1997 FERRARI 550 MARANELLO GTE LMGT XL RACING

Lot 19
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Estimation :
350000 - 400000 EUR
1997 FERRARI 550 MARANELLO GTE LMGT XL RACING
Serial number 108536
Engine 44501
Built in agreement with Ferrari
Aesthetic and mechanical preparation
Important racing history
Driven by Michael Schumacher
Ready to race

The quintessence of Ferrari production in the late 1990s, the 550 Maranello production model receives all of the Italian firm's advanced know-how. The berlinetta takes the features and idea of its big sister, the 365 GTB4 or Daytona: a naturally aspirated V12 engine under the very long hood and a cabin that combines sport and luxury. Coupled with a manual gearbox for the most part, the 550 is a masterpiece of mechanics and beauty. It was on this elegant base that Hervé Frouin and his XL Racing team decided to build two identical cars in the late 1990s. The approval of the project by Ferrari was long because the firm of Maranello did not wish that the private teams create cars of competition. The original aluminium bodywork was lightened and grafted with carbon fibre panels, notably on the doors, bonnet and rear trunk, allowing the 550 to lose 400 kilos on the scales.
The 5.5L V12 engine, which develops 450 horsepower, is adjusted to produce 130 more at 6,250 rpm, all backed by a Hewland 6-speed manual gearbox, keeping the legendary Ferrari grille.
The XL Racing team's goal is to enter both Ferraris in the FFSA-GT series and the ALMS (American Le Mans Series) following the N GT specifications dictated by the FIA GT Championship in 2002. The two cars will also race at Le Mans in 2003; one of them (#106404) had to retire due to a fire in the berlinette's fuel tank; the other one raced in the small Le Mans race as well as in the 1000 km of the Le Mans event.

The Ferrari XL Racing car we are presenting is better known thanks to its chassis number #108536. Perfectly identical to its little sister, it was entered in many competitions since 2002 on the Nogaro circuit, in Pau in FFSA GT.
In 2003, the "#108536" was tested and driven by Michael Schumacher, then Formula 1 World Champion with Ferrari, on the Mérignac circuit near Bordeaux. The driver was commissioned by the brand to personally deliver a brand new and exclusive Ferrari Enzo to an owner, he took the opportunity to drive a few laps of our competition car and then put his signature on the white roof of 550.

The current owner, who in 2005 was racing his car in the GT2 meeting in Pau, found his stand next to Alain Prost's and asked him to sign the roof of his Ferrari in front of Schumacher. Prost did so, no doubt with respect for the great driver but also with amusement for the anecdote.

Aesthetically, the Ferrari XL Racing we present has little to do with its production model. Painted in red, the bodywork also features some white reminders on the mirrors and the roof. A large spoiler is mounted on the rear trunk to support the 550 when braking and cornering, while the aerodynamic appendages and fender flares give the car a very aggressive look.
In the cabin, a thick fireproof fabric covers the floor and walls, and fans of the production model will recognize the black leather dashboard, which remains unchanged here, only the instrument panel has been changed from analog to digital to increase the accuracy of the data.
Two Sparco carbon bucket seats and Sabelt harnesses secure the driver and co-driver, a specific Sparco alcantara steering wheel stands in front of the driver who will find the chrome gearbox grid along his right thigh.
Mechanically, the race-prepared Ferrari V12 was recently overhauled; the belts have just been replaced as well as one of the fuel injection pumps.
With a solid track record in competition, this XL Racing model is a rarity that must be mastered. Unknown to enthusiasts, like the "Prodrive" models, this XL Racing is to be rediscovered on the track.
From an exceptional production model, the work of XL Racing is a great success; the "#108536" is undoubtedly one of the most representative competition cars of the GT championships in the early 2000s.
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