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Why the Ferrari 288 GTO is so special

Road & Track logo Road & Track 12/2/2019 Mack Hogan
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The Ferrari GTO—or the 288 GTO, as it's more commonly known—is one of the most unique Ferraris out there. It's a homologation special built for a series that never existed, a raucous track attack car only ever built for the street, and a gorgeous design straight out of the eighties.

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But in case you're unfamiliar with the weird and interesting story behind the 288 GTO, former Formula One driver Alain de Cadenet goes over it in a new video from Petrolicious.

a red car parked in front of a building: A former Formula One driver walks us through it.© Screenshot: Petrolicious on YouTube A former Formula One driver walks us through it.

See, the "O" in GTO stands for "omologata," the Italian word for "homologated." The GTO was built as part of the homologation requirements for the Group B circuit racing series, which required you to produce 200 road versions of the car you planned to race. Similar in concept to the Group B rally series, Group B circuit racing was supposed to pit the most insane road-going supercars against each other on paved tracks.

But it never happened. A series of bad accidents and driver deaths caused the Group B World Rally Championship to crater in popularity, sinking the case for a spinoff series. So the racing series that looked ready to pit 1980s hypercars from Ferrari, Porsche, and Jaguar against each other never came to fruition.

Yet, 272 GTOs did make it out of Modena. The result is a brilliant, loud, amazing supercar built for a future that didn't exist. Road & Track editor-at-large Sam Smith was stunned by the GTO when he drove it, as de Cadenet is in this video. It's a special thing to see in motion and, as per usual, Petrolicious does a great job of capturing the car in all of its glory.

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