Focus – Ferrari 550 Prodrive ?
6-litre V12, 600 bhp at 6 400 rpm, music to the ears! The Prodrive Ferrari 550 is a regular entry for Peter Auto events in the Endurance Racing Legends series. Here it is seen in 2020 at the Dix Mille Tours du Castellet on the Paul Ricard circuit.
It all began in 1999 when French driver, Frédéric Dor, sought a car that could take the fight to the Chrysler Vipers that dominated the Grand Touring category. He opted for the Ferrari 550 Maranello and he ordered three from Stéphane Ratel who was only too happy to see a red car competing in his FIA GT Championship.
Early on it looked like the adventure was doomed to fail, but Dor wasn’t the type of guy to throw in the towel and consulted Prodrive, a specialist in the WRC rallies. The English tuner invested all its knowhow in this project, which made provision for the construction and sale of 20 cars (12 were produced). The first two prototypes were entered for four events in 2001 and clinched two victories (A1-Ring and Jarama).
But despite this promising start the Ferrari factory management were reticent, consternated even, as they were afraid that a private tuner would be beaten by the Corvettes in the USA. Thus, Prodrive went ahead with the project without any backing from the Italian manufacturer, scored four victories (Jarama, Anderstorp, Oschersleben, Estoril) and won the FIA GT title in 2002. Once the 6-litre V12 had been made reliable the 550 Maranello put on a stunning performance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans where it won the GTS category in 2003 driven by Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Jamie Davies.
Chassis (117110) presented here at the Dix Mille Tours du Castellet in Endurance Racing Legends set pole position for the 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans with Enge at the wheel and finished fourth in the race. In 2005, the red car won three rounds of the FIA GT Championship (Monza, Brno, Dubaï) driven by Gabriele Gardel and Pedro Lamy.