Autosport International Sale 2019

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1997 Ferrari F355 Challenge

Lot No.: 352

Registration: N/A
Chassis Number: ZFFXR418000107845
Engine Number: 45115
Number of cylinders: 8
CC: 3500cc
Year of Manufacture: 1997
RHD/LHD: Left Hand Drive
Sold for (£): 88,875

 

  • Delivered new to Venezuela in 1997 for use in the Ferrari Challenge Series
  • Officially certified as one of the 108 cars produced by the factory for track use
  • Sourced by our vendor from the United States in 2008 for use in the Ferrari Owners Club GB Series
  • Extensive works included a BTB race exhaust system, carbon fibre panels and interior, and a full engine rebuild
  • The car has won six races, several podiums, set fastest lap records for its class and won the series in 2018
  • Presented to auction freshly painted. Original steel panels and dashboard. Three sets of wheels.

 

In 1995, Ferrari introduced a race-ready F355 Challenge model designed for use specifically in the Ferrari Challenge Series. The bespoke model was created by starting with a standard Ferrari F355 Berlinetta and modifying it with a $30,000 factory-to-dealer supplied kit. Initially in 1995, the cars were supplied with factory fitted cage mounts and without carpets, however, each year, the cars arrived with more and more factory fitted race parts, culminating in 1998 with full-evolution cars which were supplied as virtually complete race cars.

The factory modifications were more substantial than the 348 Challenge and the engine, gearbox and shock-absorbers were sealed with special tags to prevent unauthorised alterations. The factory fitted modifications included a roll-cage, racing bucket seats, manual radiator fan control and upgraded fans, competition steering wheel, competition clutch, upgraded 14" Brembo brakes (carried over from the F40), solid suspension bushes, competition springs, and brake cooling ducts amongst a number of other detail changes from the base car.

The F355 'Challenge' shares the same engine and physical dimensions as the original car and 108 cars in total were produced, all with the 6-speed manual transmission. According to the accompanying Ferrari Certificate of Origin, the car was first delivered on the 29th January 1997 destined for Venezuela with engine number 45115. The delightfully named National Commission of Speed of Venezuela issued a certificate in 2000 that stated the car was raced thirty times in the Ferrari Challenge Cup during the 1997, 1998 and 1999 seasons, gaining second place twice, piloted by Juan Iliopoulos.

Mr Iliopoulos emigrated to the United States in 2000 taking the car with him and placing it into storage. Our vendor, whilst on holiday in the United States, came upon the car in 2009 and bought it directly from Mr Iliopoulos as a non-running car. Importing it into the UK, our vendor commissioned award-winning Ferrari racing car specialists, RNR Performance Cars of Kent, to carry out a program of extensive recommissioning works. We can supply a full list of works, but in brief, the car benefitted from a BTB race exhaust system, a safety fuel cell, and carbon fibre doors, bonnet, boot lid, panels, and dashboard. A full engine rebuild took place less than 25 hours ago at a cost of some £30,000. Once race ready, our vendor entered the Ferrari Owners Club series winning six times, enjoyed a number of podium appearances, set numerous Class lap records, and topped it off by winning the series in 2018.

The car was freshly painted in August 2018 and is supplied with three sets of sets of wheels and tyres, the original steel panels and dashboard, a history file detailing previous ownership, the aforementioned certificates, and a substantial number of invoices for race preparation, maintenance and attention. To conclude, this F355 Challenge is not merely a weekend track-day toy but a proven race-series winner in the hands of just two gentlemen racers, and one of just 108 Maranello-produced examples.