Red Heads are Sexy

22 Sep

Any car guy who lives and breathes loves a Ferrari. But what do you do when a rare, specialized sports car isn’t enough? Modding Ferrari’s isn’t exactly easy business. While there are a handful of “tuners” out there for these fine machines, how many of them have real racing credentials to back up the changes they propose? By now we’ve all seen the Garage Saurus twin turbo 550 Maranello on the internet, in various blogs and forums. This was a customer car built for a well-to-do client from the far east. A very impressive machine. But to say that it is JDM is a bit of a stretch IMHO, as it clearly draws inspiration from real racing use. Here we’ll look at a version of the 550 that I am sure was squarely in Garage Saurus’s sites when they were doing their Ferrari build. Has a very similar “feel” to the exterior.

The 550LM was originally conceived by Care Racing and ES Motorsport to commemorate their GTS class victory in 2003. The car was developed in conjunction with Prodrive (yep, that Prodrive) who I guess had done all they could do with the Subaru’s and were looking for a new challenge (and a new client).

The road car was developed based directly on the R&D done on the racing version. This is something you often see as part of marketing hype, but in this case, the hyper was well deserved. Upgrades included a 52hp bump courtesty of ecu and exhaust mods, full carbon fiber body, revised suspension, OZ wheels, LM derived aero kit, carbon/leather adjustable seats, and various other bits. This was designed to bring true LeMans feel to the road going 550. 0-60 clocked in at 3.9 seconds, and the car weighed a mere 3086 – not too shabby for a V12 powered GT machine (my Z is jealous and needs Trim Spa). In full race trim, the car checked in at just 2400 lbs- simple amazing!

Here are some shots of the race spec version that I’ve found. This car has been campainged since 2002 in various configuration. It even has competed in the US in the ALMS series a few times. Among the drivers – Danica Patrick. At LeMans the car was driven by such legendary drivers as the late, great Colin McCrae. Pretty elite pedigree.

Colin McRae at Lemans:

I think you’ll agree, there is just something about a redhead. Ferrari thought so highly of this effort that they eventually developed their own version – the 575GTC. I’ll do a separate post on that machine, since I have a ton of pics and video saved.

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