In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the Ferrari F40 adorned the walls of countless teenagers (likely alongside a poster of a scantily-clad celebrity), and three decades on continues to be the lottery-win car for an untold number of enthusiasts.
It’s easy to see why; the pairing of quintessential 1980s supercar design, a high-revving twin-turbocharged V8 and a very raw, engaging driving experience made it a winning choice in any game of Top Trumps.
Notable for being the last car signed off by Enzo Ferrari himself, the F40 commemorated 40 years since Ferrari’s establishment. Compared to other special editions with limited production runs, demand was so high for the F40 that a total of 1,315 cars rolled off the production line. With just 11 months to get the car production-ready, much of the work was outsourced, including the bodywork which was carried out by Michelotto Automobili.
You’ll have realised by now that the car in these photos is no ‘regular’ F40. Matt Counsell from Porsche specialist Fearnsport looks after the car for its owner, who a few years ago went looking for the ultimate track toy. The requirements? Something visceral and raw that would provide a hugely entertaining and engaging driving experience.
The car in question came up for sale at an American dealer and after purchase was delivered straight to Fearnsport’s workshop at Silverstone Circuit for assessment. Unfortunately, one turn of the key was enough for Matt to know that it needed some work. What followed was a two-year full nut and bolt rebuild, completed in its entirety by Matt himself (while recovering from a heart attack no less!)
Did you know that no F40 left the factory as a race car? They all returned to Michelotto as production road cars where the upgrades to LM and later GTE specification took place.
While there are very few original F40 GTEs, this car has the wider bodywork fitted as a homage to those cars. The GTE was an evolution of the F40 LM, which itself had a host of upgrades over a standard F40. The combination of a wider track, fixed headlight buckets and a revised aerodynamic package with carbon lower splitter, bonnet vent and rear wing gives the car a menacing disposition when parked up. It’s only when you closely examine photos of a standard F40 that you see just how much more extreme this car is.
Grip is provided by 295/30 Toyo Proxes R888R tyres mounted on 18×11.5-inch O.Z. Racing centre-lock wheels up front, paired with 335-section rears on the same wheels but 13-inches wide. Behind these sit huge Alcon callipers and 2-piece rotors.
The 2.9L twin-turbocharged V8 engine now benefits from some contemporary upgrades, including ball-bearing cartridges in the stock turbos to improve spool, and modern air-to-air intercoolers with a custom water spray system that increases their cooling efficiency. A custom exhaust system that meets UK’s circuit noise regulations was also added, as was MoTeC engine management. All of this amounts to around 590 horsepower on low boost and regular octane fuel, but it’s delivered in a very linear manner. Should the desire for more power arise, Matt says that more boost and race fuel would net over 700 horsepower easily.
This could, however, impact the objective set out by the owner: to have a car that can run reliably all day at a track event, with the only limiting factor being the size of the fuel tank. Matt commented that due to the nature of the power delivery, the car is actually incredibly easy to drive right up to the limit, despite still having non-assisted steering and brakes.
A cross brace to increase torsional rigidity has been added to the engine bay, which also provides a mounting point for the fuel pressure regulator. An electric water pump has also been fitted, meaning only the alternator is belt driven and allows for a cambelt change to be performed in under two hours – something unheard of in a Ferrari!
The carbon door swings open with minimal effort, with only a door pull release present. Polycarbonate side windows support the relocated wing mirrors and are fixed in place, with a small slider for fresh air.
Looking inside, the theme of pure function continues, a digital rear-view mirror the only concession to outright performance.
Granted, a car of this nature is very far detached from what 99.9% of us could ever hope to own, but if you had the money, wouldn’t you be doing the exact same thing? Values and preservation of original condition cars are one thing, but owning the ultimate iteration of your dream car – that’s a far more impressive accolade.
The fact that someone has a Ferrari F40 as a track car makes me rather happy, because I’d much rather see this turning laps than parked up at a concours event any day.