The latest Prancing Horse one-off is a beauty when parked but a beast on the track, taking inspiration from Ferrari’s legendary models

It’s no easy feat to stand out in the high-dollar world of custom Ferraris, but the P80/C manages exactly that with a unique style that has us staring. Mixing old-school inspiration with cutting-edge go-fast technology, the P80/C manages to shuck the constraints of both competition homologation and street legality, and the result is bold and gorgeous.

2019 Ferrari P80/C - The Client And The Cost

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured here.

First off, we have to say that while we don’t have any official word on the final cost of the 2019 Ferrari P80/C, this new one-off is most likely outrageously, eye-wateringly expensive. If we were to speculate, we’d guess the bottom line is many millions of dollars, plus the cost of the car that provided the oily bits and platform underneath.

2008 Ferrari 612 P4/5
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Note: 2006 Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina pictured here.

For some perspective, consider the cost of James Glickenhaus’ one-off Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina. Originally making its debut in 2006, the Enzo-based P4/5 also came with P series-inspired styling, and when it was all said and done, Glickenhaus dropped as much as $4 million to make it a reality.

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured here.

Back to the P80/C. This latest custom coupe was ordered up by an unnamed private client, described by the automaker as a “great connoisseur of the Ferrari world, [who] comes from a family of long-time Prancing Horse enthusiasts and admirers, and is himself a highly knowledgable, discerning Ferrari collector.”

We did a little digging, and it’s possible the P80/C was commissioned by a client named Mr. TK Mak, who’s involved with various Ferrari racing events and connected to a Hong Kong-based Ferrari dealer.

Check out more information on the potential client in our preview piece for the Ferrari P80/C here.

2019 Ferrari P80/C - The Goal

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C rendering pictured here.

Whoever the client was, the end goal was clear - “create a modern sports prototype inspired by iconic models from Ferrari’s history: the 330 P3/P4 on the one hand and the 1966 Dino 206 S on the other.”

These two models are some of Ferrari’s more influential racing cars, not only inspiring lust among the moneyed car collectors of the world, but also leading to the creation of such iconic street cars as the Dino 206/246 GT.

Ultra-rare 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 going to auction
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Note: Ferrari 330 P3 pictured here.

If you’ve never heard of the Ferrari 330 P3/P4, it’s definitely worth a closer look. The 330 P3/P4 is considered one of the most beautiful racing cars on the planet. Constructed from a tubular chassis and fiberglass body, the P3/P4 came equipped with a V-12 engine making 420 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, enabling a top speed of 310 km/h (193 mph).

Various iterations of the 330 P ran in a number of sports car GT and endurance racing series throughout the ‘60s, and hit the scene as an updated mid-engine prototype to help Ferrari assert its dominance in the sport. To that end, Ferrari ran the 330 P at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964, besting the challenge presented by Ford and the new GT40 with a clean podium sweep (the Ferrari 275P took first place, while the 330 P took second and third).

Ultra-rare 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 going to auction
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Note: Ferrari 330 P3 pictured here.

Ferrari later introduced the 330 P3, which came with new fiberglass doors and a new fuel injection system, taking overall victory at Monza and Spa. The P3 was eventually beat by Ford at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1966 - 1967 Ferrari 330 P3 one of the most beautiful race cars in the world
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Note: Ferrari 330 P4 pictured here.

Ferrari updated the P3 to the P4 in 1966 in a bid to take on the mighty Ford GT40. While the P4 did manage to secure victory at Daytona, it ended up losing to Ford at Le Mans, but still secured a 2-3 finish behind the Blue Oval.

Long story short, the history and aesthetic of the Ferrari 330 P3/P4 is legendary, and definitely worthy of providing inspiration for this new one-off model.

1968 Ferrari Dino 206 GT
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Note: Dino 206 GT pictured here.

The P80/C was also inspired by the Dino 206. Framed as a scaled-down version of the Ferrari 330 P3, the Dino 206 S was based on the 206 SP, but offered a lower overall weight. Motivation was derived from a 2.0-liter V-6 stuffed with Formula 1-spec technology, with output rated at 220 horsepower at 9,000 rpm. Top speed is rated at 270 km/h (168 mph). Like the P series, the Dino 206 S was also successful in competition, racking up a number of class wins over the years.

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
- image 832263
Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured here.

