When Emerson Fittipaldi left Brazil for Europe as a young man, he had two life dreams.
The first was achieved in October 1972, when Fittipaldi was crowned the youngest Formula 1 World Driving Champion to date racing for the Lotus F1 Team. The second has taken a bit longer, but Fittipaldi, now 70, took a giant step closer at this year’s Geneva motor show.
“This is the happiest day of my life,” Fittipaldi said as he unveiled his EF7 Vision Gran Turismo at the Pininfarina stand in Geneva. “Growing up in Brazil, even before I wanted to race, I dreamed of building a GT car. Thanks to a lot of creative partners, it’s now here for everyone to see.”
Every EF7 owner will be afforded the opportunity for personal track instruction from Fittipaldi.
Fittipaldi Motors LLC plans to build 39 EF7s as track cars, one for each of his race wins and championships in F1 and in IndyCar. The prototype will begin testing in August, Fittipaldi says, and the first builds could be finished by early 2018.
Designed by Pininfarina, the EF7 features a carbon-fiber monocoque and body panels, with a targeted wet weight under 2,300 pounds. It will be powered by a 4.8-liter dry-sump V8 generating 600 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, redline 9,000 rpm. Its six-speed sequential gearbox is a stressed element of the chassis.
The pedals and steering column will be adjustable, but the EF7’s thin-shell carbon seats will be fixed and individually fitted to owners with pads. The antiroll bars, traction electronics and ABS will be adjustable to accommodate a range of driving skill, from track beginner to pro. The powertrain, control systems and suspension are being developed by HWA AG, who is also expected to build the car.
A price for Fittipaldi’s creation has yet to be established, but it won’t be cheap.
That’s HWA as in Hans Werner Aufrecht, one of the founding partners of AMG. Since AMG was absorbed by Mercedes-Benz, Aufrecht has run HWA to build race cars for the DTM (180 wins, 10 driver and 14 team championships) and provide contract development and production services to the auto industry. Fittipaldi’s financial partners include Dakia Global Enterprises.
Every EF7 owner can get personal track instruction from Fittipaldi, who has developed a stepped training program for the car. A price for Fittipaldi’s creation has yet to be named, but we can safely assume it will exceed $1 million.
The rest of us will have to satisfy ourselves with a virtual version of the EF7. The car will play prominently in the forthcoming “Gran Turismo Sport” video game for Sony’s PlayStation 4, including the FIA’s virtual “Gran Turismo” Championships.