1996 Ferrari F355 Challenge Coupé
Chassis no. ZFFPR42B000104539
One of 108 F355 Challenge models made
Delivered new in Belgium via Garage Francorchamps
Raced in the Ferrari Challenge in 1996, 1997, and 1998
Two owners from new
13,460 kilometres on the odometer
Last serviced in 2015 (at 13,417 kilometres)
'Complex, sophisticated, and very fast, it is the quantum leap that has enabled the Ferrari V8 to run in proud parallel with the 456GT and 550 Maranello,' enthused Car magazine's review of the F355. First presented to the motoring press in May 1994, the F355 effectively re-forged the reputation of Ferrari's V8 which, 328 and 348 notwithstanding, had suffered since the introduction of the Mondial 'world car'. The latter, with its four seats, well-appointed interior, and - relatively - soft ride, was considered far too sensible to be a 'proper' Ferrari; the F355 though, was cast in the mould of that great drivers' car, the Dino 246GT. Just how great an advance it was may be gauged from the fact that the F355's best time around Ferrari's Fiorano test track was three seconds quicker than the formidable 512TR's.
Despite its prodigious performance the F355 was no mere 'racer on the road', but a thoroughly modern automobile employing state-of-the-art technology - in the form of computer-controlled variable damping - to reconcile the differing requirements of ultimate roadholding and acceptable comfort. A light-action clutch, proportional power-assisted steering, and driver's air bag were other features calculated to make the car reassuringly user-friendly.
The heart of the F355 though, was its phenomenal 3.5-litre V8 engine. Equipped with four overhead camshafts and five valves per cylinder - a layout borrowed from Ferrari's Formula 1 engine - this remarkable unit produced a claimed 370bhp at 8,250rpm, with 268lb/ft of torque available between 5,000 and 6,500rpm. A six-speed manual gearbox, mounted transversely behind the longitudinally disposed engine, ensured a sufficiency of ratios to keep the motor on the boil whatever the situation.
Testing an F355 in 1994, Autocar achieved a top speed of 173mph (278km/h), with the 0-60mph dash covered in 4.3 seconds. 'The F355 is, we're certain, a landmark car for Ferrari,' declared the esteemed British motoring magazine. 'Not only is it good enough to tear down the walls of the class you think it should be in and cause deep blushes throughout the one above, but it is also the best sports car Ferrari has turned out since the 246 GT Dino some 30 years ago.' Praise indeed.
In 1995, Maranello introduced the F355 Challenge for use specifically in the 'Ferrari Challenge', a one-make race series that had been created in 1993, initially for owners of the 348 Berlinetta. For the F355 Challenge, Ferrari made available a kit of racing parts (costing some $30,000), which would be supplied to authorised dealers for fitting to customers' standard road-going F355s. Alternatively, Challenge cars could be ordered fully finished from the factory.
The Challenge model's additions/modifications included a lightweight exhaust system; competition steering wheel; rear wing; competition clutch; Brembo 14" brakes (F40 type); Speedline 18" magnesium-alloy wheels; Pirelli racing slicks; solid suspension bushes and competition springs; brake cooling ducts at front and rear; upgraded radiator cooling fans; manual fan control; a roll cage; and all the usual safety equipment. No engine tuning was allowed (the engines were sealed) apart from that achieved by using the kit exhaust. In total, 108 F355 Challenge models were produced before the Ferrari Challenge series switched to the F360 in 2000.
This particular F355 Challenge was delivered new to Belgium in March 1996 via Garage Francorchamps to a Mr Pinchart. We are advised that it is a factory-built example, and not a kitted road car. This F355 participated in the Ferrari Challenge Europa Pirelli Trophy championship in 1996, 1997, and 1998 with Mr Pinchart driving for the Garage Francorchamps team. Currently displaying a total of only 13,460 kilometres on the odometer, this Challenge has had only two owners from new and is presented in 100% original condition. The last major service was carried out in 2015 (at 13,417 kilometres). Accompanying documentation consists of a history file documenting the car's racing career, including photographs, and a file of invoices.