Gallery: The ultimate Ferrari F40by Graham Keilloh on 19th December 2018
A blue Ferrari F40 LM could fetch millions in Paris next year
Images courtesy of RM Sotheby’s/Motorsport Images
The Ferrari F40 was the fastest production car of them all in 1987, but this was the ultimate version. This F40 LM was built to take on La Sarthe in 1995, and will be auctioned by RM Sotheby's on February 6, 2019, in Paris.
Offered for sale in its original French blue Le Mans livery, it sends faint echoes of another Ferrari sports car, but this F40 dons an inky-blue 'Pilot' livery. And everything from the F40 road car has been turned up to 11.
The car came into being in 1987 featuring more aggressive bodywork – including more extreme front and rear wings – larger disc brakes and callipers, revised suspension, a race-spec gearbox and a stripped-out interior.
This chassis (no74045) was originally used as a prototype while the F40 was being designed; it then got converted to LM specification by well-known race preparer Michelotto in 1992.
Prior to that, F40 LMs garnered middling success in sports car racing. Jean Alesi managed to finish third in the 1989 IMSA GT category on the car's 1989 debut, but F40 LMs never won a race in the early 1990s.
But Michelotto brought the F40 LM back with a bang in 1994 and it found a new home in the BPR Global GT Series as the F40 GTE. Although cars such as the McLaren F1 should have deemed the F40 GTE obsolete, it won races and ran up front constantly. Reliability was its biggest issue.
With his own Pilot Racing Team, he drove it to 12th overall and sixth in class in the 1995 Le Mans alongside Olivier Thévenin and Carlos Palau. Then, a month later Ferté and Thévenin took the car to victory from pole in the BPR Global GT Series Anderstorp round.
The following year the F40 was upgraded to GTE specifications with a wider rear wing added and had further success in the BPR, with its best result third at home in Nogaro.
Only one other F40 LM has been offered in RM Sotheby's history, and this one could fetch €4.5-€5.5 million, owing to its unmistakable livery and racing heritage.
It will be joined by a road-going 1996 F50, one of only 349 ever made that is priced at up to €1.9m, and a couple of Bugatti hypercars including the Chiron and EB110. But it's the F40 LM we have our eye on.
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