No marque in the history of motorsport evokes such passion and carries such rich history as Ferrari. From its conception, Ferrari has remained a dominant force and innovative leader in the world of sports car racing both on the track and back in the day on the road in events such as the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and Tour de France. Although Ferrari withdrew its Works Team from sports car racing in 1973 to concentrate on Formula 1, Ferrari continued to be campaigned with dominant success in the hands of private teams.
As Ferrari marked its return to sports car racing, as a factory team, with an impressive victory at this years Le Mans 24 Hours, the demand for and use of Ferrari, in the wide array of historic motorsport, is as strong as ever.
From its introduction at the Paris Salon in 1975, the stunningly beautiful 308 GTB, with its Pininfarina styling, had never initially been intended for competition use. However just a year later saw the debut of an experimental 308 racer. With the Ferrari race department focussing on Formula 1, the prototype was built by the Assistenza Clienti department under Gaetano Florida. His intention was to make a 308 racer for Group 4 that could contest international events such as the Targa Florio and Le Mans. This was motivated by a NART prepared 308 GT4 which had run at Le Mans in 1974 and 1975.
With a limited number of Ferrari 308’s built to Group 4 and Group B specification by Michelotto, between 1978 and 1985. These were primarily used for rallying at the highest level. The 308 soon proved itself a highly capable and formidable competitor with Jean-Claude Andreatte taking outright victory in the Tour de France two years in a row, in the iconic Pioneer liveried, Charles Pozzi entered Group 4 cars.
The public success of these fabulous rally cars inevitably lead to more cars being converted to competition use by privateer teams, both in the US and Europe, and this car is one of them. Racing for these cars in the UK really started to take flight with the formation of the Maranello Ferrari Challenge in the mid 1980s.
Col Ronnie Hoare, the founder of Maranello Concessionaires, was enthusiastic about the Ferrari Club GB’s racing activities from the word ‘go’. He requested that the club arrange a racing championship for all Ferrari cars. He supported this by arranging and footing the bill for hospitality, and even sent his fellow directors – Shaun Bealey and Ivan Bishop – to all the rounds. The very first official Maranello Ferrari Challenge race was at Mallory Park in May 1986.
This Car 19278:
Supplied new as a fibreglass bodied car, 19278 was sold new to Lancaster Garages to be used as a demonstrator and was first registered on 6th July 1976
The competition history of 19287 began in 1987 in the hands of Robbie Stirling. Having purchased the car at the end of 1986, he entrusted QV Motors who were specialists in Ferrari repairs and race preparation with getting the car ready on his behalf ahead of the seasons racing. The car was then entered into the Maranello Ferrari Challenge.
With the season opener at Silverstone, Stirling was a success in 19287 from the outset, qualifying and finishing in 2nd place. Moving onto Brands Hatch, just over a month later, Stirling had the perfect weekend in 19287. Qualifying on pole, he went on to win the race outright, setting fastest lap of the race in the process.
The victories continued with 1st place finishes at two Donington Park events and Oulton Park. As the 1987 season drew to a close, despite qualifying on pole for Castle Coombe and Zandvoort, sadly 19287 retired from these races, Stirling and 19287 won the 1987 Pirelli Maranello Ferrari Challenge championship, as well as wining and Driver of the Year.
During 1987 Stirling and 19287 also competed in 9 other non championship events, qualifying first Ferrari in all and winning all, with fastest laps, except one race, where he finished 2nd at Silverstone. Along side this achievement 19287 also won at Donington and Oulton Park and finished 3rd at Zandvoort in non championship rounds.
For the 1988 championship, having very much shown the competitiveness of the car throughout the 1987 season Stirling reached out to Hendon Way Motors and received some sponsorship money in return for their name to be shown on the front of the leading Ferrari. This helped him towards entries and tyres, and proved a very good investment for the company as this was to be Robbie Stirlings best season. Winning every single event (except for one retirement in the first round) of the season. 19287 also took fastest lap at every single race and secured lap records at Donington Park, Brands Hatch, Silverstone and Snetterton. By the end of the season Sterling took his second Pirelli Marranello Ferrari Challenge title in 19287, as well as Driver of the Year for the second year in a row.
