Some industry experts consider the F40 to be the greatest road-going Ferrari of all time because, among other reasons, Ferrari would find it difficult to make another car like the F40 in today’s world of red tape and health and safety. This is what makes the F40 so special, so desirable.
The unmistakable Ferrari F40 has polarised opinions and evoked passions like few other Ferraris since it rolled out of the stables in Maranello in 1987.
The twin-turbocharged 471-bhp, 201-mph F40 was developed to mark the 40th anniversary of the Prancing Horse. The F40 LM is the version developed by the factory-authorised performance tuner Michelotto. One of these rare thoroughbreds, the F40 LM chassis number 74045, which has a fascinating and illustrious history is headed to auction this year by RM Sotheby’s on the 6th of February at Place Vauban, Paris.
Originally used as a pre-production prototype by the factory, it was sold to former Le Mans and IMSA driver Rene Herzog in early 1992. Herzog sent the car to Michelotto for conversion to LM specification which meant enlarged twin IHI turbocharger units and advanced Weber-Marelli fuel injection, resulting in an increase in power to over 700 bhp. In addition, there was a simultaneous reduction in weight to just 1,050 kg, extensive chassis stiffening, installation of race-specification transmission, uprated brakes and extensively modified bodywork.
In 1995, it ended up with Stephane Ratel who raced it in the European GT Championship, but mid-season, he sold it to the French Pilot-Aldix team for use in the BPR Global GT Series. The car faced retirements in the first four rounds of the series, but by the Le Mans pre-qualifying in April, it had been re-painted to its current French Racing Blue and fortunes began to change with a fifth overall and a first place in the GT1 class.
Six weeks later, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team qualified seventh overall and second in GT1. In a race affected by the unfavourable wet conditions for the F40 LM, it finished a respectable 12th overall and sixth in GT1. Two weeks later, it took pole position followed by a race victory at the Anderstorp Four Hours. This was followed by a second-place finish in the Silverstone Four Hours. For the 1996 season, the car was updated with a GTE-specification rear wing. However, with newer cars competing, the season proved more challenging. The car was retired from competition at the end of the season and was then owned by several prominent collectors before it was acquired by the current owner in 2008.
“It is important to note that the car was freshly serviced last year and today remains on the button to participate in vintage racing events, namely the new official Ferrari program, Club GT Competizioni. Adding to its overall desirability, the car is offered with its original gearbox and a set of spare wheels. Given the paucity of factory-blessed Sports Racing and GT racing Ferraris in recent decades, 74045 – especially given its top-level racing history – is surely a ‘must have’ for any serious Ferrari or competition car collector,” reads a statement by RM Sotheby’s.
Furthermore, the Ferrari F40 LM chassis number 74045 is without a doubt “the most significant F40 LM and amongst the most significant privateer-campaigned Ferrari racing cars.”