Emerson Fittipaldi was only 25 when he became F1 World Champion for the first time, racing for Lotus. He went on to win the title a second time as well as becoming a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, the latter win at age 47. He finally retired from Indy Car in 1996. But his so-called retirement hasn’t been without adventure and drama. Aside from racing on the rare occasion, the Brazilian-born Fittipaldi is also a pilot and was involved in a plane crash that left him with serious back injuries.
This hasn’t stopped him though from “building the project of my life,” the Pininfarina-designed, AMG-powered Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo hypercar, which just had its official debut at Geneva. Despite everyone seeking his autograph and a selfie, we managed a walk and talk interview with Fittipaldi as he was heading to a meeting with the folks at Pirelli at the Swiss show. Aside from learning more about the EF7, we took a chance and asked him flat-out what was the best road car he’s ever driven. “The Ferrari 458 Italia,” came the reply with only a slight delay. “That’s the car I benchmarked for the EF7. I drove all of the GT racecars, Porsches, Ferraris…just to get the feeling of what they’re like.
As far as the engine goes, Fittipaldi couldn’t have been clearer: “I went straight to AMG.” Located mid-ship is a naturally-aspirated 4.8-liter V8 with 600 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. The car was engineered by German racing specialists HWA AG. Only 25 examples are planned, and owners will be given individual driving instruction from Fittipaldi himself. Italian designed. German-built and engineered, along with Fittipaldi’s input. That’s the EF7. And it was the Ferrari 458 that was benchmarked for driving awesomeness.