The company's impending 40th anniversary provided just the right occasion for the car to debut. The plan was simple: create a vehicle that combined the company's best technologies into a no-frills sports car that would come as close as possible to being a full fledged race vehicle while still retaining the necessary equipment to be a street-legal product. It was the last car to be commissioned by Enzo himself before his death.
Nonetheless, the F40 had an impressively low Cd of 0.34 with lift controlled by its spoilers and wing. Power came from an enlarged, 2.9 L (2,936 cc) version of the GTO's twin IHI turbocharged V8 developing 478 PS (356 kW/471 hp) under 110 kPa (16 psi) of boost. The suspension setup, like the GTO's, remained a double wishbone setup, though many parts were upgraded and settings were changed. The unusually low ground clearance prompted Ferrari to include the ability to raise the vehicle's ground clearance when necessary.
The body was an entirely new design by Pininfarina featuring panels made of kevlar, carbon fiber, and aluminum for strength and low weight, and intense aerodynamic testing was employed. Weight was further minimized through the use of a plastic windshield and windows and no carpets, sound system or door handles were installed although the cars did have air conditioning. Early cars had fixed windows, although newer windows that could be rolled down were installed into later cars and the F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990 when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons.
The F40 was discontinued in 1992 and in 1995 was succeeded by the F50, which until a newer generation of factory backed GT1 cars that came along, remained competitive.