The Ferrari 288 GTO was first introduced at the Geneva Salon in March 1984. Built for homologation purposes to compete in the FIA’s Group B for race and rally, it was the first Ferrari to carry the ‘GTO’ name since the iconic 250 GTO. Only 200 examples were required for homologation but there was such an interest in this new model that Ferrari built 72 more examples than required.
While the 288 GTO (O for Omologato) was in itself a very impressive machine, Ferrari realised that they needed something even more special to be able to compete with the likes of Porsche, Jaguar and Lancia on the racing circuit. The result was the 288 GTO Evoluzione.
The Evoluzione featured modified bodywork that was made from fibreglass and Kevlar, while its aggressive carbon fibre rear wing gives an indication of the speeds the model is capable of. A cheese-grater front grille, that is typical of Ferrari tradition, was used along with wing mirrors that have hidden air scoops. The weight was trimmed down to just 940 kg, some 220 kg lighter than the standard 288 GTO. The lightweight carbon fibre tub and aluminium floors saw to this weight saving while the stiffness was increased three- fold due to the combination of thinner tubes and carbon fibre.
Its engine is a tuned version of the 2,855 cc, DOHC V8 unit that was fitted to the 288 GTO, but with a higher compression ratio, greater valve lift and greater valve timing overlap. During production 2 engine specs were developed, a more powerful version for circuit competition and another with rallying in mind and that had a lower power output.
The more powerful engine featured twin IHI (Ishikawajima Harima Industries) turbochargers, a free- breathing Weber injection system with eight throttles and longer inlet manifolds, the result increased the power from the standard GTO’s output from 400 bhp to 650 bhp, enabling an astonishing top speed of 229.9 mph!
Before Ferrari had the opportunity to show the Evoluzione off on the track, fate intervened and Group B was cancelled by the FISA. Throughout the Group B period there had been a number of serious and sometimes fatal accidents but the final blow came in May 1986 during the Tour de Corse when rally driver Henri Toivonen crashed in his Lancia S4, killing both himself and his co-driver Sergio Cresta. The Group B cars were deemed too powerful and dangerous by the FISA and so the series was banned. The cancellation was effective from the 1987 season meaning the 288 GTO Evoluzione was now surplus to requirements.
By the time the cancellation was announced, the 288 GTO Evo project was already well underway and one car had been completed, chassis 79887. Development and production of the model had been entrusted to Ferrari’s legendary partner, Michelotto and they would go on to build another 4 examples after chassis 79887, making it one of the rarest Ferraris ever produced. Michelotto have gained almost mythical status in the Ferrari and motorsport world, having a Midas touch with any of the cars they put their hands to, including the F40 which they were heavily involved in the development of and the F40 LM which was produced exclusively by them.
Despite the cancellation of Group B, Ferrari decided to show off their 288 GTO Evoluzione to the motoring press and
the famous Imola test was organised. At this test, Ferrari managing director of that time, Giovanni Razelli, stated “Light bodywork materials, such as those used in the Evoluzione and GTO will find their way into our production cars soon and so, true to the Ferrari philosophy, with the GTO project we have given technical goals greater value than commercial success.” Razelli’s words were clearly evidenced when the F40 was unveiled to the world and as later discovered, the 288 GTO Evoluzione was the test bed for that icon and the subsequent ‘F’ cars that would follow.
The Evoluzione is the definitive link between the 288 GTO and F40, both mechanically and aesthetically, however, its performance figures undermine both its predecessor and its successor. It is a spectacular car that was denied its chance to remind the world just what Ferrari was capable of.
Below you will see some chassis highlights of the car we present for sale today.
- The first of only 5 examples ever produced
- 1 of only 3 Evos to be built with the model specific competition engine
- 1 of only 3 examples to reside in private hands today, the other two being part of institutional collections
- The car that was famously used at Imola for the road test report that subsequently featured in many of the world’s motoring publications
- The only 288 GTO Evoluzione to be road registered
This represents a very rare opportunity to acquire a true Ferrari unicorn, a car that deserves to be the centrepiece of any collection!
- Body Style Coupe
- Transmission Manual
- Engine Capacity 2855cc
- Fuel Petrol
- Chassis No. 79887
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