Introduced by RM Sotheby’s – With a front-line racing profession spanning some 11 years—and encompassing two FIA GT Championships, a Le Mans class win and total victory within the Spa 24 Hours—the Ferrari 550 GT1 justifiably occupies a spot within the pantheon of all-time nice Competitors GT vehicles.
Remarkably, Ferrari’s final severe GT providing had been the mighty Group 4 Daytona, some three many years beforehand. Nevertheless, while that challenge had been factory-led, no such blessing, initially at the least, was forthcoming for the 550. Ferrari made it clear that any racing model must be developed privately, with Italian Race Preparation agency Italtecnica and their British counterparts Prodrive taking the lead. Certainly, it was not till 2003 that the factory-approved N. Expertise squad, considerably belatedly, selected to develop their very own model.
One among 4 Italtecnica vehicles constructed, chassis 115811 was bought by rich Italian Andrea Garbagnati, making its race debut within the first spherical of the 2001 FIA GT Championship at Monza. Entered by Staff Rafanelli, the automobile was pushed by former Method One drivers Emanuele Naspetti and Mimmo Schiattarella. Though working fifth early on, their race led to retirement following steering failure simply after two-thirds distance. On the second spherical at Brno, the pair loved a largely uneventful race to complete fifth, while at Magny-Cours two weeks later, they recorded a valiant fourth behind the successful Lister Storm and two Chrysler Vipers. After one other fifth at Silverstone, a busy early season of 5 races in seven weekends concluded with a go to to Zolder in Belgium, in mid-Could. Naspetti took a genuinely-earned pole place, though as soon as once more unhealthy luck intervened with the automobile retiring as soon as once more as a result of accident injury.
The season resumed at Spa in early August for the sequence’ blue riband occasion, the 24 Hours. Naspetti was retained as lead driver of 115811 with Schiattarella changed by two-time Spa winner Eric van de Poele; Belgian amateurs Philippe Steveny and Martial Chouvel additionally becoming a member of the squad. After qualifying second, Naspetti made a blistering begin, even taking the race lead briefly within the third hour. Nevertheless, the early tempo had taken its toll, the automobile retiring after simply six hours with a damaged crankshaft.
A truncated season noticed the automobile compete on the A1-Ring in late August, however the squad opted to overlook the ultimate three rounds of the Championship at Nurburgring, Jarama and Estoril. In Austria, Naspetti was partnered by Marc Duez, and after a considerably lacklustre qualifying session—which left the pair solely thirteenth—the automobile retired as soon as once more with engine maladies, this time shortly earlier than half distance.
After mendacity dormant for almost all of the 2002 season, 115811 was loaned to erstwhile Touring Automobile crew Dart Racing for the final three rounds of that yr’s FIA GT Championship. Though pushed by vastly skilled Crimson Bull-backed Austrian Dieter Quester and former Le Mans class winner Luca Riccitelli, and suitably up to date to 2002 specification by Milan-based J.A.S Motorsport, the alliance was not a fruitful one, with all three rounds—Enna, Donington and Estoril—ending in retirement.
For 2003, automobile proprietor Garbagnati entrusted preparation tasks to JMB Racing, getting into chosen occasions in each the FIA and Italian GT Championships. As soon as once more, the previous was a disappointment, with drivers Terrien, Derichebourg and Pescatori enduring lamentable reliability and retiring from all 4 race begins. Nevertheless, an in any other case disappointing season was salvaged when Garbagnati himself shared the automobile with Ferrari take a look at driver Andrea Bertolini in two Italian GT races on the A1-Ring, taking total victory in each.
The 2004 season represented 115811’s aggressive swansong, with JMB’s lead driver Lorenzo Casè securing three total victories within the automobile at Imola, Magione and Vallelunga en route to 3rd place in the long run of yr standings. Appropriately, the Vallelunga win can be the automobile’s ultimate modern race, with Casè sharing the automobile on this event with future Mercedes-Benz Method One supremo Toto Wolff.
Following the conclusion of its modern race profession, the automobile was offered to Frenchman Bruno Tortara after which to an nameless German collector, the latter commissioning former JMB engineer Jean-Christophe Noel to undertake a complete restoration. It was acquired by the seller in 2018, who reinstated the spectacular 2002 Crimson Bull livery and undertook an entire engine and gearbox rebuild.
Subsequently examined by three-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner, chassis 115811 is now totally race ready and able to do battle as soon as once more. It might undoubtedly be a aggressive and show-stopping entry into the burgeoning Endurance Racing Legends and Masters Endurance Legends sequence, while its eligibility for Ferrari’s factory-organised Membership Competizioni GT occasions additional enhances its already appreciable standing. Certainly, with its seductive strains, traditional front-engined 6-litre V-12 structure and unparalleled accompanying soundtrack, the 550 Maranello has lengthy been thought-about a worthy successor to the likes of the 250 GTO, 275 GTB/C and Daytona; an accolade which can certainly solely be cemented additional in future years.
This car shall be supplied in RM Sotheby’s new Milan Sale, happening 15 June at Palazzo Serbelloni in Italy. The sale shall be livestreamed and distant bidding choices can be found.