Ferrari Finali Mondiali 2023 at Mugello
Volume 48 Issue 22
Nov 19, 2023
Finali Mondiali is a celebration of all Ferrari activities during the year. Olivier Bidaud goes to Mugello to enjoy the cars, history and what is new at Ferrari.
Every year in October, the Ferrari Finali Mondiali is one of the most awaited Ferrari events by their top customers and all the Ferrari community. Because it is a successful mix of passion, emotion, high-level hospitality, presentation of world premieres and of course a lot of track action!
Since 2017, each Ferrari Finali Mondiali event has been organized in Northern Italy. In 2018, the event was organized at Monza circuit and last year, at Imola. But these two events were exceptions, as in general the Finali are held at the Mugello circuit, a wonderful venue at the foot of the Apennine Mountains, a few kilometers in the north of Florence. This year, the Finali were back to the Mugello track, a circuit that was bought by Ferrari in 1988.
After the 2022 event marked the 30 years anniversary of Ferrari Challenge cars and races, 2023 event was of course celebrating Ferrari history at Le Mans, with its prestigious winning at the June centenary race, 50 years after Ferrari last participated in the most famous race in the world.
The traditional car exhibition was hosted in an impressively large marquee. When entering the structure, a large space enables one to discover two masterpieces: the very recent 296 GT3 (2023 was its first season in Endurance) with the car that won for the first time the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race with the Frikadelli Racing Team, and of course, the true star of the event, the Ferrari 499P that won the Centenary 24 Heures du Mans race in June 2023. Close to the car, the 24h du Mans winning trophies could also be admired.
When entering further into the marquee, the rest of the exhibition was displayed in a magnificent staging, and showed a nice selection of Ferrari with Le Mans race history.
A 166 MM Touring Barchetta was there represented by S/N 0040 M, a 375 MM Pinin Farina Spyder S/N 0362 AM/0374 AM, and a 500 TRC with S/N 0670 MDTR.
Also a 250 GTO with S/N 3851 GT restored in its 1962 Tour de France Auto configuration, a 250 GT SWB Berlinetta with S/N 2419 GT, and more.
But the exhibition also showed some cars that really participated in the Le Mans 24hr races, like 121 LM S/N 0546 LM that participated in the sad memory 1955 edition with Maurice Trintignant and Harry Shell (they did not finish the race), 750 Monza S/N 0504 M in the same edition with Michel Poberejsky and Masten Gregory (DNF also).
A 315 S S/N 0684 finished 5th overall in the 1957 edition and the Dino 268 SP S/N 0798 (1962 edition). A fantastic 330 P4 (S/N 0858) remembered the year of fierce battles against Ford GT40s (1967 edition), and for more recent history F40 LM S/N 74045, was displayed that participated twice in the Sarthe race (1995 and 1996) with its best result in 1995 (12th overall, 6th in GT1 class with Michel Ferté, Carlos Palau and Olivier Thévenin).
The other cars exhibited (more than twenty!) were Formula One cars, from a 1972 312 B2 to a 2022 SF-75 Show Car.
On Saturday, the marquee was the place to be if you wanted to get autographs from Ferrari racing drivers, and in the evening, to attend the exceptional gala dinner where Ferrari invited more than one thousand people from all over the world. At this occasion, two world premieres were revealed.
The first one is the long awaited 296 Challenge, the car that in 2024 will replace the 488 Challenge. The 488 Challenge is, by far, the most successful version of the Ferrari Challenge series with more than 900 units raced between 2017 and 2023, and also the car with the most longevity.
It was first presented in October 2016 during the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Daytona, in the USA, and an Evo version was unveiled in October 2019 at Mugello also during the Finali Mondiali.
This new 296 Challenge really opens a new concept in the Challenge Ferrari single-make series cars. Even if directly derived from the 296 GTB, it introduces substantial and radical modifications on the power unit, aero and vehicle dynamics, nearing more than ever its GT3 model counterpart, the 296 GT3.
The V6 engine - first ever 6 cylinders for a Challenge car - loses the hybrid part of the production model, and develops 700 horsepower. Removing the hybrid part of the engine enables weight gain, and with 234 HP/L, a record specific power output for the segment.
A new braking system and specific Pirelli tyres are other specific improvements. Everything was made by Ferrari developers to optimise track use, reliability and repeatability for this new 296 Challenge, while raising the bar in terms of overall performance. We’ll be able to watch the first races of this new car in Spring 2024.
