Ferrari has dusted off the Ferrari Design Challenge for the first time, bringing back the competition that gives the power of the pen to some of the world’s most promising design students. First launched in 2005, the Ferrari Design Challenge is now in its third iteration - the second one was back in 2011 - and yet, the objective remains the same. Students from a number of hand-picked schools from all over the world are given the opportunity to design the Ferrari of the future.

For this particular contest, students were tasked to visualize what they think a Ferrari would look like in the year 2040. Close to 50 schools submitted their design proposals in the first round of the competition and since then, the Italian automaker has cut down the field to the final four. The list includes defending champion Hongik University in Korea, as well as Hochschule Pforzheim in Germany, ISD-Rubik in France, and the College for Creative Studies in the US.

All four finalists each have three designs in the final judging. A select group of judges led by Ferrari design chief Flavio Manzoni will eventually pick the winning design. Pininfarina boss Paolo Pininfarina is also a judge, as are Ferrari F1 driver Sebastian Vettel, and a handful of celebrity Ferrari owners, including Jamiroquai front man Jay Kay and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.

A “fan favorite” award is also up for grabs as Ferrari’s loyal tifosi will also be given a chance to vote for their favorite design on Ferrari’s Facebook page.

The winner will be announced on January 15, 2016, a curious date considering that it falls right smack in the middle of the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

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I’m actually a little surprised that the Ferrari Design Challenge doesn’t happen more often. Be that as it may, the whole competition is a great way for young and up-and-coming designers to showcase their skills and have their works scrutinized by some of most influential people within Ferrari. That’s something that all these designers should be proud of, even if they don’t end up winning the competition.

Focusing on the current competition, design students from the final four design schools have come up with some pretty impressive representations of the Ferrari of 2040. Some are a little out there. Some are really way out there. And then there are those that are borderline out of this world.

I know I’m not a judge in the contest, but I couldn’t help it. I looked at the final 12 designs and I picked my own personal top three.

Third place for me goes to the open-top F247 by ISD-Rubika. This is an example of a design that’s really out of this world, even for Ferrari’s extremely high standards. But wouldn’t it be really cool that if, by 2040, Ferrari would be rolling out production versions of their Formula One cars? It’s already happening in the motorcycle industry with all these street-ready, MotoGP-inspired bikes. Why can’t it happen in the auto industry too. The F247 certainly looks the part. It’s got the unmistakable Formula One nose that connects the separate fenders. The open-top cockpit could also be a suggestion that the F247 could evolve into a track toy, ala the modern-day Ariel Atom. A Ferrari track toy? Sounds like a good idea to me.

Coming in at second place in my theoretical judging of this competition is the Manifesto, another one of ISD-Rubika’s designs. This was a little tricky since a majority of the final designs used the same swooping, closed cockpit feature. Could that really be a thing in 2040? Whatever the case may be, I like how the Manifesto used that design feature and mixed it with some modern-day design elements. The front bumper and the sharp nose, in particular, has a little LaFerrari in them. I also like how some panels in the car blend into each other, creating a streamlined appearance from the front to the back.

Now for my first place award. Guess what, it’s from Hongik University, making it a repeat winner (in my mind) of the competition. I’m calling it now: I think the “de Esfera” will take home the title in this competition. I think a big part of how these designs will be judged will be decided on how practical the designs are in real-world application. Sure, 2040 is still 25 years away, but I don’t think Ferrari’s design would evolve from the likes of the 488 GTB and the LaFerrari into a lot of these designs. The only exception that I see is the de Esfera because it’s actually the only one that looks like a car that Ferrari will build by 2040. The proportions are there. The sharp edges are there. I also like how it’s the only one that actually has a traditional roof. Overall, it’s the design that best fits what I think Ferraris will look like 25 years from now.

Source: Ferrari

Press Release

What seemed like the wildest science fiction in the days of Jules Verne has been more than surpassed by modern invention. Maybe in a quarter of a century’s time, we’ll be saying the same about a slew of present-day projects that endeavour to envisage the Ferraris of the future.

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We are talking, of course, about the 12 models to have reached the finals of the Ferrari Top Design School Challenge. Also run in 2005 and 2012, this is the third outing for a competition in which the world’s most prestigious design institutes vie for supremacy. Around 50 schools were considered in the first round and this number was then whittled to eight before four third-level institutes (spread across three continents) were selected as finalists. They are: the Hochschule Pforzheim (Germany), which has a hugely successful automotive design course and is one of Europe’s leading schools; the College for Creative Studies in Detroit (US) which attracts students from all over the world because of the incredibly high standard of its facilities and teaching staff; the Asia-Pacific region’s top design school, Hongik University in Seoul (Korea), which had the largest number of entrants in the competition and also won the 2011 Ferrari World Design Contest; and, lastly, the ISD-Rubika in Valenciennes (France) which has a cutting-edge computer modelling course that embraces structured interdisciplinary projects.

The students began working on their Ferraris of the future in October 2014 and a year later, the 12 finalist models, three from each school, arrived in Maranello. This marked the start of the trickiest phase in the competition: choosing the winner! Or rather the two winners as there are two prizes. The overall “Gran Premio” is awarded by a jury made up of Ferrari exponents in the broadest sense of the term – designers, engineers, drivers and even famous collectors. The “Premio Speciale”, on the other hand, is awarded by open online vote cast on the official Ferrari Facebook page where finalists’ work can be viewed.

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The jury very shortly knuckles down to the difficult task of making the final decision about the overall winner and will officially announce its choice on January 15 2016. So, the very best of luck to Nicola Boari, Franco Cimatti, Aldo Colonnetti, Rodolfo Gaffino Rossi, Jay Kay, Flavio Manzoni, Nick Mason, Andrea Militello, Marc Newson (TBC), Paolo Pininfarina and Sebastian Vettel as they embark on this home stretch in this long process.

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