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330 GTO
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  Ferrari 330 GTO
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1962 - 1963
Numbers built:3
Designed by:Pininfarina
Successor:Ferrari 330 LMB
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 14, 2011
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDrastic rule changes usually don't favour the dominant force, but Ferrari did not really suffer when the sport's governing body decided to run the 1962 World Championship for homologated Grand Turismo cars instead of the purpose built sports racers previously used. Ferrari's answer to the new rules, the 250 GTO, clinched the next three championships and is today considered one of the finest machines ever constructed. The Automobile Club de l'Ouest was not quite as ready to accept the regulations and added a special class to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for prototype racers with a displacement limit of four litres. Of course the 250 GTO was eligible for the 24 Hours, but for the overall win Ferrari needed something slightly more powerful.

Ferrari had fortunately just launched a production car with a four litre engine, the 400 SuperAmerica, so that would form the basis for the new racing car. It shared its Colombo design origins with the 250 GTO engine and received a similar treatment of dry sump lubrication and modified heads to accept six Weber Carburetors. These changes boosted the power from 340 bhp of the street spec to around 390 or 400 bhp for the competition version. The potent V12 was installed in two different chassis; the first followed the design of the latest 250 TRs and the other used a lengthened 250 GTO chassis. Just one was produced of the former, which was known as the 330 TRI/LM and three of the other, aptly named 330 GTO.

To accommodate the larger engine, the chassis was slightly lengthened compared to the three litre 250 GTO. The three 330 GTOs were fitted with a coupe body very similar in design to its smaller cousin, although all three had slightly different cues. The longer stroke of the engine made it a little taller, which necessitated a slightly larger bulge on the engine cover. Of the three cars constructed only two received any track action, but only outing each. The first took a second overall and first in class in the Nürburgring 1000 km, while the other retired at Le Mans with overheating problems. The Fantuzzi bodied 330 TRI/LM fared a lot better and in the hands of Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien scored the Italian's third consecutive win in the 24 Hours.

This was not the end of the line just yet for the four litre V12 as for 1963 another four GT chassis were equipped with the 400 bhp unit. There was a further wheelbase increase to 2500 mm and a much modified Pininfarina designed body was fitted by Scaglietti. The very attractive design combined the 250 GTO nose with a rear end similar to the 250 GT Lusso street car. To clear the fatter rear tires, square sections were cut from the fenders and covered by slightly larger panels; similar to those fitted to the Pinin Farina bodied 250 MMs a decade earlier. The shape was very efficient and during the test days for the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, a '330 LMB' was the first car to break the 300 km/h barrier on the high speed track. The design was subsequently also fitted to one 250 GTO chassis.

With the Works team concentrating on the new mid-engined prototypes, three 330 LMBs were allocated to privateers and raced sparsely. The fourth example was only used during the Le Mans tests. All three 'racing' cars were entered in 1963 24 Hours race, but only one managed to reach the finish in fifth overall and first in class. The same car also recorded a class win two months later in the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch. This was the end of the brief career of the four-litre GTs, which were outclassed in almost every aspect by their much nimbler 3 litre cousins. Although perhaps not as well known as their smaller engined siblings, the seven cars are highly valued on today's market place and often successful in historic racing.

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  Article Image gallery (36) Chassis (2) Specifications User Comments (1)