The "Speedholics man" and the ecological transition

In his long career he worked on over one hundred projects, many of which related to fast and racing cars: thinking about how many litres of fuel have been burned by his “creatures”, Marmiroli looks to the future, wondering how to reconcile the passion and very essence of sports cars with respect for the environment.

Photos courtesy of Luigi Marmiroli Archive

The passage from fossil fuel to electric for all cars of the future - including supercars and hypercars - is a given fact. Thinking back over my career, I can count projects for around a hundred cars. Mostly racing cars (Formula 1, Formula 2 and 3, Sports Prototypes, cars for Le Mans and Indianapolis, Developments of production cars, Challenges). And of course, supercars and hypercars.

In the early days, my tasks were minimal: calculating a spring or connecting rod for an engine, balancing a crankshaft, designing a spoiler. This was what I did in the Ferrari Studies Office in Maranello. Then, along with Giacomo Caliri, I set up the “Fly-Studio” in Modena, a consulting firm for racing cars. There, my experience and my influence in various projects grew drastically. Just think, at Lamborghini, working with a team of around fifty people, I completely designed a dozen supercars and type-approved seventeen versions of the Diablo, designing the whole car, from the chassis to the power train, from the bodywork to the electronics, from the engine to the four-wheel drive.

But throughout this history, something has always niggled me: that stressful search for absolute speed performance has always prevented me from seriously considering the fuel consumption of the cars I designed.

To confirm this, let’s look back at some of the most significant projects. The Formula 1 cars that I worked on held 220 litres of fuel, not always enough to complete races of just over 300 km. And this brings an anecdote to mind. The engines on our Alfa Romeo F1s were guzzlers. Engineer Chiti (who we will come back to later) invented fuel freezing, using powerful refrigerators, aiming to store greater quantities in the tanks. The problem was that it took a long time to fill the tanks at the start of the race, often in the sunshine. As it heated, the petrol swelled the tanks and, wearing their seatbelts, the drivers complained that it was hard to breathe because the passenger compartment was smaller... Other teams followed the example until the regulations forbid it.