Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competition

The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competition was produced from 1971 to 1973.
The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competition was produced from 1971 to 1973.
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Ferrari clients who wanted to continue the tradition of customers racing Maranello’s road-based GTs were rewarded with special versions of the company’s leading street performer of the day, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona. The Daytona had been introduced at the 1968 Paris Auto Show, and shortly thereafter an aluminum-body version was prepared for U.S. distributor Luigi Chinetti to race at Le Mans in 1969. It crashed in practice, returned to the factory, and was sold.

More than a year passed before production began on what were officially the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competition Daytonas. Ferrari built them in three batches, for a total of 15 cars. Five were made in late 1970 and ’71, another quintet was constructed in 1972, and the final five were built in 1973.

Each had a lighter-than-stock body -- as much as 400 pounds lighter -- with extensive use of aluminum and fiberglass. They also used plexiglass side windows.

All retained the Daytona’s 4.4-liter twincam V-12. The first batch was rated at the stock 352 horsepower. The second group was tweaked with different heads and a higher compression ratio, sending horsepower over 400, while handling was improved with wider wheels. The third series was the most heavily modified. Horsepower rose to around 450, antiroll bars and brakes were changed, and a roll cage was installed.

Still, the 1970s were a far different era than the 1950s and early ’60s, when Ferrari catered to the racing needs of prominent importers, distributors, and clients. Now, factory support was minimal at best. Owners thus took matters into their own hands, and had racing shops such as Holman and Moody modify their cars. Chinetti even had stylist Giovanni Michelotti construct an entirely different body for his North American Racing Team’s 1975 Le Mans entry.

Competition Daytonas began racing in the 1971 season. Notable placings that year included 12th overall at Sebring, fourth and ninth at the Tour de France, and third at the Paris 1000 km.

The 365 GTB/4 Competition boasted a 4.4-liter twincam V-12.
The 365 GTB/4 Competition boasted a 4.4-liter twincam V-12.

The cars fared even better in 1972. Highlights included a first-in-GT at Le Mans for the team of French Ferrari importer Charles Pozzi. Other privateer GTB/4s finished fifth through ninth in the 24 Hour classic. At the Tour de France, it was an outright win for Jean-Claude Andruet, with another Competition Daytona finishing second.

Usually a bit overweight, but durable and powerful, racing the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competitions continued to compete through the 1970s. At Le Mans, they were sixth overall in 1973 and fifth and sixth overall in 1974. At Daytona, it was a seventh overall in 1975 and a sixth overall in 1976.

Then, in 1979, five years after production had stopped, a series-three model driven by Americans John Morton and Tony Adamowicz capped the Ferrari Competition Daytona story at the 24 Hours of Daytona with a first in the GTO class and a remarkable second overall behind the winning Porsche 935.

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