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Coachwork by Designed by Pininfarina Coachwork by Michelotto
*Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.
The Ecurie Pozzi-Ferrari France
The F40 LM
The F40 LM, one of the most memorable GT-based competition cars of the modern era, was the result of a successful collaboration between Ferrari, Michelotto, and Ecurie Pozzi.
In 1987 Ferrari unveiled the now-legendary F40. Although Ferrari did not intend to race this new supercar, it immediately attracted the attention of privateers who saw tremendous potential in the exotic, twin-turbocharged sports car.
Among those interested were Daniel Marin and Jean Sage of Charles Pozzi SA. Since the early 1970s, Ecurie Pozzi had campaigned GT-based Ferrari racing cars with great success. Beginning with the Daytona Competiziones, Pozzi went on to campaign 512 BBs, 512 BB LMs, and Group 4 308s in leading international events. During this period, Pozzi developed a close working relationship with Autofficina Giuliano Michelotto, the famed Padova, Italy-based Ferrari specialist.
As Michelotto had already developed the 288 GTO Evoluzione for Group B, it was only fitting that Ferrari and Ecurie Pozzi commissioned the firm to turn the road-going F40 into a serious racing car.
By the late 1980s, GT racing had all but disappeared in Europe. With Group B outlawed for safety reasons and the World Manufacturers Championship left to Group C cars, the F40 LM was designed to race in the IMSA GT Championship’s GTO category, which was dominated by a series of factory-supported space-frame specials.
To compete with these purpose-built machines, the F40 LM employed a reinforced chassis, lightweight composite bodywork, adjustable coil-spring suspension, 17" OZ racing wheels, and massive Brembo brakes. With increased boost, larger intercoolers, high-performance camshafts, and a revised Weber-Marelli management system, the F40 LM was conservatively rated at 760 bhp, with as much as 900 bhp available in qualifying trim.
In total, Michelotto built just 18 examples of the original F40 LM. Of those, the two Ecurie Pozzi team cars were the only examples that ever raced.
The F40 LM presented here, 79891, is the second of just two examples built for Ecurie Pozzi’s 1990 IMSA effort.
The first F40 LM, chassis 79890, was completed in fall 1988 and underwent extensive testing at Fiorano before its maiden race at Laguna Seca in October 1989. With the experience gained from these early outings, Michelotto began to construct the second Ecurie Pozzi F40 LM, chassis 79891, on January 16, 1990.
On May 6, 1990, 79891 made its competition debut at the Camel Grand Prix at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas. Driven by French Formula 1 ace Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Jean-Louis Schlesser, the Ecurie Pozzi F40 LM managed to qualify in 4th position, but was unable to finish its first race due to an oil seal failure in one of the turbochargers.
The next race for the F40 LM took place on June 3rd, at the Grand Prix of Ohio. With Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Olivier Grouillard behind the wheel, the Ferrari didn’t miss a beat throughout the entire 250 km race. The team finished 3rd overall, just behind the Roush Mercury and the Fabcar Mazda. This remarkable result at Mid-Ohio was instrumental in Ecurie Pozzi securing sponsorship from Art Sports.
On June 24th, the F40 LM raced at Mosport in Canada with a new team of drivers. French Formula 1 star Jacques Lafitte and legendary American endurance racer Hurley Haywood gave a brilliant performance and captured a 2nd place finish, the best result yet for an F40 LM.
Although the Ecurie Pozzi F40 LMs were remarkably competitive throughout the remainder of the 1990 IMSA season, the new cars were still largely untested and handicapped by a lack of development. Following its back-to-back podium finishes, 79891 raced in just two subsequent events. At Road America, alternator problems forced Alain Ferté to retire early and at Lime Rock Park, Hurley Haywood was sidelined with a damaged exhaust system.
At the end of the season, the Ecurie Pozzi team cars returned to Paris. Despite their championship-winning potential, a lack of sponsorship and factory support killed the F40 LM’s competition career.
In January 1991, 79891 was officially transferred from Ferrari to Charles Pozzi SA and the car remained in the Pozzi collection until 2000, when it was sold to French industrialist Gérard Autajon. Two years later, the Ecurie Pozzi F40 LM joined Jean-Pierre Slavic’s exceptional stable of road and racing Ferraris.
During Mr. Slavic’s ownership, the Ferrari was test driven at the Circuit Dijon- Prenois and featured in his collection book Emotions. In March 2007, 79891 was certified by the Ferrari Classiche Department, confirming that the chassis, bodywork, engine (0002), gearbox (005), suspension, and braking system are all the correct and original components.
In 2009, 79891 returned to the US, and it has since been a fixture in a private New York-area collection. Throughout this time, respected Ferrari specialist Classic Coach Repair, Inc. of Elizabeth, New Jersey, has maintained the F40 LM in race-ready condition.
Included in the car’s file are invoices totaling more than $250,000 that attest to extensive mechanical and cosmetic work performed over the past three years. This process included rebuilding the gearbox, disassembling and refurbishing the suspension, replacing the fuel bladders, performing a valve job, and preparing the bodywork and interior for racing.
Since its comprehensive mechanical rebuild, the F40 LM has been successfully campaigned in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. In 2010, it captured a 2nd place finish at Palm Beach International Raceway and in 2011 it scored back-to-back wins at Lime Rock. With its immense power, traditional five-speed transaxle gearbox, and absence of modern traction control systems, the F40 LM can challenge even the most talented drivers and is widely regarded as the ultimate GT-based Ferrari racing car.
In preparation for its appearance at auction, 79891 has been refinished in its original 1990 racing livery, with the correct Team 0123 and Art Sports sponsorship graphics faithfully applied. It should also be noted that this important F40 LM is offered with the Ferrari Classiche “Red Book,” recent restoration receipts, and a history report compiled by marque historian Marcel Massini.
The two Pozzi F40 LMs, 79890 and 79891, are not to be confused with the multitude of customer F40 LMs, GTs, and GTEs that followed. Campaigned for an entire season under Ferrari’s ownership, the Ecurie Pozzi team cars received a fair amount of factory support and were the only F40 LMs raced with any success in period.
The two Ecurie Pozzi F40 LMs also helped establish a successful template for Ferrari GT and sports-racing cars in the modern era. From these two F40 LMs evolved a new generation of two-seat Ferrari competition cars, including the F40 GT, F40 GTE, 333 SP, F50 GT, and F430 GT2.
Today, 79891 is the sole example in private ownership. The fact that its sister car, 79890, has been a part of the Pozzi collection since the close of the 1990 racing season is a powerful testament to the enduring significance of the original Ferrari France team cars. Since leaving the Pozzi collection, 79891 has had just three owners, each a respected and knowledgeable proponent of the Ferrari marque.
Considering its historical significance, documented provenance, outstanding preparation, and extraordinary performance, this F40 LM is a genuine piece of Ferrari racing history and a worthy addition to the most discriminating collection.