The intersection of Group B racing and Ferrari is a moment in history that is rarely talked about, mainly because it never happened. But this car, the 1987 Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione, is a reminder that the automaker was looking to join the most extreme racing class of the ’80s.

One in five cars in existence was an evolution 288 GTOas permitted by FIA regulations, which were to be used to justify the brand’s entry into Group B sports car racing.

But the class was quickly canceled after a series of tragic events, therefore Ferrari stopped after building only five of the 20 certification models he intended to obtain. Although it has never had the chance to race, everything points to it being an impressive beast.

Read also: The Ferrari F40 Competizione and 288 GTO Evo are featured in Japanese cinema

Powered by a Tipo F114 CK engine, it was capable of producing 650 horsepower (485 kW/659 hp), a 60 percent increase over standard 288 GTO could manage. Weighing just 940 kg (2,072 lb), it had the best power-to-weight ratio of any competitor in its era and could reach 229.9 mph (369.9 km/h).

While it was an impressive performer, the new body, designed by Pininfarina and made of Kevlar and fiberglass, looks like it prioritized function over aesthetics. Put it next to the F40, however, and the ideas that have been worked on become immediately clear. Although far from identical to the supercar that came after it, the 288 GTO Evoluzione became an important test bed for the F40.

This example, chassis number 79888, is the fourth of five and was first purchased by Jean Blaton, a wealthy Belgian industrialist who was also a keen racing driver. He raced at Le Mans 15 times in the 50s, 60s and 70s, driving some of Ferrari’s most iconic cars, including 250 Testa Rossa250 LM, 250 GTO and 330 P4, among others.

One of Ferrari’s favorite privateers, it was the obvious recipient of the 288 GTO Evoluzione. Since then, the car has been owned by a number of collectors over the years, most notably Lawrence Stroll.

The car is now being sold by a dealer in Germany and was recently returned to Michelotto in Padua, who assisted Ferrari with the original assembly, to be serviced. Most of the perishable dampers, brake calipers, water pump and both turbines were repaired, new tires were installed and the original gearbox was restored to new condition.

The last GT racing car authorized by road legal force Enzo Ferrari is a piece of history and an important link in Ferrari history. What’s more, it’s very rare, so it’s worth a pretty penny at auction by RM Sotheby’s between October 19 and 21.

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