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Heidfeld puts the prototype Automobili Pininfarina Battista hyper GT through its paces

Heidfeld puts the prototype Automobili Pininfarina Battista hyper GT through its paces

Nick Heidfeld joins Vehicle Development team at Nardò Technical Center in Italy for his debut Battista test

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Legendary racer and Automobili Pininfarina Test and Development Driver Nick Heidfeld has taken the new Battista hyper GT on track for the first time as part of the ongoing prototype development at the Nardò Technical Center in Italy.

Heidfeld has played a key role in the development of Battista from the inception of the project. In 2019 he joined Automobili Pininfarina designers and engineers to provide ergonomics feedback on a physical – rather than virtual – prototype for the first time. Soon after, Nick was in the seat of an advanced dynamic simulator in Italy, with the brief to support dynamic set-up of the 1,900 PS, all-wheel drive electric hyper GT.

His unparalleled knowledge and more than 25 years of experience in high performance motorsport continue to support refinement of Battista’s bespoke chassis settings and software calibration, ahead of the hyper GT entering production in Italy in the summer of 2021.

Nick Heidfeld said: “It has been really special to experience the Battista on the track for the first time. With the prototype at an advanced stage of development, we are testing Battista with around 80 per cent of its potential power, the performance and acceleration is already beyond anything I could imagine.”

“What really surprised me was how natural the Battista feels on the track. We are creating a hyper GT to be enjoyed at all speeds, yet here in Nardò the cornering control and speed we achieved were exceptional. Minimal traction control and torque vectoring are active at this stage of prototype development, yet there is so much grip to exploit.”

“It was my first time driving on the Nardò handling circuit, so I spent some time looking at films of onboard laps online to familiarise myself with the layout. I quickly realised they would be of little use, because the acceleration of Battista is on another level to even the world’s fastest road cars.”

“To meet our aim of delivering a hyper GT, a car that can be enjoyed anywhere and in all conditions, we are developing Battista with two tyre combinations. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R is our preferred performance tyre and combined with lightweight ‘Impulso’ wheels it provides an outstanding combination of maximum grip and feel, a perfect fit for a race circuit.”

“I have to say, that very honestly, driving the Battista prototype far exceeded my expectations. It’s like nothing I have experienced ever before. I can't wait to try the Battista away from the track, chasing corners on mountain roads.”

The Automobili Pininfarina Battista is the most powerful road-legal car ever designed and built in Italy. The Battista’s 120 kWh battery provides power to four electric motors – one at each wheel – for a combined, staggering power output of 1 416 kW and maximum torque of 2 300 Nm. Its advanced powertrain is able to intelligently distribute power between all four wheels for optimised traction in all conditions and allows customers to tailor the driving experience to suit their personal tastes using five unique driving modes (Calma, Pura, Energica, Furiosa and Carattere).

Automobili Pininfarina Test Driver and Vehicle Dynamics Manager Georgios Syropoulos, said: “The phenomenal performance potential of the Battista is clear. Our clients will never have experienced acceleration like this before, yet giving them the opportunity to tailor their experience using a range of drive modes means this hypercar offers much more than just speed thrills. With a zero-emissions range of 500 kms and sophisticated all-wheel drive technology, every drive in Battista will be a pleasure.”

No more than 150 Battistas will be individually hand-crafted at the Pininfarina SpA atelier in Turin, Italy, with the first cars set to be delivered to clients later this year.

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