Ferrari F355 Challenge Road Legal (2)

The dream of owning a Ferrari is one that few enthusiasts can deny having had at some point in their lives. From childhood fantasies of one day driving that eponymous red supercar that you had as a model, or on a poster, or more recently in a video game; to the temptation of adult life when those toys from your youth are coming closer to your ‘possible’ budget.

Who could blame any enthusiast for spending time dwelling on this legendary Italian marque, when it has such an impressive back catalogue of beautiful, fast, and exotic machines? And while owning a Ferrari road car is one thing, the opportunity to experience the raw and visceral pleasure of a racing version is another level altogether.

In January 2021, a Ferrari F355 Challenge was offered on Collecting Cars, which represented a very rare opportunity to acquire a superb example of the 1990s performance icon.

The track-ready F355 Challenge carried over some of its mechanical components from the standard model, but featured a range of modifications that focused on making the car lighter and more responsive, as well as ensuring it was safe for motorsport use. This particular car was equipped with all the original upgrades, including a full OMP roll cage, Kevlar composite OMP racing buckets seats, OMP safety harnesses, a competition steering wheel trimmed in Alcantara, an engine cut-off switch, and a fire extinguisher.

Externally, the F355 Challenge was equipped with 18-inch Speedline alloy wheels framing upgraded 14-inch brakes from the F40 LM, as well as a substantial carbon-fibre rear wing, a black rear Challenge grille, front and rear tow hooks, and a lightweight exhaust system. As an early model, this car also featured the Bosch Motronic 2.7 engine management system, with dual mass air flow meters – which is regarded by enthusiasts to deliver more responsive performance compared to the later Motronic 5.2 system.

The upgrades didn’t stop there, with the track-ready supercar also being fitted from factory with high-performance fans, a manual radiator control, and a competition clutch, as well as solid suspension bushings with competition anti-roll bars, drop links, coil springs and shock absorbers. It even retained the original scrutineering sticker on the roll cage, and the lap timing machine.

Unsurprisingly, given the list of features above, the vendor believed that this particular F355 Challenge was one of the most original examples on the market – and this was a seller speaking from experience, having already acquired three other Challenge cars for their collection. This remarkable example was delivered to its first owner via Jacques Swaters’ Garage Francochamps, and was promptly campaigned as part of the dealership team, competing in the Pirelli Trophy as part of the European Ferrari Challenge championship in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

One of just 108 recognised Challenge cars; this pared-back F355 offered something that most of its sister cars could not, having become road-registered in the UK in November 2019, making it one of very few examples of this pared-back machine to have been granted this status.

The car was offered for sale having recently undergone a major service with GTO Racing in 2020, and during the seller’s ownership had also had the cam belts replaced and a full inspection carried out. There was a good history file, not only containing documentation covering previous maintenance, but also literature that showed the car competing in period.

This Ferrari F355 Challenge was a well-preserved piece of modern motorsport history, which represented a particularly rare opportunity for a marque enthusiast to acquire an original yet road-legal example. It could have made a great entrant for the Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic Series, but also an involving and rewarding weekend toy on the public highway. Over the course of its auction on Collecting Cars, the listing attracted a total of 38 bids, with the hammer falling at £123,000.

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