Gentleman driver race series which offer the full package of car, mechanical support and outings at the world’s top circuits are common these days, but the concept was relatively new when Ferrari introduced its Challenge events more than 25 years ago.
The thinking behind the series was to get road-going GT cars back on the track in a bid to reprise the marque’s glory days of the 1950s and ’60s. The model of the time was the 348 Berlinetta, for which the factory developed an upgrade kit to make the cars more competition-orientated.
That arrangement continued with the 348’s successor, the F355, but the growing popularity of the series led to Ferrari offering a dedicated model for 2000 in the form of the 360 Modena Challenge.
Unlike its converted predecessors, the 360 Challenge was specifically built for racing, being stripped of all superfluous components – such as electric windows, door locks, air bags, air conditioning and even the handbrake – and upgraded with better suspension and brakes, a roll cage, plumbed-in fire extinguisher and racing seat.
The 360 road car’s engine was retained in more or less standard form, with the stock 400 horsepower proving more effective due to the Challenge model being 180kg lighter.
The success of the car and the popularity of the series led to the introduction of a street-legal Stradale model, of which 1200 were made. These are now highly collectable and command between £150,000 and £225,000, making them almost too valuable to be used in anger on track.
In contrast, the ‘real thing’ – i.e. genuine, retired 360 Challenge race cars – represent great value for money, as demonstrated by this year 2000 example being offered by private owner Anthony Smith.
The car began life with Ferrari of Phoenix, Arizona, which has computer records showing that it entered the service department no fewer than 17 times between Dec 29, 2000 and March 7, 2006 – the year before the F430 became the official model of the Challenge series.
Around the same time, it was recorded as having covered approximately 4100 miles according to the all-important computer read-outs that are downloaded from the car’s gearbox and show everything from the number of miles covered in each gear to the engine’s RPM history. Originally silver, the car subsequently became part of a private collection and had little use before being acquired by Smith and a fellow enthusiast who imported it into the UK four years ago.
In January 2019, the car was treated to a major service and overhaul, which included the fitting of new belts, seating and fire system in order to meet with FIA dating regulations, as well as a new set of slicks. The electro-hydraulic, manual transmission was also treated to a new clutch.
It’s now up and running and ‘wanting for nothing’ – other than a new owner looking for a serious track day tool, or for a car in which to compete in the Ferrari Club racing series.
2000 Ferrari 360 Challenge, Private sale. Anthony Smith on +44 (0) 7779 726845 or email [email protected] £60,000.
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