Getting back to the 2019 Ferrari P80/C, it’s interesting that the one-off was designed as a racing car. While it’s tempting to say the client just wanted the coupe as a fun toy and had great admiration for models like the 330 P3/P4, we think the racing pedigree is also for investment purposes.

No doubt, the client who commissioned the P80/C is aware that Ferrari’s classic racing cars are the most sought-after vehicles in the collector world.

For example, in August of 2018, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $48.4 million at the RM Sotheby’s event in Monterey, California, setting the record for most-expensive car ever sold at public auction. Other examples include another 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold in 2014 at the Bonham’s auction in Carmel, California, for $38.1 million. Then there’s the 1957 Ferrari 335S that sold in 2016 at Artcurial in Paris, France, for $35.7 million, and the 1956 Ferrari 290 MM that sold in 2015 at RM Sotheby’s in New York, New York, for $28 million.

As such, the client might be playing the long game on this one. Of course, that’s just speculation, but in the face of all those millions and millions of dollars listed above, it seems like a smart move all the same.

2019 Ferrari P80/C - Development

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C rendering pictured here.

Development for the 2019 Ferrari P80/C began in 2015, which means the P80/C comes with the longest development time of any Ferrari one-off ever created. “This highly intense gestation period was the result of in-depth styling research and lengthy engineering development, with meticulous analysis of performance parameters as well as scrupulous aerodynamic testing, all with a different approach than taken by Ferrari with its one-off cars in the past.”

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C’s exterior is undoubtedly the most striking thing about the one-off.

It combines an old-school coachwork approach with the scientific focus of a modern track car, thus creating a unique combination of form and function. The aesthetic is definitely very aggressive, and Ferrari frames it as the “most extreme one-off design ever.” While we’re not totally sold on that claim (the P4/5 by Pininfarina is pretty damn extreme!), the P80/C’s look definitely grabs your eyeballs.

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C rendering pictured here.

The Ferrari Styling Centre took up the task of putting the client’s wishes to form, with direction pulled from none other than Flavio Manzoni. Interestingly, the engineering and aero teams worked directly with the client to create the design, and as a track car, the shape’s performance at speed was one of the team’s primary concerns - even more so than on a standard Ferrari road car. The end result is a unique look that’s weighted more towards function over form, even though the P80/C is gorgeous to behold.

2016 Ferrari 488 GT3
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Note: 2016 Ferrari 488 GT3 pictured here.

Underneath to new body panels, the 2019 Ferrari P80/C is based on the chassis of the Ferrari 488 GT3, which debuted in 2016 at the second round of the 2016 Australian GT Championship, accumulating numerous wins thereafter. The Ferrari 488 GT3 is the successor to the 458 Italia GTC and GT3, and comes with its own competition-spec aero, but the same engine as the road car.

As such, the Ferrari P80/C’s oily bits match those of the 488 GT3 and 488 road car. For reference, the lump in question is a twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8, which produces upwards of 661 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 561 pound-feet of torque. The engine mates to a seven-speed dual-clutch F1-style automatic transmission.

2016 Ferrari 488 GTB Drivetrain Specs
Type V8 – 90° Turbo
Overall displacement 3,902 cm3
Maximum power 660 HP @ 8,000 RPM
Maximum torque 560 LB-FT @ 3,000 rpm in VII gear
0-100 km/h (62 mph) 3.0 seconds
0 -200 km/h (124 mph) 8.3 seconds
Maximum speed 330 KM/H (205 MPH)
Considering the desirability of a manual transmission in collector cars, a stick shift may have been the better choice if this thing is gonna collect value over time.

That said, going for a row-your-own gearbox with the 488 powertrain would most likely be a very difficult (and ultimately compromised) conversion, making it not worth the effort. What’s more, when this thing hits the auction block in 20 or 30 years, it’s unlikely anyone is gonna know how to work a traditional manual transmission anyway!

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured here.

Moving on, the 488 GT3 provides a longer wheelbase than the road-going equivalent, adding an extra 50 mm (1.97 inches) compared to the standard 488 GTB (104.3 inches versus 106.3 inches). This longer wheelbase “allowed more creative freedom” for the Ferrari design team, giving the P80/C the desired cab-forward proportions and an extended tail line.

To this canvas, the team then added a number of styling references inspired by the Ferrari 330 P3/P4, the Dino, and the 250 LM berlinettas.

left right
Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured on the left, Ferrari P3 pictured on the right.

