A Ferrari 250 GTO? I May have Seen One or Two
The Greatest Gathering of Ferraris on Earth Has to Be Seen to Be Believed
Only 500 Ferrari LaFerraris were built; a mere 33 250 GTOs are left in existence; just one original 330 P4 is left in the world. Last weekend, I stood in front of that 330 P4 and could have spit in any direction and hit more LaFerraris and 250 GTOs than I have fingers to count them with. I was at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali, Ferrari’s end-of-year celebration and Challenge series championship, the first time it’s ever been held in North America.
The Ferrari Challenge, Ferrari’s one-make racing series (everyone races identical 458s) has separate championships in Europe, Asia and North America; the winners all meet up at the World Final to duke it out for ultimate gentleman-driver glory. The series’ races act as a tentpole event for the gathering, but it’s far from the main attraction.
Every single era of Ferrari road cars was represented — not just in the “Classic Corale” (the official Ferrari outdoor showroom), but in general parking inside Daytona’s stadium-styled track, as well. Most of the cars present were also registered for the Saturday night parade. Owners drove from all over the country or had their cars shipped in so they could participate in what would be a Guinness World Record attempt at the largest-ever parade of Ferraris. The number to beat was 964, set at Silverstone in 2012, but they fell short in Daytona by 155 Ferraris. Still, not exactly your local Cruise Night.
To make the record count, all the participating cars had to crawl around the banked circuit for four miles. Why did they fall short? Well, rare and expensive Italian sports cars weren’t built to sit in Floridian humidity in stop-and-go traffic. But, on the bright side, local Ferrari mechanics probably got to brush up on their clutch and radiator know-how.
The single greatest aspect of the whole weekend, though, had to be the soundtrack. The constant scream of V12s and V8s — vintage and new, some carbureted, some turbo’d, some hybrid assisted — echoed throughout Daytona’s amphitheater speedway, rarely giving way to moments of silence. Exhaust tips shouted out mid-century mechanical operas interspersed with modern concerts. At any other run-of-the-mill car gathering, around one in ten cars is special enough to grab your attention. At the World Final, every car grabs your gaze at breakneck speeds — every startup, idle and rev calls for a pause and a moment of quiet reflection.
And of course Ferrari’s XX owners program and Corse Clienti were on hand as well. They happen to be richest of Ferrari customers, selected to own track-only versions of the Enzo, 599 and LaFerrari. If not customers of XX cars, these guests bring their old Ferrari Formula 1 cars to drive around the track at racing speeds under the tutelage of former Ferrari F1 mechanics and engineers.
It may sound like one of the most exclusive events in the world put on by one of the most exclusive brands in the world, but anyone can buy a ticket to Ferrari Finali Mondiali and join the legions of tifosi decked out from head to toe in prancing-horse-branded gear. Owning a Ferrari may only be for the upper echelon of the wealthy, but savoring and appreciating the delights of an Italian V12 should be universal.
The Most Accessible Ferrari
In the excess of the ’80s, car companies slapped turbos on their cars purely for a power bump. With a gas crisis and financial recession firmly in the past, icons of the era like the Ferrari F40 and its turbo V8 were made to be loud and fast, making efficiency not even an afterthought. Now, 30 years later, the industry is in another state of flux as it ushers in the turbo’s second coming. Read the Story