At the Ferrari World Finals at Misano last weekend, a 550 Maranello Prodrive appeared at an official Ferrari event for the very first time. On a research mission for the book on the Prodrives, we joined the milestone occasion for these ultra-special Ferrari racing cars…
As part of our research for the definitive book about the Ferrari 550 Maranello Prodrive we're producing in conjunction with DK Engineering and on behalf of the car’s brainchild Frédéric Dor (click here for more details), we sent a member of our Italian team to the Ferrari Finali Mondiali 2020, where one of these cars was taking part.
The car in question is chassis 117110/CRD08, which made its debut under the Prodrive banner at Le Mans in 2004, where it qualified on pole position in the GTS class and finished the race a commendable fourth. Perhaps more significantly, this is the 550 in which Larbre Compétition’s Gabriel Gardel clinched the 2005 FIA GT Drivers’ Championship.
“Chassis 08 made its debut under the Prodrive banner at Le Mans in 2004, where it qualified on pole position in the GTS class and finished the race a commendable fourth.”
Chassis 08 was retired from competition at the end of 2008, after which it returned to the 550 Maranello Prodrive project’s godfather Frédéric Dor, who retained ownership of almost all of the cars produced during their active racing years. Fast-forward to 2020, and chassis 08 was sold to the Roschmann Collection in Germany.
It was fantastic to see the father-son duo of Dieter and Dominik Roschmann exhibit the car at several events during the achingly short time in which the world unlocked last year, including the Challenge & GT Days at the Red Bull Ring and Peter Auto’s rounds at Paul Ricard and Monza.Last weekend’s Ferrari Finali Mondiali at the Misano World Circuit in Rimini was Dominik’s first chance to get behind the wheel of the 550 Maranello Prodrive since September. “The car felt amazing,” recalled Dominik, “though the driver needed improving!
“Misano is a much tricker circuit in reality than it looks on paper and I needed a few laps to feel comfortable. It’s definitely a more difficult and involving car to drive than an F430 GTC or a 458 GTE, but you just need to spend enough time to get the feeling. It helped that there were only six or seven cars in our demo, so we had the track mostly to ourselves.”That the 550 Maranello Prodrive was present at the Finali Mondiali in the first place is a very significant moment in the history of these special cars – it’s the first time one has been invited to an official Ferrari event.
“That the 550 Maranello Prodrive was present at the Finali Mondiali in the first place is a very significant moment in the history of these special cars.”
As you know, we have championed the 550 Maranello Prodrives, showing our ex-Colin McRae car at many events over the years. And we’ve been really pleased and excited to see an increasing number of other owners joining us and the interest surrounding the cars increase.“Ferrari agreed to let us bring the car to Misano,” comments Dominik. “Of course, this was helped a lot by the high-profile RM Sotheby's sale (click here) last year and the fact the 550 Maranello Prodrives are now accepted and eligible for Ferrari Classiche certification.”
Chassis 08 formed part of the Club Competizione GT demonstration at Misano, and shared the asphalt with a Ferrari 348 GT Michelotto, a Ferrari F430 GTC and a 458 GTE, among others.Club Competizione GT was conceived in 2019 with the intention of allowing owners of modern-era Ferrari GT racers to be involved in Ferrari’s series of official events around the world. The formation of the club is one of myriad reasons that interest in these cars (and modern-era endurance racing cars in general) has skyrocketed in recent years.
“It was a real shame that there were no spectators, but there was so much interest in our car from the Ferrari mechanics and staff. Even all the current Works GT drivers were asking questions and showing an interest – I had the feeling that people had seen a lot of F430s, 458s and 488s and found it refreshing to see something different on the track.”There was also no question about whether it was the best sounding car of the weekend… “The turbocharged 488 Challenge and GTE cars are just so quiet!” said Dominik. “There was no comparison to our 12-cylinder symphony.”
The Roschmanns have plans to show chassis 08 at many more events this year, depending on the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions, of course. “If it takes place, Le Mans Classic will be amazing – to return this car to La Sarthe 17 years after it made its debut there will be incredibly special.”We couldn’t agree more. Crossing all our fingers, we’re planning on taking our ex-McRae 550 Maranello Prodrive to Le Mans Classic as well. Roll on the summer!Photos: Andrea Luzardi for Girardo & Co. Did you know that we’re producing the definitive book on the Ferrari 550 Maranello Prodrive in conjunction with DK Engineering and on behalf of the car’s brainchild Frédéric Dor? You can find out more about the project, which is in the final stages of development before publication, by clicking here.