The profile gets a traditional speed-wedge shape, while the plus-sized front and rear wings add seriously muscular proportions. You’ll also find wide flying buttress-type c-pillars, and a wraparound windshield to add to the car’s sleek attitude, while wider intakes front and back inhale the atmosphere. The aluminum louvres on the engine cover are also a direct nod to the 330 P3/P4.

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C aero pictured here.

Viewed from above, the 2019 Ferrari P80/C gets a very sexy hourglass shape, with the widest point found over the front axle.

While the front splitter is unique to the P80/C, the vortex generators and rear diffuser are identical to those on the GT3 race car. The aerodynamic profile was inspired by the “T-wing” from the 2017 Formula 1 season, wherein a large “shark fin” aero element helped to up the racing cars’ stability at speed. The end result is a 5-percent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency compared to the GT3 racing car.

left right
Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured on the left, Ferrari 206 GT pictured on the right.

What’s more, the P80/C’s track-only designation meant the designers had more freedom to build the car as desired by the client. That meant no clunky headlight housings up front or taillight housings in the rear, both of which are replaced by simple forward lighting bars.

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured here.
Ferrari updated the running gear as well, offering two setups for the P80/C - a racing configuration with a carbon fiber wing and 18-inch center-lock wheels, as well as an “exhibition” setup with 21-inch wheels and less aero flamboyance.

The whole thing is constructed from carbon fiber, similar to the lightweight fiberglass design of the original P3/P4. The color is a classic shade of Rosso Vero, while bare carbon sections punctuate the body with some black composite tastiness.

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured here.

Finally, the cabin is similar to that of the 488 GT3 race car, and includes a roll cage that’s integrated with the bodywork. However, the 2019 Ferrari P80/C is slightly less spartan thanks to new upholstery for the seats, as well as carbon door panels.

The P80/C Takes Its Place Among Ferrari’s Limited Editions

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured here.

Per tradition, the Ferrari 488 has provided a number of one-off and special editions beyond the P80/C.

2018 Ferrari SP38 Exterior
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Note: 2018 Ferrari SP38 pictured here.

The first that comes to mind is the Ferrari SP38 Deborah, a one-off that was designed to look like the Ferrari F40 and the Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS. The SP38 Deborah took almost 18 months to complete, which is a long time, but just a fraction of the four years it took to build the P80/C. While the SP38 Deborah’s mechanical bits match those of the standard 488, the styling is all-new, and includes a new front end, new rear intakes, and a new integrated rear wing and carbon fiber engine cover. The exterior “Deborah red” paint is also new, as are the wheels.

Ferrari J50 High Resolution Exterior
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Note: 2016 Ferrari J50 pictured here.

Prior to the debut of the Ferrari SP38 Deborah, the Prancing Horse introduced the J50 in 2016, a limited edition targa-top based on the 488 Spider. Offered as a celebration of Ferrari’s 50th anniversary in the Japanese market, the J50 was designed by Flavio Manzoni, the same brain that helped to make the P80/C. The styling cues on the J50 are a bit later than those used with the P80/C, pulling from the sports cars Ferrari built in the ‘70s and ‘80s. In addition, the J50 comes with a carbon fiber roof and 20 extra ponies, with as much as 681 horsepower produced from the mid-mounted twin-turbo V-8. Just 10 examples were built.

2008 Ferrari 612 P4/5
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Note: 2006 Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina pictured here.

Finally, we’ve gotta take it back to 2006, where the one-off Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Commissioned by film director James Glickenhaus, who also owns and manages Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, the P4/5 is styled after Ferrari’s ‘60s race cars, just like the P80/C. However, under the skin, the P4/5 is based on the Ferrari Enzo, and can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. Pricing for the P4/5 rang to the tune of $4 million, plus the cost of the Enzo underneath the new body panels, giving us an idea what the P80/C could have cost.

Conclusion

The 2019 Ferrari P80/C Mates Form and Function In Perfect Harmony
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Note: 2019 Ferrari P80/C pictured here.

All told, the 2019 Ferrari P80/C is an impressive machine, and it will undoubtedly hold a place of honor among the Prancing Horse’s many one-off and special edition models.

The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Joins Ferrari's Lineup as a Successor to the 488
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Note: 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo pictured here.

