A visit to Maranello Motorsport

I had a few spare hours in Melbourne the other day so I decided to head down to Maranello Motorsport in Richmond for a look around.

Maranello Motorsport (MM) is just a 10 minute train ride from Flinders Street Station. From the Richmond stop it’s just a five minute walk down the funky and arty Cremorne Street. It’s quite a surreal walk – the street is very quiet, you pass a whole collection of small designer furniture stores and boutique legal practises and then Bam, there’s an F40 sitting right there.

Mark Coffey, Managing Director of MM, is surely living every car enthusiasts dream. MM are primarily Ferrari race preparation specialists. They are responsible for most of the Ferrari’s you see racing in the Australian GT Championship and field their own entry for regular driver Alan Simonsen and a host of other drivers who are lucky enough to be partnered alongside him. Their bread and butter is preparing 360 Modena and F430 GT3’s for GT racing and private track days, and they also offer a complete arrive and drive race or track day service. They have a showroom where they sell high end Ferrari’s and offer scheduled servicing and repairs for Ferrari road cars.

There was some fantastic machinery on display the day I visited. From a 328 and an F430 road car…

… to this Gallardo LP600 GT3. It’s a 2010 build updated to 2011 specs and has spent most of it’s life racing in Asia, including competition history at the Macau Grand Prix.

I fell in love with this Maserati 3500 GT Spider. For me it’s the ideal classic for a hot summers night.

Perfection.

Your garden variety 360 Challenge. Prices of 360’s have been falling for some time, and for some strange reason the Challenge race cars seem to be worth a little less than the standard road car. Maranello have this particular example for sale for $139,000 – now I’m not saying that’s cheap, but I bet the experience it delivers would be like nothing else. Well, like nothing else other than a faster Ferrari of course. I bet the cost of keeping one of these track ready has something to do with the initial purchase price, however.

This 360 GT has genuine LeMans history. It competed in the French classic in 2003 as a Risi Competizione car with Shane Lewis, Butch Leitzinger and Johnny Mowlem behind the wheel.

Here’s the car in action at Le Mans during the 24hr. Unfortunately they didnt’t finish the race, but were credited with 39th place. Risi’s sister #94 360 finished in 26th place.

It’s good to see the car is still in it’s original Le Mans specifications.Imagine sitting behind this wheel tearing down the Mulsanne straight at midnight, racing a proper Ferrari at Le Mans. It’s the stuff of dreams!

Sitting out the back in the workshop was MM’s new 458 GT3. Believe it or not, but apart from the McLaren Formula 1 car, this 458 holds the all time lap record around Bathurst. During recent testing in November Alan Simonsen managed a 2.04.9560 lap around the mountain. For comparison, the current V8 Supercar lap record is a 2.08.4651. The 458 was built in Italy by Michelotto. The MM crew flew to Italy to test the car with Michelotto, before bringing it back to Australia and this was the car’s first outing just a few days after it arrived in the country.

I was nearly speechless last time I saw a Daytona in the hills. It’s just such a beautiful and timeless design, and the one at MM was in superb condition.

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That is a Ferrari 333SP up the back there which competed in the 1994 Le Mans 24 Hours. I didn’t know a lot about the 333SP but after a quick spot of reading I’m coming to realise that it’s a fascinating car. In the early 90’s Ferrari had actually shelved plans they had for a new sports racing car, however it took the insistence of amateur racer and MOMO founder Giampiero Moretti to get the project off the ground. He somehow managed to convince Luca di Montezemolo of his plans, who ended up giving his grudging approval to the project in 1993. Dallara designed and built the chassis, suspension and bodywork and Ferrari fitted an enlarged (to 4000cc) version of their then obsolete Formula 1 V12 and five speed sequential transmission. This sounds like quite an incredible engine too – it revs happily to over 11,000rpm and produces over 600hp. This example has been used a few times on Australian tracks since it’s importation. Just imagine how that V12 must sound at 11,000rpm!

MM also had an F40 road car on the showroom floor. It was quite a special experience to be with an F40 on my own as usually when I’ve seen them I’ve been part of a massive crowd. They’re just such a special car.

I’ve never noticed those heater controls on the F40 before. I think they’re marvellous – hot/cool and a fan speed adjuster. What else do you need?

