Ferrari 288 GTO in the driving report: Red Arrow

Hardy Mutschler
Ferrari 288 GTO in the driving report
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What had Ferrari done there? With the 2 88 GTO, the Italians served a menu made of exquisite technical ingredients that made even the hottest pepperoni dishes appear bland. Nevertheless, the enjoyment of this fiery composition turned out to be an addicting drug. 'After I had sold my GTO, I noticed that I was missing something,' remembers Hans Albert Zender, founder of the company named after him in Mühlheim-Kärlich near Koblenz.

Already sold out at the presentation

That Zender even had a Ferrari 288 GTO was due to the fact that he either belonged to the so-called well-informed circles or was one of those who the plant in Italy was benevolent towards was standing. Because when Ferrrari presented the red rocket to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in 1984, the limited production was as good as sold out. Bargain hunters know this from special offers announced in brochures, which are no longer available despite a rapid sprint to the next store.

But with a price of 260,000 marks, for which there were at least three Mercedes 500 SLs, that was Ferrari 288 GTO by no means a special offer. Nonetheless, Ferrari enthusiasts who had gone empty put another 60,000 marks on it without hesitation if they saw a chance to put such a car in the garage. But why did everyone go crazy back then like the rubber rollers of the GTO at a lightning start?

The GTO myth - Gran Turismo Omologato

Well, GTO stands for Gran Turismo Omologato, and with that stepped this car followed in the footsteps of its legendary predecessor Ferrari 250 GTO, at least in terms of name. At the beginning of the 1960s he had put his opponents in their place on the racetrack like a dangerous big cat its rivals. On the other hand, it could also purr like a tame house kitten, in other words, you could even go shopping with it.

Just like its glorious ancestor, the Ferrari 288 GTO was also to become a homologation model - planned for use in theGroup B, for which at least 200 copies had to be placed on the wide Goodyear wheels. Based on the 308 GTB, a super sports car then matured, which when accelerating left everything behind it that thundered on four wheels on the Autostrada.

Visually and technically doped Ferrari 308

The body, which consists mainly of weight-saving fiberglass, Kevlar and Nomex, looks like an optically doped Ferrari 308. The bulbous fenders have the impression of tight muscles, while the rear spoiler and the three air slots adjacent to the rear wheel cutout ensure a reasonable shot of aggressiveness .

Only experts notice that the wheelbase of the Ferrari 288 GTO, at 2,450, was 110 millimeters longer than the 308. The reason is explained by a look at the propellant, which is hidden under a hood with numerous gill-like openings . It is not mounted across, but lengthways. And, as it should be for a racing car, the engine installed amidships is followed by the gearbox, the housing of which is unabashedly presented to the beholder below the rear end.

The passenger compartment of the Ferrari 288 GTO, which is tailored to two people, got caught on the other hand quite luxurious for a racing car. Door panels covered in leather and black carpet in the footwell create a touch of comfort. Most GTO buyers should have indulged in the optional power windows and air conditioning. The leather-covered seats are by no means spartan. Their seats have numerous holes for good ventilation and offer proper lateral support - especially in the buttocks area, which is why purses filled with coins squeeze uncomfortably.

But the Ferrari 288 GTO was never tailored to people with change. If the driver now stretches his legs towards the pedals, he lands with his left foot instead of the clutch on a bench, with his right foot he applies the brake instead of the accelerator.

Depress the clutch degenerates into fitness training

Because of the wheel arch protruding into the interior, the pedals in the Ferrari 288 GTO had to be installed a little to the right, which the driver quickly gets used to. By the way, nothing in the interior looks delicate or even fragile. On the contrary, the handbrake lever, the shift stick and even the steering wheel appear solid and powerfully dimensioned so that the pilot can really grab it.

The two-disc clutch is also not for squeamish natures. In order to press the pedal towards the floor pan, the driver's left leg has to exert a force of 170 Newtons. That's 30 N more than a Lamborghini Countach LP 5000 S Quattrovalvole, which came onto the market one year after the Ferrari 288 GTO, and around twice as much as a mid-range car.

StillA study of the engine data reveals more impressive figures. To enable the racing versions to start in the four-liter class, the cylinder bore of the Ferrari 308 QV engine was reduced by one millimeter, resulting in a displacement of 2,855 cm3.

Two turbochargers put the V8 under high pressure

Taking into account the so-called turbo factor of 1.4, the result is a displacement of just under four liters. Yes, it is absolutely correct, the engine in the Ferrari 288 GTO is powered up by two Japanese IHI turbochargers. Their effect is optimized by two huge charge air coolers from Behr, in that they cool the compressed intake air by around 45 degrees.

What the Ferrari technicians actually squeezed out of this light metal engine is demonstrated by the value for the medium pressure, the incredible 21.8 bar. A Testarossa engine doesn't even cut in half. If this still doesn't send a shiver down your spine, you should consider the power output of the Ferrari 288 GTO: 400 hp at 7,000 rpm.

And what those with a mass of around 1,300 kilos (Ferrari 288 GTO fully fueled), makes even upper-class passengers scream like teenagers at a Tokio Hotel concert. Admittedly, even men can hardly stand this experience without making a noise. Everything starts with a turn of the ignition key and the push of the starter button located directly next to it.

The beast behind the driver

Then the beast wakes up behind the driver, which can almost compete in pitch and volume with a Formula 1 engine when it blows its exhaust gases through a sports exhaust system, as in the case of the Zender car. Quickly launched, the Ferrari 288 GTO leaves a deep black, two-lined autograph on the asphalt.

GTO seems to have a similar meaning to TNT - the temperament of the red flounder unfolds so explosively. The engine roars in higher and higher pitches and finally seems to aim for the high C. So far there has hardly been time for a breath. The orange needle on the rev counter twitches at just under 8,000 rpm, that's 86 km /h in first gear.

And this unbelievable acceleration orgy continues. If you cleverly snatch the not exactly smooth gear lever through the open backdrop of the Ferrari 288 GTO, you will pass the 100 km /h mark after 4.8 s. Should you continue playing the game, about eleven seconds later there are 200 things on the clock. One wonders when the point will come to take off.

In fact, the Ferrari 288 GTO is charging forward like a jet fighter. He emphatically reminds us that it was the first production sports car to break the magical 300 km /h limit. Even today he is therefore one of the fastest in the country. That especially for that timeA gigantic torque of 496 Nm at 3,800 rpm enables effortless flying along the country road.

If the engine speed is above 2,000 rpm, regardless of the gear selected, all you need to do is press the accelerator pedal to scoot past other road users - similar to what we know from powerful two-wheelers.


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