Ferrari 250 GTO

The 250 GT chassis began with a 2600 mm wheelbase, but Ferrari felt that handling and weight would benefit from a shorter chassis. In 1959 the first of these short wheelbase (SWB) cars was unveiled. As an interim series, the last seven LWB chassis were bodied with the upcoming SWB design. These LWB bodies included rear quarter windows, which were no longer necessary once the shorter chassis was complete. Both the engine and chassis were a development of the successful 250 GT, although the drum brakes were replaced by new discs to improve braking capabilities. Unlike the LWB 250 GT, the SWB was available as an aluminum bodied competition car or as a steel bodied ‘Lusso’ road car. The road car was built to comply with the latest FIA regulations which required a minimum number of cars be produced to secure homologation. Between 1960 and 1961 the 250 GT SWB was Ferrari’s racing weapon of choice. Its dominance was complete, with consistent victories in the Tour de France and GT class victories in many endurance races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Within the homologated specification, Ferrari continued development of the racer resulting in the ‘Comp/61’ version for the 1961 season. Compared to the previous series, it featured a more powerful engine, lighter and stronger chassis, and a slightly revised body.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Comp/62 Although the 250 GT’s performance was impressive, a number of problems urged the factory competition department, the Gestione Sportiva, to develop a new version for 1962. Motivation also resulted from the FIA decision to run the 1962 World Championship for GT cars, rather than sportscars. That change added to the overall importance of the 250 GT program. The only noticeable flaw with the 1960/61 SWB was the poor aerodynamics at high speeds, which were often described as ‘brick-like’. Development of the Comp/62 started quite early in 1961. The first sign of things to come was a 250 GT SWB fitted with a Pininfarina designed SuperAmerica body and a dry-sump 250 TR engine. Not yet homologated, this ‘Sperimentale’ made its debut in the 1961 Le Mans race, where it proved quite quick, but failed to finish. Throughout the year various minor modifications were approved and added to the homologation of the 250 GT. These included the adoption of the TR engine, which was similar to the Comp/61, but used dry sump lubrication and six Weber carburetors instead of three.