Vintage Ferrari suffers catastrophe

18 classic Ferraris competed in an authentic race, with one vehicle erupting into a massive fireball.

The 2023 Goodwood Revival kicked off with a bang, and not just figuratively. 

In a spectacular turn of events, a genuine Ferrari 250 GTO experienced a catastrophic engine failure while participating in one of the races.

This race was a true spectacle for vintage car enthusiasts, featuring 18 remarkable Ferrari 250 variants, including iconic models like the GTO, 250 GT SWBs, and even the rare 250 GT SWB Breadvan. 

For aficionados of mid-20th century Ferrari racers, this event was nothing short of automotive heaven.

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What sets the Goodwood Revival apart from other classic car events is the authentic racing experience it offers. 

Drivers and owners of these vintage treasures fearlessly push the limits of these period-correct vehicles, eager to feel the rush of the tachometer hitting its upper limits.

However, not all stories from the Goodwood Revival had a happy ending. 

Former Formula 1 racer Karun Chandhok was behind the wheel of a pristine 250 GTO before encountering a harrowing moment during the race while holding fourth position.

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 It remains unclear what precisely went wrong, but the consequences were nothing short of catastrophic. A massive fireball erupted from the underbelly of the iconic Ferrari, sending mechanical debris scattering across the grass.

Fortunately, the fire subsided relatively quickly, possibly owing to some extra fire suppression system on board.

Despite the rapid response, it seems unlikely that this particular GTO will ever race again, at least not with its current engine.

In its prime, the Ferrari 250 GTO was a racing powerhouse, boasting a 3.0-liter V12 engine that produced 221kW at 7500rpm and 294Nm of torque. 

This legendary machine dominated the GT class, clinching victory in the over 2000cc class of the FIA’s International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963, and 1964. 

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Additionally, it secured consecutive wins in the 1963 and 1964 Tour de France Automobile, marking Ferrari’s ninth consecutive triumph at the prestigious race.

As the world of racecar design transitioned towards the mid-engined formula still prevalent today, the 250 GTO remained one of the final front-engined cars capable of competing at the highest level of sports car racing.

This has translated into astronomical prices in the collector’s market, with the 1963 250 GTO claiming the title of the most valuable car ever sold, fetching a staggering US$70 million (NZ$118,900) in 2018.