1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Pilots: G. L. van Ophen, J. "Beurlys" Blaton Team: Equipe Nationale Belge Race: 2nd GC (1st in GT 3.0 class) at Le Mans in 1963 Bang - 7146 (diecast)
With the project starting in 1961, the 250 GTO was Ferrari’s weapon for Grand Touring car racing (Group 3). Initially the project was the responsibility of Giotto Bizzarrini, but in 1962 Il Comendattore fired his whole engineering department. With that, Mauro Forghieri took the helm, but had help from Scaglietti. Bizzarrini designed the body as aerodynamic as possible, and Forghieri gave the finishing touches, while the aluminum bodies were made by Carrozzeria Scaglietti. For a chassis it used basically the same one of the 250 SWB, but lightened, lowered and stiffer. The curvaceous body went around a hand-welded oval tube frame, with an A-arm front suspension and rear live-axle. For the powerhouse Ferrari used the same unit used in the Le Mans winning 250 Testa Rossa. Called Tipo 168/62 Competizione, it was a 2953 cm³ alloy V12. With six 38DCN Weber carburetors, it produced approximately 296 hp.
Called the 250 Gran Turismo Omologato (“Grand Touring Homologated”), Ferrari had to build 100 of them for homologation. However, from 1962 to 1964 Ferrari only produced 39 cars. To get the car homologated Ferrari numbered the chassis out of sequence. And, to further the deception, moved the cars around to different places. Therefore, when FIA came to confirm the 100 cars they had the impression that they were looking at different cars. Well, Ferrari being Ferrari…
This is the GTO #24, chassis #4293GT. Out of the assembly line at Maranello in 1963, it only raced at La Sarthe that year. The Equipe Nationale Belge had only one car in the race, and their GTO started out at the back, in 16th. But the team had an uneventful race and climbed up to second position, and finished there. And, as a bonus, won the GT 3.0 class. In the end, the 1963 Le Mans race became a Ferrari affair, with Maranello’s cars occupying the first six positions.
Along with the 250 SWB, the 250 GTO is my favorite Ferrari. I wanted one for a long time, but until now I hadn’t found a good one. So I was delighted to get this GTO #24 from Bang. My first model from the brand, and I don’t think I could have done better. VERY nicely done, with terrific wire wheels and great details overall. However, being an old model, some of the decals are cracking, so pretty soon I’ll have to correct that. Nonetheless, a gem of a model.