Nick Heidfeld tests the Pininfarina Battista prototype


Join racing driver and Automobili Pininfarina test and development driver, Nick Heidfeld, as he takes the Pininfarina Battista hyper GT on track for the first time as part of the ongoing prototype development at the Nardò Technical Center in Italy. The Battista is the most powerful road-legal car ever designed and built in Italy.

Heidfeld has been involved in the development of the Battista from the inception of the project. In 2019 he joined Automobili Pininfarina’s designers and engineers to provide ergonomics feedback on a physical – rather than virtual – prototype for the first time. Soon after, he began work in the seat of an advanced dynamic simulator in Italy, with the brief to support the vehicle dynamics setup of the 1,900PS, all-wheel-drive electric hyper GT.

Heidfeld’s deep dynamics knowledge and more than 25 years of experience in motorsport continue to support refinement of Battista’s bespoke chassis settings and software calibration, ahead of the car entering production in Italy in summer 2021.

“It has been really special to experience the Battista on the track for the first time,” says Heidfeld. “With the prototype at an advanced stage of development, we are testing Battista with around 80% 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 the aim of delivering a hyper GT, a car that can be enjoyed anywhere and in all conditions, the Pininfarina team is developing the Battista with two tyre combinations. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R is the preferred performance tyre and combined with lightweight ‘Impulso’ wheels it provides a combination of maximum grip and feel, perfect 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,” added Heidfeld.

No more than 150 Battistas will be individually hand-crafted at the Pininfarina SpA site in Turin, Italy, with the first cars due to be delivered to clients in the summer.

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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