In 1994, Ferrari’s long term loyal customer Giampiero Moretti, founder of MOMO was one of the few who convinced Maranello to return to sports car racing, making them understand how important it was for the company to return to this category of motorsport in their largest market that was North America. By this time, it had been almost 23-years since Ferrari last partook in the IMSA World Sports Car Championship with the Ferrari 312 PB in 1971 and hence needed a completely new car to compete.
To return to the sport, Ferrari collaborated with Formula chassis maker Dallara Automobiles and engine and race car specialists Michelotto (the people behind the Lancia Stratos/ Ferrari 308 GR4/ Ferrari F40 LM and many more) to build a new car to compete in the race. Dallara focussed their efforts in developing new aerodynamics for the car, while Michelotto focussed primarily on sub-assembly components. The result was the Ferrari 333 SP of 1994, of which a total of 40 cars were built for racing. Each of the Ferrari 333 SPs were fitted with a flat-bottomed carbon fibre chassis, double wishbone suspensions with pushrod operated coil spring/dampers all around.
As per the World Sports Car guidelines, teams were required to use production based engines that were no more than 4.0-litres in displacement. To get around this situation, Ferrari used their 4.0-litre V12 F310E Formula One engine, the same unit that was later on enlarged and fitted to the Ferrari F50. The resulting Ferrari 333 SP would go on to become one of the most successful competition Ferraris of all time.
For the 1994 season, the Ferrari 333 SP took home five victories from the seven IMSA rounds, including a hat-trick for Moretti’s MOMO team. The following year, the 333 SP won at the Sebring 12 Hours along with the IMSA Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles. Following its successful racing debut, the Ferrari 333 SP went on to win the Daytona 24 Hours in 1998, perhaps the car’s most iconic victory as Ferrari had not won here in the last 31-years. By the end of its competition lifespan in 2002, the Ferrari 333 SP’s had participated in a total of 144 races, of which it had won in 49 and taken home and incredible 12 championships in 8 years.
This particular example shown here is one of the rarest of the 41 cars that were ever made. This Ferrari 333 SP, Chassis No.006 never actually went racing and is currently in brand-new condition as one would imagine at the time of delivery back in 1994. It was built for a customer who couldn’t fulfil his order and so it remained un-raced and kept only as a display vehicle until it was eventually restored to a healthy state by Michelotto in 2016. According to RM Sotheby’s, the auction house that would be putting the car up for sale at the Ferrari – Legend and Passion auction on September 9, 2017, the Ferrari 333 SPs engine has been tested at Fiorano and has been turned on for just one hour since it was last restored.
Photos: Charn Kamal for RM Sotheby’s