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  Ferrari F430 GTC

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:2006 - 2010
Designed by:Pininfarina
Successor:Ferrari 458 Italia GT2
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 14, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAfter launching an all new 2+2 V12 Coupe in January of 2004, Ferrari launched a new V8 Coupe just eight months later. Both Ferrari's sales and sporting success was at an all time high in 2004, with all models selling well and total dominance in Formula 1. To continue this success, Ferrari extensively revised and upgraded their most popular model, the V8, which in 2004 was represented by the 360 Modena. Dubbed the F430, Ferrari's latest V8 was one of the stars of the 2004 Paris Motorshow.

Ferrari continued its tradition of alternating revisions to either the chassis or engine of their historic V8 models; this time being the engine. Originally introduced in the Maserati Coupe GT, the F430's V8 features a more traditional four valve head, compared to the five valves used on the 360 Modena and F355 models. Thanks to a considerable increase in displacement, the power went up 83 bhp to 483 bhp.

A further refined version of the paddle operated gearbox is fitted, which features the 'E-Diff' system, the F1 derived electronic differential. Another F1 derived development is a switch on the steering wheel, controlling the vehicle dynamics. The Scuderia's drivers refer to this switch as the 'Manettino'. The aluminium chassis and suspension are carried over from the Modena.

Although the overall shape is similar to that of the 360, the F430's styling is a lot more aggressive than that of its predecessor. The twin air intake setup is retained, but the wider intakes hint back to the legendary sharknose F1 racer of the 1960s. The headlights are smaller thanks to the use of Bi-Xenon lights. The rear styling is inspired by the Enzo supercar, especially the protruding tail lights are easily recognizable.

The driver's side wing mirror has F430 embossed in it, reminiscent of the F40 supercar, which had similar scripture in one flank of the wing. The badging continues in the interior where F430 is scripted above the air vents on the dashboard.

Ferrari rounded the F430 range off in 2006 with the (quiet) introduction of the GTC competition car. Replacing the 360 GTC, the Michelotto built car is intended for international racing in the GT2 class. The displacement of the V8 was decreased to just under 4 litre to get optimal performance in conjunction with the mandatory restrictors. Externally the F430 GTC can be immediately identified by its carbon fibre gills in the front bumper and rear wing.

After thousands of testing kilometers, the racer made its debut in the 2006 Sebring 12 Hours. It proved to be quick straight out of the box and could have easily won its class if it wasn't for the wheel nuts acting up. In Europe several cars were entered in the Le Mans Series and FIA GT Championship, scoring victories in both opening rounds; quite a remarkable feat as in one occasions the car was not delivered to the winning team until a few days before the race.

Next up on the calendar was the 24 Hours of Le Mans race where one of the two entered F430 GTCs was forced to withdraw before the test days after a heavy crash at Spa a few weeks earlier virtually destroyed the car. Ferrari's sole representitive was the Scuderia Ecosse team, who again showcased the speed of the V8 engined car by qualifying second. In the race a number of minor problems through the car down the order early on, but at the end the Scots' effort was rewarded with a podium finish. Crossing the line was an achievement on its own as the 360 GTC never managed to complete a 24 hour race.

After the strong showing at Le Mans the F430 GTC really came to its own, setting the pace on both sides of the ocean. Especially the domination of the FIA GT championship was very 911-like. In the ALMS the Risi Competizione entered examples were also the dominant force and won various races and the championship at the end of the year. In the Le Mans Series accidents and small problems paved the way for the opposition to claim the champsionship. The most telling example of the self-destruction was the collision in the opening hour of the Donnington 1000 km of the two leading F430s.

Pictured in the first 12 shots is the Team Icer Brakes car at the traditional season opening Paul Ricard test session. It is a regular competitor in the Le Mans Series and was destined to compete at Le Mans, but the car's nose was chopped off beyond repair at the Spa 1000 km. Shown in the next twelve shots is the Scuderia Ecosse example, which arguably was the best livered and/or looking GT car in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It is seen here on its way to a third place finish in the legendary endurance race. The three F430s entered in the 2006 Le Mans Series are pictured in the remaining shots.

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  Article Image gallery (326) Specifications User Comments (1)