be installed with or without the NLS system. The NLS is an extra element on the front struts, and the hydraulic operation allows the system to lift the cars front suspension by 60mm when activated.
Here you can see both the front strut and the NLS hydraulic cylinder at the base w the new hydraulic line run to it.
The Novitec suspension system can be installed as three options. Upgraded springs only (on the stock coil-overs the car has), as new struts/shocks and springs, or the complete unit with the struts/shocks/springs and NLS system. The NLS has been available for a while on other Ferrari’s (our twin supercharged Ferrari F430 has this same system installed as well). But, the location of the new hydraulic lines and pumps on the F599 is quite different. On the cars like the F430, the complete pump and lines and electronics can all be installed in the front boot/trunk, but there is no such thing on the front engined F599. Therefore, you have to find a place on the F599 in the rear. If you pull the whole rear trunk liner out of the car, you will find a compartment just aft of the rear axle that is the perfect location. This just means the hydraulic lines and electronics become a little more laborious in their installation. You have to do both the underside and most of the interior pieces as well. You need to run the hydraulic lines to both front strut assemblies, then to the distribution/equalization block, and then to the rear to the pump. But, the electronics must then run from the pump area, thru the inside of the car into the main transmission and dash area. So, out come the rear trunk coverings, out come the rear seats, out come the front seats, out comes the front transmission panels. In this manner you can completely make the installation look and function like the car in stock condition, and all is completely hidden from site, even if you try to find it.
Based on our work on the other Ferrari kits, we have found that drivers like to have the remote (two versions, an actual remote control unit that can be used from within or from outside the car, and an actual activation button) right at hands reach on the transmission tunnel. Careful decisions need to be made here, as you are dealing with custom carbon fiber and alcantara pieces…..not easy or cheap pieces to replace if installation doesn’t go right. So, we installed the button on the center console access area. The button not only mounts flush, but appears in two colors depending on the state of the suspension (UP or DOWN). Red when UP, and green when DOWN.
Here is the new button and it’s two states -
And, here, you can see the results. The car when in the UP position, and the front suspension has been lifted the extra 60mm.
But, be prepared for a LOT OF SUSPENSION tuning in the alignment area……very time consuming work. The articulation of the suspension thru the full range, makes some significant changes in all the suspension settings, and determining the right combination to work and provide the stability needed under all conditions takes a lot of work. Unlike BMWs and Porsches, if you need to make camber changes, that means you have to take the suspension completely apart and add or take out camber shims from the mounting points. You need experience here to know how much change each shim size will make, otherwise you could be on the lift and alignment rack for days.
But, now with the new system installed, we have a set of options for ride height that we couldn’t afford to use when the car was just stock. The car rode too high in the stock settings, but lowering it for all occassions meant scraping and rubing. But, now, with the new system, we can lower the DOWN position on both the front and rear, and get the sleek and aggressive look the car cries out for.
Here is the car in the new DOWN position -
Success…..great looks, functionality in all conditions, new shock valving (fully adjustable as well), and springs that transform the car into a handling genius.
Just with a press of the BUTTON…..