Triple Le Mans Entry 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C to Star at Rétromobile 2013

Triple Le Mans Entry 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C to Star at Rétromobile 2013

One of the dozen genuine ‘Competizione’ long-nose Ferrari 275 GTBs is set to wow visitors at this year’s Paris Rétromobile exhibition. It will take pride of place on Classic Driver dealer Fiskens’ stand.

Racing rules being rules, Ferrari’s top berlinetta of the time, the 275 GTB, was compelled to run in ostensibly ‘standard’ form in international events. ‘Relative’ is, well, ‘relative’, we suppose — for starters it’s a Ferrari (so state-of-the-art fast in anyone’s book) and as a Competizione model it was comprehensively prepared for racing.

So, when this car, chassis 9079, was delivered to Swiss Ferrari importer Georges Filipinetti for the 1967 racing season, it was in the highest possible state of tune yet carried the slimmest of lightweight bumpers and much standard interior trim.

Triple Le Mans Entry 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C to Star at Rétromobile 2013
Triple Le Mans Entry 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C to Star at Rétromobile 2013Triple Le Mans Entry 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C to Star at Rétromobile 2013

Under the bonnet, though, was a highly tuned 3,300cc V12 with high-lift cams, three bigger-than-normal Weber carburettors and a stronger crankshaft and pistons. The tubular chassis had been lightened and the Scaglietti-designed bodywork was from the thinnest-gauge aluminium possible. A big-capacity racing fuel tank, Plexiglas side and rear windows, wider Borrani wheels and subtly flared wheelarches completed the package.

Note that it’s a right-hand-drive car, too – another way of obtaining even the slightest possible racing advantage, as in those days prototype sports cars favoured RHD to make the most of the driver’s weight when cornering right (as most European tracks run clockwise). And the rare long-nose bodywork is there to eke out another few mph down the Mulsanne Straight.

Triple Le Mans Entry 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C to Star at Rétromobile 2013

The results speak for themselves. A similar car entered by Maranello Concessionaires (Roy Pike/Piers Courage) finished eighth overall and won its class in 1966. The Filipinetti entry you see here, driven by regular team drivers Dieter Spoerry and Rico Steinemann in 1967, also won its class, the GTB/C crossing the line in 11th place, having completed 317 laps – seven more than in 1966.

The car was typical 'Ferrari': outright speed, rugged construction and staying power – traits that were to serve the marque well at Le Mans from 1949 to well into the 1980s.

After the race, 9079 was sold to Swiss racer Jacques Rey who, with Claude Haldi, entered the 1968 24 Hours (sadly not finishing) as well as the 1969 Spa-Francorchamps 100km (14th overall, first in class, Rey partnered with Edgar Berney). A short while afterwards, the duo started the car’s third consecutive Le Mans 24 Hours, but retired after just 39 laps.

Triple Le Mans Entry 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C to Star at Rétromobile 2013

And having completed one final race in 1969 (the 500km of Imola which resulted in a class win) the car was retired from frontline racing. Since then it’s been extensively restored for concours duty (second in the racing Ferrari class at Pebble Beach in 2006) and racing, with British experts Gelscoe Racing preparing it for outings at the Goodwood Revival and the Le Mans Classic.

London mews dealer in the finest of cars, Fiskens, will be showing this truly historic Ferrari on stand J91, in Hall 3 of Rétromobile, the Paris show which will run from 6 – 10 February 2013. Do take time to have a good look at it and, despite its superb paintwork and top-class preparation, try to imagine the thousands of hard racing miles under its belt. What a fantastic machine.

Related Links

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Photography by Tim Scott: www.fluidimages.co.uk

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Tim Scott