250GT0 — Chassis 3767GT
Soon-to-become Ferrari devotee David Piper took delivery of this car (original registration MO 79460) in July 1962 and put it to immediate use, debuting it at the Brands Hatch Peco Trophy (6 August) before finishing fifth in Goodwood’s TT two weeks later. On 2 September he crashed at Crystal Palace, but a fortnight later finished fourth in the Tour de France, co-driven by Dan Margulies.
The car now began its world tour. On 3 November Piper and South African Bruce Johnstone won the Kyalami Nine Hours. Piper then contested the Puerto Rico GP (18 August) and Angola GP (2 December) before shipping the car to the States for the Daytona and Sebring races of February ’63.
Piper finished 14th in the latter race, alongside American Ed Cantrell, who bought the car the following month. It returned fora brief European sojourn, Piper and Cantrell finishing sixth in the Niirburgring 1000 Kilometres (19 May), before returning to America to complete its contemporary career.
It was in this stint that it garnered its most famous alumnus, AJ Foyt sharing the car with Charlie Kolb in the 1964 Daytona Continental 2000 Kilometres. They were disqualified soon after the start for missing scrutineering.
250GTO — Chassis 4399GT
This car (original registration 91553 MO) is perhaps the most successful GTO of all. Arriving at Maranello Concessionaires in May 1963, it began winning immediately, Mike Nikes successful first time out in Goodwood’s Whitsun Trophy (3 June). Jack Sears finished fifth overall (first in class) in the GT support race at Silverstone’s British GP (20 July) and Graham Hill won the TT (24 August). Parkes was back in the hot seat for the Coppa InterEuropa at Monza (8 September), where he lost a thrilling lead battle with Roy Salvadori’s Aston Martin Project 214, and the Autosport Three-Hours (28 September) at Snetterton, where he finished second.
Maranello updated it to GTO 64 spec, and it swept the board that season. Graham Hill won the Sussex Trophy (30 March) and Silverstone’s International Trophy (2 May); Parkes won the Spa 500 Kilometres (17 May) and the GT class (third overall) in the Reims 12 Hours (4 June), co-driven by Ludovico Scarfiotti. The car’s only real disappointment was its GT defeat at Le Mans (20 June), Innes Ireland and Tony Maggs finishing sixth overall, five laps behind the GTO of Lucien Bianchi/Jean Blaton. Interestingly, a young Jackie Stewart drove 4399GT in practice.
Ferrari 250LM — Chassis 6023
Delivered to Jacques Swaters’ Ecurie Francorchamps on 5 September 1964, this car did not cover itself in glory on its first outing, completing just three laps of the Paris 1000 Kilometres (11 October) at Montlhery before its clutch failed. It fared better in its only other outing that season, team stalwart Willy Mairesse winning the 300-kilometre Angola GP (29 November) in Luanda and setting a lap record in the process.
The following season got off to a bad start too, Mairesse retiring from the Monza 1000 Kilometres (25 April) with steering problems. More retirements followed: suspension failure put Mairesse and ‘Beurlys’ out of the Nurburgring 1000 Kilometres (23 May) and a blown clutch sidelined Gerard Langlois van Ophem and ‘Ude’ halfway through the Le Mans 24 Hours (19-20 June). The only finish that season was recorded by Mairesse and Seurlys’, who finished third in the Reims 12 Hours (3-4 July).
The car contested just one race in 1966, the Le Mans 24 Hours (18-19 June), where it racked up yet another DNF, a blown headgasket in the 18th hour putting an end to the hopes of Gustave Gosselin and Eric de Keyn.
It’s hard to imagine something so far removed from the mighty 512 than the 312 – minimal, compact, nimble – but Ferrari were once again ahead of the game and spot-on. This two-seater F1 car feels so sharp, even on 30-year-old Firestones, and its flat -12 represents another quantum leap. The ‘Boxer’ is more willing than the DFV of the period (440bhp in sportscar trim at 12,000rpm) but lacks a little in the torque department. Switch-like gearbox, brakes (vented discs) that at last match the performance, and so stunnigly beautiful. What a package!
Ferrari offered me one on the condition I wouldn’t race it, which is how Gordon Murray came to design for me a DFV version – but that’s a different story.
F33SP – 1994
Does this car still possess the Ferrari mystique? Yes, but only just. Carbonfibre is fantastic, but it’s also very impersonal. For a driver used to a flexing, twisting spaceframe, a modern monocoque seems to alienate you from the driving experience. I also find that the revs a modern racing engine can pull a little numbing. These units lack soul, somehow.
I will admit that the sequential shift was addictive, the thump in the back was impressive (in any gear) and the brakes were sensational. What really intrigued me, though, was that IMSA bent the rules to allow Ferrari to race in their series, and that the 333 owners bought the cars ready-to-race. It would seem that some things never really change. Thankfully.