Despite being built from 1987-1992 the F40 is still a seriously quick car by modern standards. 0-100 in 3.7secs, 0-200 in 11 seconds and a top speed of 324km/h isn’t messing about. It says something about the light weight of the F40 too – A stock Ferrari F430 has more power than the F40’s twin turbo V8 produces (471hp at 16psi boost) but is nowhere near as quick or brutal.

This particular example has had two owners and has travelled 36,000km.

I wonder who the lucky people were that got to put those 36,000km on this F40?

So what could possibly trump an F40?

An F40 GTE race car.

Built by Michelotto, the F40 GTE had a whole host of racing modifications including an enlarged (3600cc from 2900cc) twin turbo V8 producing around 660hp. F40 LM’s and GTE’s were popular in IMSA racing in the US and the Japanese GT series. F40’s even competed in Le Mans as recently as 1996. As development continued retired F40LM’s were even purchased back out of private collections and put back into professional racing.

This particular example was delivered new to the Italian Jolly Club racing team. Details on it are a little confusing, but from what I can gather it is a 1992 F40 that was converted to F40 GT race specs by Michelotto in late 1992/1993.

It raced most of the 1993 Italian GT Championship finishing the season in 6th place, and won the 1994 Italian GT Championship with a record breaking win in every race of the season. Vittorio Colombo was behind the wheel for both seasons.

It’s funny how times have changed in just two decades. There’s no paddle shift or serious roll cage, and you can see how the use of carbon fibre and various electronics are still in their infancy.

Speaking of the roll cage, I was actually quite surprised at how basic and simple it was. It’s good to see that it has been preserved in its original state though, rather than having a modern jungle-gym put through it.

To my untrained eye the engine looks quite similar to that of the road car – a little less heat shielding around the waste gate, bigger intercoolers and a larger, fatter, shorter exhaust was all I could really pick. I’m sure there’s much more.

What an incredible car. I feel privileged to have been so close to it.

I must extend a big thank you to the guys I met at Maranello Motorsport. They weren’t technically open when I visited but they were still very friendly and allowed me to come in and take these photographs. They could have just turned me away.

There were more cars than what I have shown, however out of respect for their owners and Maranello Motorsport I have only published photographs of vehicles that are featured on MM’s own website.

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10 Comments

  1. Michael Myllynen January 8, 2012 Reply

    Great write up Andrew. What a great opportunity, and it looks like you certainly made the most of it.

    The racing versions, in particular the F40GTE are epic! I am also very pumped that the Bathurst lap record (for a tin top) is held by a Fezza, and not a taxi... And by Allan Simonson too!

    Thanks for the article.

    • Andrew Coles January 10, 2012 Reply

      Thanks mate. Yea I was actually sitting reading Unique Cars magazine the night before we left for Melbourne and saw their ad and couldn't quite believe what they had. Then I looked and saw they were in Richmond and couldn't quite believe my luck!

      Given this new lap record the Bathurst 12hr in Feb is really shaping up to be an epic race, I'm kinda kicking myself that I can't get over there for it. There's Maranello's 458 entry, I'm not sure if Audi are back again with a factory R8 team or not but one of the European teams, Black Falcon I think, are bringing out 2 AMG SLS's for the race. It could turn into something pretty special in a few years time, because the Bathurst race is before the European season really kicks off. A lot of them head over for the Dubai 24hr in March (I think) so it makes financial sense for them to come a little early to Australia!

      And thanks for the comments :)

  2. juliuschoi January 12, 2012 Reply

    Reblogged this on StyleSevenSeven and commented:
    Pure Bliss~~

  3. tokyobhoy January 23, 2012 Reply

    Really great write-up and pictures, the F40 is still my favourite car in the world!

    • Andrew Coles January 24, 2012 Reply

      Thanks very much, good to hear! Yea it's certainly one of my favourites - just enough technology to make it devastatingly quick, but old school enough to make it fun. Well, I assume it's fun. I'd like to find out though!

  4. Alberca JF December 14, 2013 Reply

    it was nice to see your photos , they're very cool . I was very happy to see some photos of the 360 modena n° 95 ..I would like to see more photos of the cockpit and engine , nevertheless through the lateral window it is interesting...thanks JF

    • Andrew Coles December 24, 2013 Reply

      Thanks very much! Unfortunately this is all I have from this trip, but it was pretty cool to see it up close :)

  5. Dylan Rose September 1, 2015 Reply

    What are the opening hours of Maranello Motorsports?

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