The Ferrari F430 - Electronic Differential | Part Four

Ferrari F430

Ferrari F430

E-DIFF Electronic Differential

One of the technical features that sets the F430 apart is the E-Diff or electronic differential. This solution has been used for years in F1 single-seater's and has been continuously developed and refined, effectively transferring massive torque levels to the track under extremely high cornering g-forces. The E-Diff is now standard equipment on the F430 - the first time that a production car has been equipped with such a sophisticated system for high-performance road holding. On the track, the E-Diff guarantees maximum grip out of bends, eliminating wheel spin. On the road it is a formidable technological refinement that improves road holding. This system is available both on the F1-paddle shift version as well as on the manual gearbox model and consists of three main subsystems:

  • A high-pressure hydraulic system, shared with the F1 gearbox (if present)
  • A control system consisting of valve, sensors and electronic control unit
  • A mechanical unit housed in the left side of the gearbox.

Torque is continuously distributed between the wheels via two sets of friction discs (one for each driveshaft) controlled by a hydraulic actuator. The amount of torque actually transmitted to the driven wheels depends on driving conditions (accelerator pedal angle, steering angle, yaw acceleration, individual wheel rotation speed) and brings considerable advantages in terms of performance, direction stability, active safety and handling feedback. Again, F1 racing was a vital test bench that enabled Ferrari’s engineers to develop a highly sophisticated system that perfectly matches the requirements of a road car designed to reach over 196 mph (315 km/h) and generate considerable cornering forces. The electronic differential actively helps reduce Fiorano lap times by 3 seconds compared to the 360 Modena. For the driver, the E-Diff increases handling balance and grip (which noticeably improves acceleration), improves road holding on the limit and also guarantees even better steering feel.

Transmission And F1 Gearbox

The F430 features a new cast-aluminium transmission casing that houses the gearbox in unit with the electronic differential and bevel type final drive, as well as the engine oil tank. The 6-speed gearbox incorporates multicone synchronizers, while both the 6th gear and the final drive have been lengthened to make the most of the greater power and torque of the new engine. The F430 is available with either the classic Ferrari open-gate manual gearbox or with the F1 paddle shift that Ferrari has continuously developed and refined over recent years for its road-going berlinettas. Thanks to that ongoing development, Ferrari’s F1 gearbox for the F430 is state of the art, introducing a number of important modifications: thanks to inputs from the engineers on the Gestione Sportiva racing side, the F1 gearbox management incorporates a new control strategy which further perfects gearchange speed and smoothness under hard use. Changing gear takes just 150 milliseconds, as measured by the ‘hole’ in acceleration during the change (intended as the overall time from declutching, changing gear to releasing the clutch).

continues... | Part Five
Published 27 October 2004 Melanie Carter

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