MARANELLO, Italy (Reuters Life!) - Three design students from South Korea on Tuesday won a once-in-a-lifetime chance to help design the Ferrari of tomorrow.
The students from Hongik University in Seoul took first prize in Ferrari's World Design Contest 2011, taking up the luxury carmaker's challenge to imagine what the Ferrari of the future might look like.
The students, Kim Cheong Ju, Ahn Dre and Lee Sahngseok, took first place with their entry "Eternity." One student from the European Design Institute in Turin and two from London's Royal College of Arts came in second and third respectively.
Four hundred entries from 50 elite design schools and universities around the world were whittled down to seven finalists.
"Perhaps they could work for us some day," Flavio Manzoni, head of Ferrari's Style Center said at the legendary plant that has produced the world's most exclusive road cars as well as racing cars that have won 16 Formula One Constructors titles and 15 World Championship driver titles in its 60-year-history.
He said Ferrari's own designers would take the students' ideas on aerodynamics, propulsion and style into consideration in the company's future designs for its road cars.
"Eternity," which the South Korean students presented in a scale model, is a two-seater, super futuristic car made of layered carbon surfaces and brimming with new-generation technologies.
All of the design concepts focused on reducing fuel consumption through alternative propulsion systems, particularly through the use of hybrid engines.
Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said that the company wanted to nurture the creativity of young people throughout the world and to promote innovative ideas wherever they came from.
"Even though we are an Italian company and the Italian flag is on the hood and boot of all our cars, we want to keep our window on the world open," he said.
Montezemolo said it was no surprise that the winners came from Asia, one of the fastest growing markets for the elite cars that can cost up to $400,000.
"It's not that the future will be Asia, the future is already here and it is Asia," he said.
Ferrari expects greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), to become its second market after the United States by the end of this year, knocking Germany into third place.
Editing by Paul Casciato