Up Close And Personal With Ferrari F40 Le Mans Beurlys: Video
You have to think that anyone who would cut the top off a perfectly good 1987-1992 Ferrari F40 is a little touched in the head — doubly so if it’s one of only a handful of 1989-1994 Ferrari F40 LMs ever built. But that’s exactly what billionaire and gentleman racer Jean Blaton, who raced under the pseudonym Jean Beurlys, did to his F40 LM, chassis number 79890, which is now commonly called the 1989 Ferrari F40 LM Barchetta or F40 Beurlys.
YouTube channel Super Car Classics caught up with the F40 LM Barchetta’s current owner, Dirk Jan van Lente, at a track day at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, and joined him for a few hot laps. The high-strung 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 is capable of putting down 760 horsepower without restrictors, but Dirk has had it dialed back to around 600 horsepower so he doesn’t have to rebuild it on a weekly basis. Still, it’s more than enough to light up the massive rear tires when the IHI turbos spool up at lower speeds.
When it still had a roof, the F40 LM Barchetta successfully competed in the IMSA series in the United States. After purchasing it and bringing it back to Europe, Blaton approached Belgian race car builder Tony Gillet — who also built the 1997 Gillet Vertigo — with a few ideas to make his F40 even more unusual.
In addition to the obvious absence of a roof, it also has a fully stripped-out racing interior and a half-windshield made of Lexan. The steel roll cage not only makes it safer, but also compensates for the loss of rigidity inherent in roofless cars (especially ones not designed to be roofless). The double-wishbone suspension system was replaced with an inboard push-rod coil-over setup, and the exhaust was rerouted to exit in front of the rear wheels.
Ferrari doesn’t have much a sense of humor when it comes to people personalizing "its" cars to this extent. Just ask James Glickenhaus and Deadmau5. Because Ferrari didn’t give Blaton permission to make these modifications, the company demanded that he remove all Ferrari badges from the car, as well the ‘F40’ logo on the rear wing, and asked that he stopped referring to it as a Ferrari. I say phooey. Looks like a Ferrari to me.
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