It’s also worth noting that the P80/C arrive arrives hot on the heels of the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo, a mass-production model that’s intended as a replacement for the Ferrari 488 GTB. Basically, the F8 Tributo is a facelift for the 488, but with a new name to boot, incorporating a number of aero components lifted from the 488 Pista. The F8 Tributo is also 90 pounds lighter than the 488 GTB. Mounted just behind the cabin of the of the F8 Tributo is a 710-horsepower 3.9-liter turbo V-8, just like the Pista. The F8 Tributo also matches the Pista in terms of acceleration posting a time of 2.9 seconds in the 0-to-60 mph benchmark.

So then, perhaps Ferrari is looking to milk as much as possible from the 488 as it makes way for its successor. And to our eyes, the P80/C certainly makes for an impressive sendoff.

Further Reading

We're All On the Edge of Our Seats Waiting For Ferrari's Next One-Off Project
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We’re All On The Edge Of Our Seats Waiting For Ferrari’s Next One-Off Project

1968 - 1969 Ferrari Dino 206 GT
- image 320208

Read our full review on the 1968 - 1969 Ferrari Dino 206 GT.

2016 Ferrari 488 GT3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 654621

Read our full review on the 2016 Ferrari 488 GT3.

2018 Ferrari SP38 Exterior
- image 781168

Read our full review on the 2018 Ferrari SP38.

Ferrari J50 High Resolution Exterior
- image 698124

Read our full review on the 2016 Ferrari J50.

2016 Ferrari 488 GTB Exterior
- image 622157

Read our full review on the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB.

The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo Joins Ferrari's Lineup as a Successor to the 488
- image 826523

Read our full review on the 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo here.

Creating an entirely new and modern take on the Ferrari sports prototype concept is both an ambitious and complex undertaking. But it was in this spirit, and with very specific input from the client, that the new Ferrari one-off, the P80/C, was conceived. The Ferrari Styling Centre, under the direction of Flavio Manzoni, and the engineering and aerodynamics team worked hand-in-glove with the client, sharing principles and visions in order to create a new “Hero Car” with an absolutely unique and authentic soul.

The client, a great connoisseur of the Ferrari world, comes from a family of long-time Prancing Horse enthusiasts and admirers, and is himself a highly knowledgeable, discerning Ferrari collector. He was thus the perfect partner with whom to craft such a demanding project which required the highest level of interaction as well as emotional involvement.

The client’s basic brief was to create a modern sports prototype inspired by iconic models from Ferrari’s history: the 330 P3/P4 on the one hand and the 1966 Dino 206 S on the other.

The P80/C thus set the Ferrari Styling Centre an ambitious target: to develop a new kind of product that simply did not exist in the current Ferrari range: a sports prototype inspired by the cars that essentially wrote their own styling rules becoming, in the process, famous icons that, although conceived as track cars, also went on to influence a whole series of elegant road cars. A case in point is the very close relationship between, for instance, the Dino 206 S racing car and the production Dino 206/246 GT. Both versions share a common DNA despite having a different styling lexicon: Ferrari racing elements appear in the case of the former while the latter have the more sober, refined lines of the road cars.

The Ferrari Styling Centre’s goal was to create a resolutely modern car that made no major concessions to the past, apart from attempting to recreate the sensual shape of those iconic models through more muscular wings formed by the intersection of concave and convex surfaces.

Kicked off in 2015, the P80/C project had the longest development time of any Ferrari one-off made to date. This highly intense gestation period was the result of in-depth styling research and lengthy engineering development, with meticulous analysis of performance parameters as well as scrupulous aerodynamic testing, all with a different approach than taken by Ferrari with its one-off cars in the past.

Normally speaking, this kind of car tends to be a stylistic reinterpretation of models in the current range - a new concept or basic idea that marks a departure from the donor car is built on existing running gear. The glorious history of Italian coachbuilding is just that: a wealth of exceptional cars based on the same chassis, but bodied by different coachworks.

The P80/C, however, is radically different. It is a track car, which means that performance is a major factor so this not only pointed the design team in the direction of a design that was absolutely unique, but also forced them to make radical changes to the running gear of the donor car. This involved introducing specific features required to guarantee a captivating marriage of style, technical prowess and aerodynamics.

The decision was made to use the 488 GT3 chassis as a basis, not only for its performance, but also for its longer wheelbase (+ 50 mm compared to the 488 GTB) which allowed more creative freedom. With respect to the Ferrari 488’s classic layout in which the cockpit tends to be placed centrally, the GT chassis allowed the designers to emphasis a cab forward-effect in which the rear is elongated, lending the car a more aggressive, compact character. This was one of the cornerstones of the P80/C’s styling from the early stages of the design process.

