Group B Evolved: 288 GTO Evoluzione

The Ferrari 288 GTO has some fantastically special cars in its family tree. It was the first Ferrari to bear the GTO name since the legendary 250 GTO, and its crazy cousin, the 288 GTO Evoluzione, served as the prototype for the equally legendary F40. AND it was designed to compete in Group B, the holy grail of motorsport lunacy. Crikey. 

Unfortunately for the 288 GTO, Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto’s fatal crash in the 1986 Tour de Corse put an end to the 600 horsepower monsters. Group B was banned just as the GTO was about to step into the fray. Based on the 308 GTB to save money and construction time, the 288 was in reality a very different car. It was wider, lower, and packed with goodies like upgraded suspension, extra lights and a racing transmission mated to a 2.9 litre twin-turbo V8. It produced 400 horsepower, and was the first road-legal production car to hit 300 kph. 

Not content with their amazing creation, Ferrari set to work once more. They wanted something nastier, scarier, more evolved. The 288 was lightened to a featherweight 2072 lbs, and the boost was turned up so that the engine now produced 650 horsepower. Incredible lightness, power, and an aerodynamically revised body put the Evoluzione’s top speed at a terrifying 225 mph. 272 288 GTOs were produced, but just 5 Evoluziones were ever built. Miraculously none of them were crashed as a result of monstrous turbo-lag and all of them survive to this day.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday September 28th 2016.

Group B Evolved: 288 GTO Evoluzione

Rally Legend: Lancia Stratos

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The Lancia Stratos is one of the most legendary rally cars of all time. It was devised re-invigorate Lancia’s ailing motorsport efforts, and was the first rally car that was designed as a competition vehicle from the ground up. The Stratos was a purebred rally car, and was by all accounts an awful road car. It had brutal performance, zero rear visibility, and a very uncomfortable cabin thanks to its tiny size. Homologation rules dictated that 400 road cars had to be built, but Lancia wanted to go rallying sooner than that could be achieved. When officials turned up at the factory to inspect the 400 cars, they were initially shown 200. Then, they went for lunch and returned to inspect the other 200. These were the same cars that they had inspected before lunch, which had been parked in a different place and order.

The Stratos was a tiny car, weighing around 2000 lbs. The engine chosen to power it was a Ferrari V6 sourced from the Dino. Enzo Ferrari was wary of releasing the engines for Lancia’s use, but the brutality of the Stratos convinced him that the road-going versions would be no competition at all to his luxurious GT cars. Road-going versions had 190 horsepower, while in competition trim they had 275-320. Two closed-circuit racing versions were also built and turbocharged up to 560 terrifying horsepower.

If the Stratos had an Achilles heel, it was transmission failure during competition. In spite of this issue, Sandro Munari and Bjorn Waldegard piloted the Stratos to victory in the 1974, ‘75, and ‘76 WRC seasons. In total the Stratos won 18 WRC rallies, and was the last car to win an event using rear wheel drive. Despite the competition brilliance, dealers found it difficult to shift road-going models due to their scary performance and terrible ergonomics. Underappreciated in their time, the road cars now sell for upwards of $500,000.

Published @Whippstagram on Instagram, March 16th 2016.

Rally Legend: Lancia Stratos