2001 Ferrari 550 Maranello
"Tribute Race Car"
Configuration: Longitudinal front-engine
Displacement: 335.6 cu. in./ 5.5L
Horsepower: 478 hp at 7,000 RPM
Torque: 420 lb. ft. at 5,000 RPM
Max RPM: 7,700 RPM
Transmission: 6-speed manual
A Little History
The production 550 Maranello was produced from 1996 to 2002, with a total of 3,083 units sold. This model marked Ferrari’s first return to the front-mounted engine since the discontinuation of the 365 GTB/4 Daytona in 1973. After spending 30 months in development, it was publicly debuted at the Nürburgring racing circuit in Germany in July 1996.
The Design: The car currently on display is owned by John Tirrell. He took delivery of it at his Ferrari service business, Independent Ferrari Services (IFS) in South Easton, MA, from Ferrari of Newport Beach in the fall of 2014 as a partially completed GT race car. Jim Busby Racing had begun the transition from a production 550 Maranello into a GT racecar, and IFS picked up right where Busby Racing had left off. IFS started by improving the braking system and suspension, and then began work on increasing aerodynamics.
The carbon fiber splitter on the front of the car actually extends back to the front suspension, to increase the fluidity of airflow over the undercarriage. That air is then forced through a massive rear diffuser to increase stability at high speeds. The interior has been almost entirely stripped away and is all business. The floor, center console, door panels, and roll cage are all constructed of welded aluminum. In place of a factory center console with HVAC controls, IFS used switches for starting and operating various running functions of the vehicle to shed the unnecessary weight of heating and air conditioning. The Motec data logging and Emtron standalone engine management systems are used to finely tune and monitor all of the vehicle’s engine parameters. The gauge cluster was also sacrificed in place of a single, digital screen. The lone bucket seat is an aftermarket installation made of carbon. In fact, the only markings identifying this car as a Ferrari at all are the Prancing Horse insignias on the steering wheel and shifter.
On the Track: This particular chassis is still being built and has yet to be tracked, though the IFS team, in collaboration with Brembo Racing, ANZE Suspension, and Nordan Composites, is working to get it ready to race this spring. The original Prodrive 550 GTS, after which this car is modeled, won two races in the 2001 FIA GT Championship, won one race at the American Le Mans Series in 2002, and won the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2nd place finish in the GTS class championship in the American Le Mans Series in 2003.
Did you know?
The yellow rings on both the front and back bumpers are tow hooks, as large carbon fiber pieces cover the suspension onto which a tow hook would normally be placed.
The red tab on the center console is attached to the fire extinguisher on the floor. In the event of an emergency, the extinguisher coats the entire interior with foam, which leads to hours of cleanup to save the wiring.
“550 Maranello” references both the engine displacement, 5.5 L, and Maranello, Italy, the location of the Ferrari headquarters and factory.