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The Ferrari 550 Maranello and 550 Barchetta Pininfarina (Type F133) are 2-seat grand tourers built by Ferrari. Introduced in 1996, the 550 was an upmarket front-engined V12 coupe of the kind not seen since the Daytona. It shared its platform and 5.5 L (5474 cc) engine with the 2+2 456 (Engine Code: F133) but was positioned as the company's highest-end model. The car used a transaxle layout, with the 6-speed manual gearbox located at the back, in-line with the driven wheels. The model number refers to total engine displacement (5.5 litres) and the model name of Maranello refers to the town where the Ferrari headquarters are located.
The demise that same year of the F512 M left the company with only the exotic F50 and V8 F355 as mid-engined models. Although the 550 was a softer GT model, it did take the place of the F512 M as the company's upmarket coupe, discounting the F50.
The 550 featured a luxurious and roomy interior. The (rear) trunk was tall and wide, though not very deep, and could accept a full set of golf clubs or standard overnight bags. 3,083 units were produced.
The 550 line was replaced by the Modificata 575 M Maranello in 2002.
The engine is a naturally aspirated V12 with 4 valves per cylinder, dual overhead cams and variable length intake manifold. It displaces 5474 cc (334 in³) and produces 485 PS (357 kW; 478 hp) at 7000 rpm and 568.1 N·m (419 lb·ft) at 5000 rpm. Bore and stroke is 88 x 75 mm.
The 550 Maranello has a tubular steel frame chassis with light aluminum bodywork bolted to it and 6-speed manual transmission. The steering is rack and pinion with variable power assist. The vented disc brakes are 330 mm (13.0 in) for the front and 310 mm (12.2 in) for the rear.
The 550 Maranello can accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and can reach 161 kilometres per hour (100 mph)in 9.6 seconds The ¼ mile (0.4 km) time is 12.5 seconds at 116.9 mph. The top speed is 320.3 kilometers per hour (199.0 mph). Drag coefficient (Cd) was 0.33.
In 2004, Evo ran a ‘Greatest Drivers’ Car’ showdown with the greatest cars from the previous ten years, including 911 GT3, Honda NSX-R and Zonda C12S. The 550 Maranello won. The magazine stated that ‘As with all great cars, there’s no one facet that dominates the experience’. ‘Yes the engine is mighty, but the chassis is its equal. There's never been a supercar that's so exploitable and so rounded in its abilities.’
550 Barchetta Pininfarina
Ferrari introduced a convertible version of the 550 at the Paris Motor Show in 2000. This Barchetta Pininfarina was a true roadster with no real convertible top provided. The factory did provide a soft top, but it was intended only for temporary use as it was cautioned against using the top above 70 mph (110 km/h). A total of 448 Barchettas were produced, four more than initially planned due to concerns of superstition in the Japanese market. The 448 cars were preceded by 12 prototypes numbered P01–P12 on their interior plaques. To an observer the prototypes and production cars are indistinguishable.
On October 28, 2009, Zagato and Ferrari revealed that they have been working on a drophead version of the GTZ to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the long collaboration between the two Italian establishments. The roadster GTZ is limited to five units and based on the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina. All five have been sold at the stratospheric price of £1 million (€1.1 million/ US$1.6 million) each.
Although not intended for motorsport, some privateer teams took it upon themselves to develop the 550 for use in various series. The first racing 550, known as 550 Maranello GT, was built for French team Red Racing to comply with international sporting regulations. The project was developed by Michel Enjolras and assembled in the Italtecnica workshop. The car was first tested in April 1999 and was used in the French FFSA GT Championship. In 2001 the car was then sold to XL Racing who continued the development and built a second car. The 550 GT also made an appearance at the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In 2000, with financial support from some investors led by Stéphane Ratel, Italtecnica created another 550 race car meeting the more powerful GT regulations in the FIA GT Championship, the car being named 550 Millennio. The first car debuted in the 2000 FIA GT Championship season, entered by First Racing. The 2001 season saw two cars fielded by Team Rafanelli. The 550 Millennio was also developed to meet ACO LM-GTS regulations allowing Rafanelli to enter a single car in the 2002 American Le Mans Series season.
In November 2000, German entrepreneur and engineer Franz Wieth launched another racing version of the 550, developed by Baumgartner Sportwagen Technik. Wieth Racing entered this car in the 2001 FIA GT Championship, then again in 2003 and 2004.
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Commissioned by Frédéric Dor's Care Racing Development, in 2001 Prodrive built a racing version of the 550 for various sports car series and especially the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Named the 550 Maranello GTS, a total of ten cars would be built over the next four years and campaigned by the Prodrive team as well as privateer customers. The cars were entirely built by Prodrive without any support from the Ferrari factory.
The factory Prodrive team would win two FIA GT Championship races in the cars debut in late 2001. For 2002 the BMS Scuderia Italia team would take over in FIA GT, recording four wins, while the Prodrive squad would take a single win the American Le Mans Series. 2003 would be the best year for the cars, as Prodrive won the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and took second in the GTS class championship in the American Le Mans Series with four wins, while BMW Scuderia Italia won the FIA GT championship with eight wins.
BMS Scuderia Italia would again take the FIA GT Championship with five wins in 2004, while Larbre Compétition would take the GT1 class championship in the new Le Mans Series. BMS Scuderia Italia would then move to the Le Mans Series as well and take that championship for 2005. At the same time Prodrive moved to their next project, the Aston Martin DBR9, leaving the maintenance of the 550-GTS to Care Racing Development. Convers Team MenX used a 550-GTS in the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans, while Hitotsuyama Racing entered a car in the Japan Le Mans Challenge winning the GT1-class title in both 2006 and 2007 editions.
Following the success of the 550-GTS, Ferrari would develop a racecar based on the 575M, offering it as a customer car for privateers. Some road legal Ferrari 550s would also be modified by small teams for racing, although these differed from the Prodrive-built 550-GTSs.
The 5.5 L V12 engine won the "over 4 litre" class of the International Engine of the Year award for 2000 and 2001.
EVO magazine awarded the Ferrari 550 Maranello the award "Best Sportscar of the 1990's".
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- "Ferrari 550 GTS Wieth Racing". Barchetta.cc. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello". Ultimatecarpage.com. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ferrari 550.|
- Care Racing - Ferrari 550-GTS Maranello owners and maintainers
- Convers Team - Ferrari 550-GTS campaigners
- MenX Racing - Ferrari 550-GTS campaigners
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