Enzo Ferrari started of manufacturing race cars back in 1937, he ventured into road cars ten years later, but the core of the brand has always been its dedication to racing.
This has always been apparent in its road-legal products too, from the earliest days the engine was the heart of every Ferrari and this remains true to its very latest offerings too. Enzo Ferrari was always adamant that the road car business was there to support the racing and not the other way around, this set the scene for some ground-breaking sports cars that set the standards for everyone else to follow.
The current range of road-going V8 and V12 supercars are still the benchmark by which competitors are judged, but is Ferrari still the king of the supercars or are its rivals finally producing challengers that can match or even eclipse its achievements? We take a look at some of these competitors and their machines to see whether the days of Ferrari dominance are coming to an end.
The current Ferrari range is one of the largest in its history, their offerings start off with the Portofino hardtop convertible, mid-engined 488 GTB and Spider models and include an AWD family supercar in the form of the GTC4Lusso and the insane 812 Superfast GT.
In-between you get the track-focused 488 Pista and Pista Spider as well as some special limited-edition models like the Monza SP1 and SP2.
The competition may be fiercer than ever, but it would have to be to match up to a product range that is this accomplished.
The Porsche brand may have evolved from the humble VW Beetle but their offerings have evolved to be some of the most sought-after and capable sports cars around.
Porsche’s range is even more diverse than Ferraris but the backbone of the company is still the 911 and it has been giving Ferrari headaches since the very first one rolled off the production line in 1963.
Those headaches have developed into migraines over the years as each successive generation has stretched the boundaries of what is capable with the curious rear-engine rear-wheel-drive layout.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
The GT2 has been the ultimate expression of what Porsche is capable of extracting from its 911 platform and the addition of the RS nomenclature to its latest offering (not all GT2s were RS models) signifies that it is the best of the best in the range.
It has a massive 700 bhp and the rear-wheel-drive layout gives it a raw edge that requires skill to be tamed, a true everyday supercar to challenge the more niche offerings from Ferrari.
Ferrari’s oldest direct rival has been around since 1963 and despite some turbulent times, it has produced some of the most coveted supercars over the decades.
The Miura, Countach and Diablo are just some of the classic V12 supercars competing for the cover on their best-of album but the modern era under VW ownership has also given us some superb (and reliable) cars to enjoy.
Lamborghini Huracan Evo
The Huracan was initially criticised for being a tad sterile compared to the visceral 488 GTB, continuous development and technological innovation has seen the latest Huracan Performante and Evo become far more involving to drive.
Add in the characterful 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 and this mid-engined challenger suddenly becomes a very real alternative to the establishment.
McLaren may seem like a relatively new entrant to the supercar arena but it has been around since 1985 as McLaren Cars and was originally founded by Bruce McLaren in 1963.
Aside from the incomparable F1 road car, they were more focused on racing than production-ready vehicles, that all changed in 2011 when the game-changing MP4-12C (later renamed as simply the 12C) was launched.
They have since been at the very pointy edge of the supercar scene and are possibly the biggest threat to Ferrari’s dominance.
McLaren rewrote the rulebook with the 12C, showing that daily useability and ride comfort need not be a foreign concept to supercar owners.
It took a few more years to inject the necessary excitement into the formula but cars like the 710 bhp 720S now combine near hypercar performance and excitement with a level of overall competence that should have Ferrari more than a little worried.
Here is a car that snaps at the heels of the LaFerrari for the price of a 488 GTB.
What is Ford doing on this list you ask? While the majority of this manufacturer’s vehicles belong firmly in the affordable family car category, every so often it releases something that not only challenges the supercar establishment but oftentimes rises straight to the top.
The most common example of this dominance is the well-documented trio of Le Mans victories that the GT40s racked up against the mighty Ferrari race cars in the ‘60s.
As road cars, these GT40s proved just as capable and in recent times their limited-edition GT models have proved that Ford can still challenge the supercar benchmarks.
Other than its name, the 2016 Ford GT bears little resemblance to the supercharged 5.4-litre V8 GT that came before it in 2004.
There is even less to link it to the original GT 40 except for the fact that it was designed from the ground up to excel on the track. Aside from its rather steep pricing, there is a lot to like about the GT.
The 647 bhp 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 and advanced chassis allow it to post lap times that challenge such track champions like the Lamborghini Huracan Performante and McLaren 720S.
Koenigsegg was founded in 1994 by Swedish entrepreneur Christian Von Koenigsegg, the first big step towards fulfilling a life-long dream to create his own supercar.
It took 8-years to deliver its first street-legal production car, but the wait was totally worth it. Koenigsegg may produce only a handful of cars each year but the technology, performance and attention to even the minutest detail make each one a ballistic work of art.
This small Swedish company may not challenge Ferrari when it comes to sales volumes but if you are looking for exclusivity, technical brilliance and sheer speed then a visit to the Koenigsegg showrooms is a must.
The Agera RS is one of the fastest production cars in existence while its successor, the Regera, combines this speed with hybrid technology and even more stunning lines.
With a total 1,797 bhp and 1,500 lb ft of torque, the Regera redefines the hypercar category.
To succeed against the established names at this level you either have to design a beautifully-styled and achingly desirable machine or make sure that it can outperform anything else in its segment.
Horatio Pagani did both of those things when he introduced his V12-powered Zonda to the world in 1992.
The Mercedes-Benz-sourced engine was honed to give the Zonda insane acceleration while the Swiss watch-like details both inside and out made it stand out from your ‘average’ supercar.
The Huayra had a massive task ahead of it when it was released in 2012, firstly it had to improve upon the amazing Zonda and secondly it would need to match the new generation of near-million-pound hypercars that were pushing the limits of technology.
The Mercedes-AMG sourced twin-turbo V12, active aerodynamics and lightweight construction combined to make the Huayra a formidable machine. It was indeed quicker than the Zonda, and most Ferraris, while still having that beautiful hand-crafted interior that sets Pagani apart from just about every other supercar manufacturer.
The Huayra BC with its lighter body shell and more powerful 745 bhp engine pushes the performance limits even further, only its extremely limited production numbers and extreme pricing prevent it from taking the fight to Ferrari.
The future of the supercar is undoubtedly an electric one, the sheer performance and instant acceleration provided by electric motors make even the most powerful internal-combustion engine seem like it’s trying too hard.
The recent trio of hybrid hypercars from McLaren, Porsche and Ferrari was the first step towards full electrification but there are smaller companies out there that have already built their own electric supercars with technology that surpasses even the established players.
Mate Rimac started Rimac Automobili in 2009 and while production numbers are still very low, his latest electric offering is going to be one of the most powerful vehicles ever built…
The Rimac Concept One showed the world that this small auto manufacturer was no flash-in-the-pan organisation, even though only eight were built the 1,384 bhp electric hypercar showcased some very advanced technology.
The next generation C_Two will offer even more power and performance, with 1.914 bhp and 1,700 lb ft of torque it promises to be the fastest four-wheeled production vehicle ever made.
Ferrari better get their next EV hypercar ready, the fight for supercar supremacy is going to get very heated very soon.