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  Article Image gallery (15) 2102 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:2003
Numbers built:3 (One never raced)
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 01, 2022
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the early 2000s, several independent companies produced GT1 versions of Ferrari's 550 Maranello. Few were successful with the Prodrive-built examples being the most notable exception. Once again constructing and more importantly selling a V12-engined GT racer proved an appealing prospect for Ferrari. In 2003, work was started on a factory-sanctioned competition car due to be based on the 550 Maranello and its slightly modified successor, the 575M Maranello.

With the in-house competition department fully focussed on the Formula 1 program, outside help was sought and found; Italian specialist N-Technology was tasked with the job of developing and constructing the cars, which would be backed and marketed by Ferrari. In order to get a toe in the water, three prototypes were constructed early in 2003. Dubbed the 550 GTC, two of these were raced at select events during the summer of 2003 before the final version earmarked for customers, known as the 575 GTC, was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The 550 GTC prototypes were built around the production spaceframe chassis. This was reinforced and a full roll-over cage was added to further improve the structural rigidity. The suspension was also strengthened and lowered to suit the particular needs of racing. The production V12 engine was modified to produce around 580 hp while breathing through the mandatory intake restrictors. A Hewland six-speed, sequential transaxle was fitted. The 550 GTC was clothed in composite bodywork that was similar to the production car's but more extreme with a chin spoiler at the front and a full width wing mounted on the rear deck.

Ferrari loaned two of the 550 GTCs to the French JMB team, who also ran another 550 Maranello, built by Italtechnica. The new Ferrari sanctioned racer debuted at the Barcelona FIA GT round in April of 2003. In qualifying, it was nearly two seconds adrift of the Italtechnica car and eventually retired with engine issues. By the next round, it was convincingly faster but again engine issues let the car down. At the Spa 24 Hours, one of the 550 GTCs lead the race early on but after six hours, the engine expired once again. Last raced at Oschersleben, late in September of 2003, the 550 GTC ultimately did not record a race result of note.

For the next FIA GT round, JMB had upgraded to a pair of brand new 575 GTCs. This incorporated all the lessons learned with the 550 GTC and scored a debut victory. Although, this was not the start of a great racing career for the model, the 550 GTC and 575 GTC did bring Ferrari back into the GT racing fold in an official capacity. The subsequent, V8-engined racers did score the successes Ferrari had gotten so famous for during the 1950s and 1960s.

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  Article Image gallery (15) 2102 Specifications