Ferrari hasn’t competed on the front lines of sports prototype racing since the 1970s – with one exception. That was with the 333 SP in the 1990s.
Designed specifically to take on the IMSA World Sports Car championship in North America, the 333 SP was the product of a joint effort between Ferrari, its longtime racing partner Michelotto, and racing constructor Dallara.
The design drew heavily on Formula One expertise, with a flat-bottomed carbon monocoque, pushrod suspension, and a 4.0-liter V12 that Ferrari somehow convinced the regulators was a downsized version of the road-going F50‘s 4.7-liter unit, not an enlarged version of its 036 3.5-liter F1 engine.
Little wonder it positively dominated, winning over a third of the races it entered. It took five wins in seven races in 1994, the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in 1995, and the Daytona 24 win in ’98 – Ferrari’s first there since 1967.
If you’re anything like us, you may have grown up watching in amazement as the 333 SP dominated the competition, barely fathoming the idea of what it’d be like to drive (let alone own) one. But that chance could be coming your way… if, that is, you’ve acquired the means by now to take advantage.
The sixth of only 40 examples made, this particular 333 was never raced. The Rhode Island customer who ordered it pulled out, and it has since passed through the hands of three more – the current and last of which sent it back to Michelotto last year for a full restoration and Ferrari Classiche certification, after which it was properly tested on the Fiorano circuit but only has one hour on the rebuilt engine. Now it’s consigned for RM Sotheby’s Leggenda e Passione auction, set to take place at the factory in Maranello less than a month from now.
The last 333 that RM tried to sell was Momo’s Daytona/Sebring race winner, which apparently failed to reach its reserve price at Monterey in 2014. The year before the same auctioneer sold another as-new example for $1.375 million, and we’d expect this one to sell for at least that much. (Photos by Charn Kamal, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)