The V12 isn’t dead, after all!

14th May 2021, 10:50am
3 min read
The V12 isn’t dead, after all!
Image credit: GTO Engineering
  • British company GTO Engineering to produce new V12 engine
  • Hand-built unit to produce over 460bhp
  • Quad-cam specification to rev to 10,000rpm

With most major manufacturers ploughing vast resources and expenditure into hybrid and electrification, there were genuine fears that the V12 engine and its evocative soundtrack could quickly become a thing of the past.

But Ferrari are going ahead with a V12-powered 812 Superfast GT machine, Aston Martin are refusing to give up on their engine, Rolls-Royce cars are exclusively powered by V12s, while BMW, Mercedes, Bentley, Pagani and Lamborghini still use a V12 amongst their ranges.

And now, the British-based GTO Engineering firm has announced plans for a new V12 of their own, a hand built sub-165kg unit that will produce over 460bhp from its four litre quad-cam specification, and rev to 10,000rpm.

Their naturally aspirated V12 has been designed for their new car, the Squalo, which is a modern re-imagination of the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO.

Both car and engine are being built from the ground up, and combined will weigh less than a tonne and be driven by a manual gearbox. The firm hopes that the new engine will be as ‘at home on a grand tour as it is on track.’

GTO are putting a lot of emphasis into lightness; the engine project team are working with external consultants to analyse and improve each component, meaning the new unit will be more than 10kg lighter than a period Ferrari V12, but produce more than 160 extra horsepower.

To achieve the target weight, parts have been hollowed out and advanced materials selected. The starter motor is also lighter, while further gains come from an improved clutch and flywheel.

The process has also allowed the V12 to be more tightly packaged, allowing for a better weight distribution of 55/45. The engine will be placed lower in the car and placed further towards the cabin, while heavy items such as the fuel tank, and battery will be in the rear.

People often ask us what the similarities are between Squalo and any 250-series car, and it’s easier to say this: there are none,” says GTO Engineering Managing Director and Founder Mark Lyon. “There aren’t any parts that are shared between the two [Squalo and any 250-series model], and one key case study for that is the engine.

We know most V12 Ferraris inside out, and recently weighed a 1960 4.0-litre V12 engine; it was 176kg as a complete unit with the starter motor, oil and oil filler tubes too. That’s so much lighter than a modern V12, and we know we can do even better with our knowledge as well as modern advancements and techniques. Every part and configuration on our quad-cam V12 has had a complete engineering re-focus to ensure our engine for Squalo is the very best it can be.

The engine will be built at GTO’s Reading headquarters, where all research and development is being carried out. A strong emphasis on aesthetics is being applied to both the car and engine, to the extent where specific items are being built in house if an aesthetically pleasing off-the-shelf part cannot be sourced, such as the distributor caps.

The Squalo was announced in November 2020, and first customer deliveries are expected in 2023.

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Written by Richard Randle

Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.

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