The evolution of the Scuderia Ferrari 250 Gran Turismo vehicles of the 1950s and early 1960s reflected the mandates and rule changes imposed by the World Sportscar Championship and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Introduced in 1952 and produced to 1964, the 250 series of sports cars and grand tourers were designed for both the road and sports car racing.
The 250 Series The 250 Testa Rossa was among the most successful Ferrari racing cars in its history, with four wins at Sebring, three wins at LeMans, and two wins at Buenos Aires. A 250 GT Berlinetta won the Tour de France Automobile three times in 1956, 1957 and 1958. This streak continued with the later 'Interim' and SWB Berlinettas, with victories in 1959 through 1962.
The 250 GT Berlinetta short wheelbase (SWB) was introduced in 1959 and produced through 1961 in both 'Lusso' road car versions with (mostly) steel bodies, and competition examples with aluminum bodies. Engine output ranged from 240 horsepower to 280 horsepower depending on intended use and tuning. The 250 GT SWB continued Ferrari's dominance in GT competition and during the 1960 season, they were nearly unbeatable. Along with victories at the Tour de France, four SWBs claimed the top places in the GT class at Le Mans. The SWB claimed overall or class victories at Spa, Monza, Nürburgring, Monthlery and in the Tourist Trophy.
The SWB continued to claim GT class victories through the 1961 season including taking the first four places at the Tour de France. For the following season, the aerodynamic principals of the SWB were improved further, resulting in the 250 GTO ('Gran Turismo Omologato', Italian for 'Homologated Grand Tourer'). Between 1962 and 1963, Ferrari built thirty-six examples. The Series II cars were introduced in 1964 wearing a different body. Three cars were built with the new body, and four of the Series I cars were modified with a Series II body, for a total of 39 GTOs.
World Sportscar Championship : GT The FIA operated the World Sportscar Championship for sports car racing from 1953 to 1992. Until 1961, races included the Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, Carrera Panamericana, 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Tourist Trophy and Nurburgring 1000 km. Although several manufacturers fielded professional drivers, the majority of the field was comprised of gentleman privateers. The cars were divided into Sports Car and GT (production car) category and further divided based on the engine displacement size.
Drastic rule changes were introduced for the 1962 season, partly to break up Ferrari's dominant racing campaign and stronghold on the sport. The 1962 World Championship was now run for homologated Grand Turismo cars instead of the purpose-built sports racers of the past. The World Sportscar Championship title was discontinued, being replaced by the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. Cars were now grouped based on the engine size of 'less than one litre,' 'less than two liters,' and 'over two liters.'
The following year, a prototype category was added.
World Sportscar Championship : Sports Cars The horrific accident at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans had resulted in the FIA's return to emphasizing dual-use grand touring cars and a displacement of 3.0 liters. This introduced a new chapter in the design and build of road-going competition sports cars. While Ferrari was focused on its Grand Prix program during the 1955 season, the Italian Sports Car Championship was won by Armando Zampiero in his Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Ferrari's response, to the German victor and the FIA's new GT Class Championship, was the dual-purpose road-racing model based on the 250 GT. It wore lightweight aluminum coachwork by Carrozzeria Scaglietti and a competition-tuned three-liter V-12, the resulting 250 GT Berlinetta was a potent force in sports car racing through the late 1950s.
With Mercedes-Benz's departure from the sport in 1955, the highest levels of sports car racing was left to Ferrari and Maserati to battle for top honors, with increasing threats from Jaguar, Porsche, and Aston Martin. Ferrari had correctly anticipated a reduction in capacity for sports cars by the CSI for the 1958 season resulting in the 2,953cc, 250 GT, V12 engined Testa Rossa. Ferrari became the only manufacturer to field a competitive car during the early part of the 1958 season, with the sole competition coming from privately entered Maserati 300 S machines, but not to the same extent as the prior year. Maserati had withdrawn from competition following the Venezuela Grand Prix in 1957 which had proven to be a disastrous race for the team. As the season progressed, so did the competition, especially from the Aston Martin DBR1 which won the Nurburgring 1000 Km.
