Conceived and executed by Red Racing in France in 1999, this 550 GT was at the cutting edge of Ferrari racing berlinetta evolution. Given complete racing preparation and development, its weight was eventually cut by 400 kg to just over 1,200 kg. Development was managed by Michel Enjolras, who had maintained Peugeot’s rally cars. Assembly was in Mario Cavagnero’s Italtecnica shops. A complete roll cage was fabricated by Matter, then modified and strengthened by Enjolras to meet the dual goals of safety and giving the chassis structure the absolute rigidity upon which good chassis setup and performance depends. This structure was then homologated by the A.C.O. for Le Mans, IMSA for U.S. races and the FFSA for the French National GT series, the first 550 Maranello to be homologated by international sanctioning bodies.
The Ferrari 550 Maranello GT body was recreated in carbonfibre for lightness and incorporates a number of aerodynamic improvements. Great care was taken in managing air flow to minimize drag, maximize aerodynamic downforce and dissipate the heat generated by the 550 GT’s high performance engine operating at maximum power. Extractor vents behind the wheels dissipate both brake and engine heat. The rear underbody was modified, as permitted under the GT category rules, to create a diffuser to enhance ground effects aerodynamics. This in turn necessitated refining and strengthening the Maranello’s standard flat floor underbody structure to meet the demands of the 550 GT’s increased ground effects and to insulate the cockpit from exhaust heat. Even the Maranello’s nose was modified, both to accommodate the widened front track and to provide better airflow to the engine radiators and front brakes. The engine has been reworked by RPM and now gives some 600 horsepower without air restrictors while producing 63 mkg torque (455 lb-ft).
Bonham’s Sale of Chassis #106404
Raced in the French GT championship in 2001 by XL Racing with drivers Rambeaud and Guitteny, the 550 GT finished four of seven races, winding up its first season with a 3rd place finish at Ledenon on 5-6 October. With further development its record improved dramatically in 2002 when, driven by Rambeaud, Vassal, Lesoudier and Gomez, it finished every race and captured podium finishes at Albi on 7-8 September and Le Mans on 6-7 October. In 2003, drivers Lesoudiere and Derlot earned another podium at the season-opening French championship race on 19-20 April at Nogaro, backed up by a 9th place finish by Lesoudier and Ferte at Dijon on 17-18 May.
XL Racing’s pioneering Ferrari 550 Maranello GT was invited to and qualified for the GT class at the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans where it was driven by Lesoudier, Ferte and Barde. Until an accident punctured the fuel tank and started a fire just over 13 hours into the race it was ahead of the mid-engined Ferraris in the GT category. Now prepared to 2003 A.C.O. Le Mans specifications and livery and in race-ready condition, it is offered at Bonhams Sale of Ferrar’s at Gstaad.
At their upcoming sale in Gstaad Switzerland on Friday December 19th, Bonhams will offer 106404 at an estimate price of $317 000 to $365 000 USD.
Story by Bonhams Brooks PS&N Limited, edited by Supercars.net Publishing Inc.