The other world premiere was a huge surprise for everybody. Ferrari decided to adapt the 499P to a customer version. The concept is, like the F1 Clienti, to enable very wealthy Ferrari customers to buy a 499P version for track-only use. Its name is the 499P Modificata.
It is the first time than, rather than producing a race version of a road car, Ferrari proposes to their customers a car built around a Ferrari race car. And what a car!
The car with which Ferrari came back to endurance racing after 50 years of absence, and a race car that revealed successful from its debut with an exceptional victory in the Le Mans 24h Centenary race.
But Ferrari is very clear, these customer cars won’t be homologated for official racing competitions. They’ll only be used in a new Corse Clienti serie, named Sport Prototipi Clienti, announced at this occasion for the 2024 season.
Visually very similar to the 499P, the 499P Modificata offers more power than the 499P, being released of FIA regulatory constraints. The 499P Modificata’s hybrid powertrain combines a mid-rear mounted internal combustion V6 with an electric motor on the front axle.
The system can deliver a maximum power output of 870 HP. Indeed, an important modification made possible by the 499P Modificata’s freedom from specific regulatory constraints is the introduction of the “Push to Pass” system.
This system lets the driver benefit from 163 HP of power available for a limited period of time in addition to the nominal 707 HP output, thus achieving a total maximum power of 870 HP.
The logic is conceptually similar to that introduced in Formula 1 in 2009 with the KERS system. The cost of this high-end car was not revealed but rumours of a 5.1 Million € budget were heard, including two years of Ferrari event running costs.
On the track, activity was intense over the weekend, especially with the 488 Challenge 2023 finals. More than 100 cars and drivers in competition, that saw the victory of Thomas Fleming (HR Owen – FF Corse) in the Trofeo Pirelli and Franz Engstler (Charles Pozzi GT Racing) in the Trofeo Pirelli AM category. Alex Sartingen (Lueg Sportivo – Herter Racing) won the Coppa Shell World Title, while Martinus Richter (Mertel Motorsport) won the Coppa Shell AM race.
No less than 56 cars participated in the impressive XX Series, with 10 FXX models, 18 Ferrari 599 XX and XX Evo and a spectacular group of 28 FXX-K and FXX-K Evo, the latest evolution of the XX series.
On the Formula 1 side, the F1 Clienti program brought 19 cars, an F1-2000 from the 2000 season (Vincent Wong’s chassis 204) to SF70-H model from 2017 (Thomas Flohr’s chassis 323). Nearly every model from 2000 to 2013 was represented, which enabled the enthusiasts to have a quite complete overview of Ferrari F1 evolution over the years.
The recent GT Competizioni program, enabling customers to drive Endurance GT cars in a specific plateau, was very successful this year with more than 35 cars engaged. The oldest car was a wonderful yellow 360 GTC (S/N 2052) entered by French collector Philippe De Potter.
Numerous 458 Italia GT and 488 GT3 could enjoy the fantastic curves of the Mugello track, as well as 13 Ferrari 488 GT Modificata*.
Last but not least, two 296 GT3 were entered on this impressive GT Competizioni plateau.
On the road cars side, the actual Ferrari range was also available for viewing on site, including the new Roma Spider. Another display, besides a Monza SP1, a Daytona SP3 and the one-off KC23 special project based on the 488 GT3, showed the SP-8 (most recent Ferrari SP project based on the F8 Spider) and the two SF90 Stradale XX models, one coupé and one spider.
The Ferrari car park, for visitors coming with their Ferrari, was quite impressive with many interesting models, color combos and at least 17 European countries represented. Special quote to the ex-Jay Kay’s green LaFerrari (S/N 203504), was no-contest the star of the parking lot!
On Sunday, festivities ended with the traditional Ferrari Show. The brand new 499P Modificata and 296 Challenge did their first track laps in front of grandstands full of tifosi, followed by a 296 GT3 and a 488 GT3, the 499P.
Then the traditional F1 Show with hot laps and donuts. A final picture with dozens of F1, GT cars and Ferrari staff and pilots ended this wonderful moment of shared passion.
Ferrari announced that 2024 World Finals will be hosted at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola from 16 to 20 October 2024.
*The 488 GT Modificata is a limited edition revealed in November 2020 that incorporates the technology developed for the 488 GT3 and 488 GTE without the limits imposed by technical and sporting regulations. Like the new 499P Modificata, the 488 GT Modificata is exclusively dedicated for use during track days and at Ferrari Club Competizioni GT events.