• the daytona sp3 is the latest ferrari model lego's brought to its technic line.
• the miniature ferrari features functioning doors, working shift paddles, and a v-12 engine with moving cylinders.
• the 3778-piece set is priced at $400.
at nearly two feet long and awash in a sea of red and rubber, all of the moving parts in lego's ferrari daytona sp3 are hard to notice at first. this is not some convenience store die-cast replica of the limited-run 829-hp daytona sp3, 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 (though it does that, too); it also has to help its builder understand the engineering that resides beneath its plastic-brick shell. and to teach those lessons, lego had to design a bunch of new parts.
in celebration of lego's 90th anniversary, we met with technic 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-long project, lego knew the dayton sp3 set would be one of the most challenging to date. and that didn't account for the covid-19 pandemic making it difficult for lego's team to travel to maranello, italy, to see the full-size daytona sp3. in fact, ferrari's 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,’” aurelien rouffiange said. “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 model lead and senior designer for the 1:8-scale daytona sp3. previously, he worked on lego's interpretations of the bugatti chiron and lamborghini sián fkp 37.
you assemble the lego set in a similar schedule that 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 up with the red body panels that give the model the organic flow of the real car, which takes its design cues from the sumptuous lines of the ferraris that won the 1967 daytona 24-hour race.
despite relying on a handful of specially developed pieces, lego's ferrari daytona sp3 shares a number of other features with the danish toymaker's other sets. the small ferrari's tires spin; its steering wheel turns; and its hood, doors, and trunk open. while lego's team tells us the car's butterfly doors required 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 model's structural capability.
“technic is known for strong models that do not fall apart easily,” rouffiange said. “but here the roof can be removed, and usually [the roof] helps us add a lot of stability. but the way this model is assembled, you can hold the car with one hand, from the front or rear, and it will not bend at all.”
lego ultimately created 12 new parts during the development of the daytona sp3 technic kit. this included aesthetic pieces, such as the model's exterior panels and wheels, as well as more mechanical ones, including new plastic gears designed to improve the functional feel of the scaled-down ferrari's moving parts.
even a part as simple as the wheels proved a challenge, as the real daytona sp3's wheels are asymmetrical in order to better manage airflow. due to this, lego had to design two versions of the same wheels (a set for the left side and another for the right) to ensure its model kept true to the real car.
like the real daytona sp3, the technic car features paddle shifters mounted aft of its steering wheel. though such a shifting mechanism may be common across the automotive industry, it's less so among lego models.
tapping the paddles works through the model's eight gears, and like a real car, each cog affects the top speed of lego's ferrari daytona sp3. you can even see the mechanical motions at work, from the spinning of the model's plastic gears to the up and down motions of its mid-mounted engine's pistons.
such authenticity doesn't come cheap, and the lego technic ferrari daytona sp3 stickers for $400. the set is currently available through lego's website or at its stores, with retail sales set to begin on august 1.