Thursday, 3 February 2011

Grand Turismo... again

Jeremy Clarkson happened to say in last Saturday's Top Gear that the 599 GTO was not a real GTO... and I disagree.

Not long ago I blogged about the car I consider the ultimate Ferrari. Not only it was a GTO, but a revised, upgraded, monstrous GTO, the 288 Evoluzione. It was as hardcore as a huge piece of granite covered in diamonds and almost as rare as one's choice of mothers. The problem is that it hardly lives up to GTO standards, or in other words, way too much over the top.

JC included the compliment that the 599 GTO was slower than the 458, too hardcore without traction control off, too much of a computer with it on.

I have been thinking about this in the past few days and I came to the conclusion that it was the 288 that was NOT a real GTO.

Before you kill me, I tell you why.

First, it's the layout. The 250 was a traditional FR layout with a N/A V12. Same with the 599, but not with the 288, which had a mid-fitted turbocharged V8.

The 250 was designed for road rallies, while the 288 was aimed at hardcore racing. It had all the GT-style interior, but with Group B regulations in mind. This would have made it a perfect track racing and asphalt super special rally car. Group B was folded and the car was left without a competition. But, as we saw it, the Evoluzione version and the successor F40 moved even further away from road rallying. The latter one showed what Ferrari could have been in Group B and started the tradition of the "F" cars. The evolution showed its real face - the F50 has become a Formula 1 car with a body... and it is as far from road racing as you can get by any means.

The Enzo and its variants just deepened the gap and there was no return.

So the GTO needed a fresh start. The 599 was a good starting point. Every mid-engined Ferrari since the company's Schumacher supremacy is encoded with F1 DNA. And that's a bit of no-no. No rocket science needed for road racing, just playing it plain and simple, in a more traditional way. Not outdated, but has that pedigree as it needs to be a pleasure car. It can afford a bit more flamboyance over lap times.

...and since GTO designation lost its true meaning, it should rely on tradition and the feel.

And that's what it exactly does.

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