Apart from 1955 which was won by Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari won the World Championship for Sports cars from 1953 through 1958. Aston Martin won in 1959, with the DBR1 winning three of the five races, a Porsche 718 winning the Targa Florio, and Ferrari scoring a sole victory at the Sebring.
Aston Martin did not return to defend their title in 1960, leaving Scuderia Ferrari to reclaim the title. It was far from an easy season, as the Porsche 718 RS won twice and a Maserati Tipo 61 won once. Ferrari had won the season opener at Buenos Aires with the 250 TR 59/60, but in order to beat Porsche, they would have to win at the final event of the season, the 24 Hours of LeMans. The powerful 3.0-liter Ferraris were able to capture six of the top seven positions, securing the 1960 championship for Scuderia Ferrari.
Ferrari won four out of five races in 1961.
The 250 GTO With FIA's decision to run the 1962 World Championship for GT cars, rather than sports cars, Ferrari focused on transforming the 250 GT SWB from a class to an overall contender. This entailed improvements to the 250 GT SWB aerodynamics at high speed and the installation of a dry-sump 250 TR engine with six Weber carburetors, which required homologation. A 'Sperimentale' was raced in the 1961 Le Mans race, and although it was fast, it failed to finish. Work continued through 1961 and into the 1962 with Gestione Sportiva's Giotto Bizzarrini in charge of the project. Although not in its finished form, the '250 SWB Comp/62' was shown in February of 1962 to the press. During his speed tests the design proved unstable, so a small lip, known as a 'Kamm' tail, was added to the back. The first 18 cars received a bolt-on 'Kamm tail' lip while the remaining examples had it designed directly into the body.
The design was a drastic change from the previous year's model and many speculated that it would fail to be homologated. Ferrari, however, had received approval for each of the changes separately, and the car cleared homologation. The official paperwork labeled it the 250 GT Comp/62, however, it has become known as the 250 GTO, with the 'O' short for 'Omologato.'
Development was slowed by the infamous walk-out in 1961 by many Ferrari employees including Bizzarrini. Work continued under the leadership of Mauro Forghieri but it was not ready in time for the season opener at the 3 Hours of Daytona, leaving the racing duties to the 250 GT SWB of the N.A.R.T. racing team. The next round of the championship was at Sebring, where the GTO driven by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien won the GT class. It would win the remainder of the world championship GT class races, including a 1st through 3rd place finish in the GT class at Le Mans.
For the 1963 season, the 250 GTO faced increased competition from the Shelby Cobras but not enough to deprive the GTO of the GT Championship for the second year in a row. For the 1964 season, Ferrari had hoped its mid-engined 250 LM would be homologated for GT racing. It was a development of the 1963 Le Mans-winning 250 P, but its radical departure from the prior 250 series resulted in its denial of homologation by the FIA. So Ferrari built three new GTOs, commonly referred to as the 'Series 2', with Pininfarina styling influenced by the 250 LM.
Between 1962 and 163, Ferrari built 32 cars with the Comp/62 design. For the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans race, Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team created a special-bodied example of the 250 GTO and is commonly known as the 250 GTO LMB. With the three 'Series 2' cars, this brought the total 250 GTO's to 36. 3 additional 'GTO' cars were built with a slightly larger chassis and a more powerful 4-liter engine. These three cars are known as the 330 GTOs. Four cars were later brought back to the factory to be fitted with the 1964 body style. Three cars were originally built with the 1964 body.
