Flat-12 Ferraris only for poseurs? Tell that to this Testarossa…
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, 6 September 2023 / Loading comments
For a certain vintage of car enthusiast, there isn’t much that compares with the overwhelming nostalgia evoked by a mid-engined Ferrari with strakes down the side and a flat-12 behind the seats. Or a 180-degree V12, technically speaking. The Testarossa and the 512TR in particular (and the F512M to a slightly lesser extent) are supercar icons, up there with the Countach as the pinnacle of ’80s excess and unmistakeable design. Miami Vice wouldn’t have worked with any other car. Neither would Out Run. Even as a less outlandish prospect than the Lamborghini, the Testarossa was made for bedroom posters.
But it was never a real thriller, despite the glamour – this era was much better at playing long-legged GT than the silhouette might suggest. Things improved with time (the 512 TR dropping the engine lower, for example) but it seems notable that Ferrari went back to front-engined, series-production V12 flagships in the ’90s and hasn’t looked back since. The Testarossa era was a cool one to reminisce about, while not making for truly exhilarating Ferraris to drive.
This ought to change that. It’s a Ferrari Testarossa race car, and it might just be one of the most exciting Maranello supercars in the PH classifieds right now. Because this is not some hastily stripped-out track project; it’s a bona fide competition car, smartly prepared and with race victories to its name. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to race a Ferrari as cool as this?
First transformed in the ’90s (when it won Ferrari Owners Club events) a lot of money has clearly been spent on this Testarossa to make it competitive. And stunning to look at – BBS on a Ferrari won’t please the purists, but what a stance. It’s got Penske suspension and brakes, for example, a new FIA-compliant fuel tank, what’s said to be a completely rebuilt engine and one of the cleanest race car interiors you ever did see, a new Motec system taking pride of place where the passenger seat once was. Obviously, it’s been driven hard, though this Testarossa still turns out very well.
The intrigue continues with the wiring – no, seriously. The advert states that this Testarossa benefits from a ‘professionally manufactured race wiring loom with all wiring in place to allow it to be simply converted to a road legal car for perhaps rally use’. Exciting eh? A race exhaust might make it a bit much for regular road use, but that could surely be changed. And then you’d have something like a Testarossa Challenge, complete with all the motorsport bits and what must be an unforgettable driving experience.
Or do as has been done for the past quarter of a century and keep the redhead as a race car. It’s still eligible for various championships and the host of recently renewed parts ought to mean it’s on the button. Or at least requiring much less prep than some classic race cars. There’s only so much to tell from pics, but look at this thing: it’s a Ferrari that’s used, enjoyed and cared for, not collecting dust or left to perish.
The price is POA; road-going Testarossas are anything from £90k for a high mileage one to a quarter of a million for one that’s hardly been driven. A six-figure sum for this then, comfortably. But whereas sacrificing a valuable 35-year-old Ferrari now for a track habit would probably seem outrageous, there would be no such concerns with this car. It’s spent most of its life as a race car already, and looks to have many more years of happy lapping left in it yet. So it’d be rude not to continue the story, really, because it must be a thrill like little else. And don’t forget that road-going potential if you really want to stand out from the crowd…
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