This formerly-scarlet legend is expected to fetch upwards of $8.5 million. But that’s not what our man is focused on…
- Check out the original post on driving.ca HERE
It’s pure, weapon’s grade mental to think that the most extreme version of the Ferrari F40 ever conceived – the 700+ hp ‘LM’ – never finished higher than 12th overall at an event for which it was built, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
12th. Sodding 12th!
Seriously, how can that be? Originally used as a pre-production prototype, this particular model – chassis no74045 – would later be converted to ‘LM’ spec in 1992 by Italian specialist tuners, Michelotto (not the first time we’ve come across these guys…). That included souping the F40’s 2.9-litre V8 up from 478-hp to “Holy Mother of God”, courtesy of a new fuel injection setup, bigger intercoolers and twin-turbochargers now producing 2.6 bar. So, the fastest production car of 1987 and the first supercar ever to top 200mph (320kph) was now even more powerful, and the mad Italian bastard still had power left in reserve.
Underneath that beautiful ‘Pilot’ blue livery, the chassis has been reinforced, the suspension and brakes overhauled, that beautiful rear wing received an upgrade, the interior was gutted, and the five-speed manual was swapped out for a racing version. Okay, a tough competitive debut in IMSA, even with future Formula 1 hoshot Jean Alesi at the wheel, yielded no victories at all in 1989 or 1990. But surely this rejuvenated stallion – brought back once again by Michelotto for 1994 – had the pace to at least finish on the podium at Le Mans? Despite its obsolete design after all, the F40 LM won at least one race every year during its ’94 to ’96 BPR Global GT Series run, and even posted seven of the year’s 11 fastest laps during its competitive swansong. Speed was clearly not an issue.
“The fastest production car of 1987 and the first supercar ever to top 200mph (320kph) was now even more powerful, and the mad Italian bastard still had power left in reserve.”
Things could well have been different, had 1995 not been the year that another sporting icon – McLaren – made its Le Mans debut. Despite the Ferrari qualifying 7th overall (2nd in the GT1 class), at least two spots ahead of the entire F1 GTR line-up, adverse weather conditions played into McLaren’s hands. That, plus recurring technical problems, meant the F40 LM eventually sliped to 6th in-class at the flag, 28 laps behind McLaren’s winning newboy.
The #40 Pilot Aldix Racing F40 LM would go on to win the following round of the ’95 BPR season – the 4 Hours of Anderstorp – before its retirement at the end of that season. And if you’re an astute fan of motoring history and a Ferrari nut in particular, chassis no74045 will be going up for auction in Paris next year for an estimated €5.5 million ($8.5 million CAD).
But…I mean…12th. Life really does not make sense sometimes.