The (288 GTO) Evoluzione of Terror

James Walker Jan 9, 2019

The Ferrari 288 GTO has some extremely special cars in its family tree. It was the first Ferrari to bear the GTO name since the hallowed 250 GTO. Its crazy cousin, the 288 GTO Evoluzione, served as the prototype for the genre-defining F40. To top it all, the GTO was designed to compete in Group B, the holy grail of motorsport lunacy. 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 blasting past rally fans within touching distance. Group B was banned just as the GTO was about to step into the fray.

To save money and construction time, the 288 was based on the 308 GTB though in reality was a very different car. It was wider, lower, and packed with improvements 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 the excellent 288, 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 Evo’s top speed at an eye-watering 225 mph. 272 288 GTOs were produced, but just 6 Evoluziones were ever built. Miraculously none of them were crashed as a result of 80s-level turbo-lag and all of them survive to this day.

James Walker

James Walker is a freelance writer with a passion for four-wheeled things and twisty roads.

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