Lego’s Ferrari Daytona SP3 set is as crazy as the real car
• The Daytona SP3 is the latest Ferrari model brought by Lego to its Technic range.
• Miniature Ferrari features working doors, working paddle shifters and a V-12 engine with moving cylinders.
• The 3778 piece set is priced at $400.
Measuring almost two feet long and bathed in a sea of red and rubber, all the moving parts of Lego’s Ferrari Daytona SP3 are hard to notice at first. This is not a limited-run 829-hp Daytona SP3 convenience store die-cast replica, but a model marketed under Lego’s Technic line. As such, this miniature Ferrari has to do more than just look good on a shelf (although it does that too); it must also help its builder understand the engineering that lies beneath its plastic brick shell. And to teach those lessons, Lego had to design a bunch of new pieces.
To celebrate Lego’s 90th anniversary, we caught up with Technic’s designers at the brand’s headquarters in Denmark to talk about the moving parts behind the prancing horse decals. From the start of the two-year project, Lego knew the Dayton SP3 set would be one of the toughest yet. And that didn’t take into account the COVID-19 pandemic, which made it difficult for the Lego team to travel to Maranello, Italy, to see the full-size Daytona SP3. In fact, Ferrari designers were tweaking the car at the same time Lego was trying to make a replica of it.
“So many times you spend two to three weeks on a small detail and [Ferrari] said ‘Yes, it’s good'”, declared Aurélien Rouffiange. “And then the week after, ‘By the way, we changed it. It’s not like that anymore,’ and then you have to go back and do something new.
Rouffiange served as the chief model and lead designer for the 1:8 scale Daytona SP3. Previously, he worked on Lego renditions of the Bugatti Chiron and Lamborghini Sián FKP 37.
You assemble the Lego set on a similar schedule to when Ferrari builds the Daytona. First the V-12 engine, eight-speed gearbox and rear suspension, then you move on to the front suspension and steering. You finish with the red body panels that give the model the organic flow of the real car, which is inspired by the sumptuous lines of the Ferraris that won the 1967 Daytona 24 hour race.
Although it relies on a handful of specially developed parts, Lego’s Ferrari Daytona SP3 shares a number of other features with the Danish toymaker’s other sets. The tires of the little Ferrari slip; its steering wheel turns; and its hood, doors and trunk open. While the Lego team tell us the car’s gullwing doors took a bit more thought to bring to life, they say it was the Daytona SP3’s targa roof that was a particularly big challenge, as it threatened the structural capacity of the model.
“Technic is known for strong models that don’t fall apart easily,” Rouffiange said. “But here the roof can be removed, and generally [the roof] helps us add a lot of stability. But the way this model is put together, you can hold the car with one hand, from the front or the back, and it won’t bend at all.
Lego eventually created 12 new parts when developing the Daytona SP3 Technic kit. This included cosmetic parts, such as the model’s exterior panels and wheels, as well as more mechanical parts, including new plastic gears designed to improve the functional feel of the scaled-down Ferrari’s moving parts.
Even something as simple as the wheels proved to be a challenge, as the Daytona SP3’s true wheels are asymmetrical to better manage airflow. Because of this, Lego had to design two versions of the same wheels (one set for the left side and another for the right side) to make sure their model stayed true to the real car.
Like the real Daytona SP3, the Technic car features paddle shifters mounted on the back of its steering wheel. While such a shift mechanism may be common in the automotive industry, it is less so among Lego models.
Tapping the paddles works through the model’s eight gears, and like a real car, each cog affects the Lego Ferrari Daytona SP3’s top speed. You can even see the mechanical movements at work, from the spinning of the model’s plastic gears to the up and down movements of the pistons of its central motor.
Such authenticity doesn’t come cheap, and Lego Technic Ferrari Daytona SP3 stickers for $400. The set is currently available on Lego’s website or in its stores, with retail sales slated to begin August 1.
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