Since the creation of the 250 GTO in the early 1960s, they have gained ever-increasing interest and admiration from the car connoisseur and art investor alike. The relatively few examples that have come to market over the years have demanded astronomical figures, eclipsing previous records, with prices exceeding $40 and $50 million (USD). by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2020
Related Reading : Ferrari 250 GTO History
The Ferrari 250 GTO was produced from 1962 through 1964 with 36 examples created during that time. It is a car of beauty, performance, and mystery. Much is known about the car, but much is still in question. It is one of the most memorable and sought after vehicles with many still put through their paces in modern times in historic competition. The design was created by either Bizzarrini or Scaglietti.... Continue Reading >>
Related Reading : Ferrari 250 GT History
Production of the 250 Series began in 1954 and continued on through the early part of the 1960s. There were numerous variations of the 250 and would ultimately become Ferraris most successful line of vehicles to date. The 250 is also recognized as the first Ferrari to ever receive disc brakes. This did not take place until the end of the 1950s. Also, the 250 was the first four-seater. Ferraris.... Continue Reading >>
It isn't often a sportscar manufacturer manages to build a car capable of contesting so many genres of motor-racing. It is practically impossible for a factory to build one that is successful in all of them as well. Sure, the car would be an incredib....[continue reading]
The 1962 Ferrari GTO with chassis number 3705GT was constructed on June 14th of 1962 and is a left hand drive vehicle. It was purchased by Jean Guichet who entered the vehicle into the 1962 24 Hours of LeMans race. It was driven by Guichet and Pier....[continue reading]
Ferrari 250 GTO with chassis number 3729GT was constructed on July 28th of 1962. It is a right-hand drive vehicle and has had a very extensive racing career. Its innagural event was at the Brands Hatch, Peco Trophy driven by Roy Salvadori and weari....[continue reading]
Featured on the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance poster for 2011, this is the first Ferrari GTO ever built. Chassis 3223GT was race-ready in December 1961 and tested by Willy Mairesse at Modena. Launched without its distinctive rear wing, this car was re....[continue reading]
This Ferrari 250 GTO is the third production GTO built. It was built in late April of 1962 and was the first GTO to wear Series I coachwork details which include the small radiator intake, narrow brake ducts, sail-panel vents, and hood fasteners. It ....[continue reading]
This 250 GTO, chassis number 3387, is the second GTO produced. It is also referred to as the second production prototype. It was completed in March of 1962 and was nearly identical to chassis 3223. During early testing at Monza, the car received a sm....[continue reading]
Not all Ferrari 250 GTOs are red. The unusual colors on this car reflect its early race history in Sweden. Before going to Sweden in the summer of 1963, it raced at LeMans, in the Tour de France, and in the Paris 1000 Kilometers at Monthlhery in 1962....[continue reading]
The 250 GTO body was developed by Bizzarrini and Scaglietti and perfected in a wind tunnel and on-track tests. This GTO (chassis 3505GT) was bought by the British Racing Partnership/UDT-Laystall team of Alfred and Stirling Moss. After running at Lema....[continue reading]
This car was first sold to Ferdinando Pagliarini, but it was owned twice by Ferrari collector Pierre Bardinon. In addition to taking first in class at the Paris Grand Prix in 1965 under the ownership of the de Montaigus, this 250 GTO (chassis number ....[continue reading]
Chassis number 3647GT is a right-hand drive, aluminum-bodied 250 GTO that was delivered to Col. Ronnie Hoare on June 6th of 1962. It was driven initially by John Surtees for Maranello Concessionaires / Bowmaker Racing. In 1962, the car sold to Prince....[continue reading]
Sold to Edgar Berney, this Ferrari 250 GTO (chassis number 3909GT) raced initially in France, taking first in class at the Coupe du Salon at Montlhery. Jo Siffert then drove it to a third place finish in the 500km Spa race. This GTO subsequently ran ....[continue reading]
There were 39 250 GTO's produced between 1962 and 1964, are considered to be on of Enzo Ferrari's greatest masterpieces. Bizzarrini had a major role in the development work. He spent many hours at wind tunnels perfecting the body of the GTO. The resu....[continue reading]
This colorful, green and yellow Ferrari 250 GT0, is a re-bodied copy of an original GTO. It was a GTE and has chassis number 3731 GTE. It has been prepared for vintage racing and has a racing harness and restraints, along with a replica GTO 5-speed....[continue reading]
The ultimate expression of Ferrari's immortal 250 GT series, the GTO means Grand Turismo Omologata, or homologated . . . approved for competition. This GTO made its competition debut in the Paris 1000 Km and raced to overall victory by brothers Pedro....[continue reading]
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