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Ferrari’s new hypercar is effectively the 2013 equivalent of its last true hypercar, the 2003 Ferrari Enzo. Although LaFerrari retains the same overall length and wheelbase as the Enzo, key specification adjustments allow for this new model to go even faster. LaFerrari is 43 millimetres (1.7 inches) narrower and 31 millimetres (1 .2 inches) shorter than the Enzo to the floor, with a 35-millimetre (1.4-inch) lower centre of gravity and greater weight distribution to the rear (by a whole two per cent). This means the car can slip through the air quicker and better hug the ground around bends – both crucial ingredients for going fast. Ferrari is another high-performance brand keen to clean up its act, so LaFerrari has also employed hybrid technology in order to bring overall exhaust emissions down.

Although not a commercial production car, Nissan’s DeltaWing is a motoring phenomenon. The rip-roaring race car reaches 100 kilometres (62 miles) per hour in just 3.3 seconds and powers on to a top speed of 315 kilometres (196 miles) per hour – all from a modest four-cylinder, 1.9-litre turbocharged engine. Such excellent performance is delivered by well-thought-out physics.
First, the car’s mass: the majority of the chassis and body panels on the DeltaWing are made from carbon fibre (a composite that is lighter than steel), aluminium and other materials. The DeltaWing weighs a mere 490 kilograms (1,080 pounds) so less power from the engine is needed to get the vehicle moving. The position of weight is also important: the rear engine, rear wheel drive layout, coupled with the narrow front and wide back end, means weight distribution is more towards the back than on most cars, with 72.5 per cent of the total mass between the wide back tyres.

The Agera R can produce 850 kilowatts (1,140 horsepower) from its 5.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 powertrain. It has 48.3cm (19-inch) wheels; not only are they made from carbon fibre, but they’re hollow-spoked too, saving 40 per cent over similar alloy wheels. While other hypercars manage downforce with an active rear wing that changes height according to speed, the Agera R changes its angle of wing to literally target downforce upon the rear. The angle isn’t determined by heavy hydraulics, but by the pressure of the wind. With the angle of the wing dictated by wind resistance, this compensates for headwind or tailwind at the same given speed. The Aero Exhaust is also shaped to improve air release.