Luckily, however, privateers decided to take things into their own hands, and within a few years a host of racing 550s were making their way out the woodwork. And in 2001, it was Prodrive’s turn, with the Oxfordshire-based engineering specialist building what was first known as the 550 GTO and then renamed 550 GTS.
Commissioned by Frédéric Dor's Care Racing Development company, it was destined for various sportscar series, in particular the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Over the ensuing four years, ten Prodrive cars were built – without any support from the Ferrari factory – and raced by the Prodrive team and privateers.
No we know it wasn’t all that long ago we shared a video of the 550 Prodrive, but when we found one video we couldn’t help but look for another…
Powered by a heavily-modified version of the 550 Maranello’s V12, increased in displacement from 5.5- to 6.0-litres with mandatory intake restrictors, the GTS puts power to the rear wheels via a six-speed XTrac sequential gearbox. Through its intense development, Prodrive shaved 550kg off the Maranello’s weight, to bring it in line with the GT1 class’ 1,100 kg minimum weight limit. Stripping out 550kg from any car is no mean feat, let alone from a V12 GT car.
Our protagonist, chassis 117110, was built ahead of the 2004 Le Mans 24, where it took an impressive 4th place finish in the GTS class. It remained active in FIA GT and ALMS competition until 2008, and is seen here enjoying its retirement at Austria’s Red Bull Ring. Just watch her go!
Welcome to Goodwood Elevenses, a mid-morning helping of motoring-related amusement to help break up your day. Watch the last video: This is what an eight‑minute gearbox change looks like