A decisive wedge shape dominates the side view at the front of the car. The muscular forms of the front and rear wings with the cockpit set in between are emphasised by very broad buttresses that expand towards the side air intakes. This gives the impression that the cabin is completely fused with the body, and is accentuated still further by the wrap-around windscreen which references the iconic look of sports prototypes of the past. The flying buttresses converge towards the roof underlining the visor effect of the greenhouse. All of these features are references not only to the 330 P3/P4 but also homage to the Dino and the 250 LM berlinettas.

The side windows merge graphically with a wide pocket created by the side air intakes giving a dynamic downward movement to the rear flanks. This disruptive line balances the wedge-shaped front flanks and visually separates the rear section from the rest of the car.

Seen from above, it is clear that the bodywork is widest over the front axle, but then narrows sharply, creating a tightly sculpted waistline around the rear door before broadening out again dramatically at the tail. This particularly iconic kind of architecture is also emphasised by flying buttress-type C-pillars which are physically detached from the cabin. On the one hand, the C-pillars wraparound the intercooler air intakes, while on the other, they accentuate the sharp drop in height between the roof and the surfaces of the rear engine cover. Compared to a more normal continuation of the roofline over the engine cover, a more extreme solution was preferred, creating a large void rear of the cockpit with a vertical rear screen.

Aerodynamic development was based on the experience gained with the 488 GT3, but was not governed by the restrictions imposed by international regulations. Thus the front splitter is specific and, while the expansion curve and vortex generators of the rear diffuser are the same as those used on the GT3, the external surfaces are all unique to the P80/C. The result is an improvement of around 5% in overall efficiency, required to make full use of the unrestricted engine.

The objective was to balance the upper bodywork’s downforce evenly over the two axles, making full use of the 488 GT3’s underbody. The configuration of the rear bodywork required the adoption of an aerodynamic profile that sits immediately rear of the trailing edge of the roof to provide a strong recompression of the flow rearwards, reinforcing the downforce generated by the tail and the wing. This aerodynamic profile was inspired by the T-wing adopted in Formula 1 in 2017 and here is designed to reduce the length of the flow over the rear, creating the effect of a very short ‘virtual’ rear windscreen and an extremely limited separation bubble.

The front of the car has a catamaran-style formal geometry. The jutting effect of the nose is underscored by its almost wing-like shape which the interplay of voids highlights very effectively. The large radiator air vents are located just behind this wing-like structure and these outlets over the front bonnet underline the powerfully muscular wings.

The fact that the P80/C is homologated only for track use meant that it could do without components that would be deemed vital in a road car, and which would also heavily influence its styling. Classic head lights have essentially disappeared. Or rather they have been reduced to mere slits set into niches at the front of the car reminiscent of the air intake housings in the grille of the 330 P3/P4. Unlike the 330, however, in the P80/C, said housings are not set into an oval grille but look more like two pockets carved out of the front of the car.

The same styling element reappears at the rear of the car. The rear spoiler is very wide to meet aerodynamic requirements and incorporates the two signature tail lights in a way that makes them look like air vents, thus perfectly reflecting the design of the front.

Even the rear fascia, which leaves the running gear fully visible, has a catamaran-type architecture. This allowed the inside to be completed devoid of bodywork. In fact, its sole occupant is a grille to help evacuate heat from the engine bay. The space left is occupied by a huge rear diffuser which seems almost to be separate from the rest of the car.

The adoption of a concave rear windscreen and aluminium louvres on the engine cover, a reference to the 330 P3/P4, gives the P80/C’s tail an instantly recognisable and unique look.

At the client’s request, the car was designed with a dual soul: a racing set-up, which includes quite a showy carbon-fibre wing and 18” single-nut wheels, and an exhibition package complete with 21” wheels but devoid of aerodynamic appendages, to highlight the purity of its forms.

The P80/C’s design language was crafted to be instantly clear. Although made entirely from carbon-fibre, only the parts with strictly technical functions have been left bare, while the main car body has been painted a bright statement Rosso Vero. The name was chosen by the client, proving that his loyalty to Ferrari’s sports prototype tradition extends all the way to colour.

The interior is very much the same as that of the donor car with a roll cage integrated into the bodywork. The side sections of the dashboard have been redesigned from the version seen on the 488 GT3, as have the seat upholstery and door panels – the latter are now carbon-fibre shells and no have no impact on the car’s weight.

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