The 1988 season of racing also consisted of a trip to the Nurburgring in June for the ADAC 24 Hours. Robbie Stirling shared the driving duties of 19287 with fellow Ferrari challenge competitors, Ross Hyatt and Tony Worswick, and although the trio began their weekend on the reserves list, they made it into qualifying. Once underway they had to stop in the first few hours of the race and weld up the chassis. Later during the night the team hit what they believed to be a hare and dislodged a headlight. A few hours later Ross Hyatt suffered a very high speed tyre failure, despite struggling to swap the wheel the team made it back, only losing a few laps and came home with a 4th in class. Very good going considering the time lost with incidents. Hyatt and Stirling would go on to race in a Tiga Group C car together later that year.
Following a second victorious season in the Pirelli Marranello Ferrari Challenge, sadly Stirling would only appear at four events in total in 1989, due to business commitments. However; the events he did compete in proved very successful once again, getting onto the podium at every event entered and winning three of the four.
With the car going through constant development at each event, they were constantly experimenting with new ways of how to improve the car and this clearly was money well spent. Along with the wins in what would seem like a fairly quiet season, new lap records were set again at Silverstone and Brands Hatch and the success was due to continue through into 1990.
With all eight rounds entered for the 1990 season and plenty of sponsorship from Hendon Way Motor and Dunlop, 19287 and Stirling were back. The season opener at Brands Hatch Indy was made to look easy, qualifying on pole and securing a win; it was the perfect start. Onwards to Silverstone, where they finishing 2nd, with a new lap record. There was no doubt the car really was on the pace. Other than two retirements at Donington and Castle Coombe, 19287 was on the podium for every race it finished, ending the season with five wins, one 2nd, four fastest laps and four new lap records, giving Stirling his 3rd championship victory in 19287.
With Stirling’s racing commitments now turning to Group C he only competed in the 308 twice in 1992. qualifying on pole and winning at Brands Hatch in April and qualifying 3rd and finishing 3rd at Oulton Park the following month.
After this the car would be sold to Peter Lloyd, who was part of Lloyds Pharmacies Plc. He had 19287 prepared by Renascence cars ahead of his debut into the Maranello Ferrari Challenge. Preparation included a full engine and gearbox refresh, including reworking the cylinder heads to gain as much as possible from the 2.9-litre V8. The team also repaired any cracks and stone chips, repainting the car ready for the 1993 season. Peter would share 19287 with Rob Schrile who was a very competitive British driver who would go on to race with Allen Lloyd.
In their first year with the car, Rob and Peter would share the car throughout the 1993 season of the Maranello Ferrari Challenge. During this the pairing had mixed results. Schrile went on to win 3 races outright, one to note was from 8th on the grid at Oulton Park. Development continued right up until the end of the season with the addition of a 328 gearbox being fitted to handle the extra power from the engine rebuild before Castle Coombe.
From Peter Lloyd the 19287 passed into the hands of Nicky Paul-Barron who would go on to campaign the car in the Maranello Championship in 1995 and 96’, scoring a number of podiums at Brands Hatch and Donington, with the car still showing its competitiveness against much newer machinery.
1995 consisted of a number of double header rounds at Castle Coombe and Brands Hatch, bringing home a podium finish at both Brands Hatch rounds in August and again at the final round at Donington in October. 1996 turned out to be a very busy season, with 12 rounds on the calendar for the Maranello Ferrari Challenge. Nicky Paul-Barron did the whole season in 19287, with very strong consistent results throughout. Podiums included a 3rd at Zandvort and a 2nd at Castle Coombe. 4th in the final round at Oulton park secured Paul-Barron the runner up spot in the 1996 Maranello Challenge.
From Nicky Paul – Barron, 19287 would move into the hands of well known Ferrari collector and for some time Chairman of the Ferrari Owners Club, Nigel Chiltern-Hunt. During his ownership Nigel had a full engine refresh carried out early on in 2000. The current owner purchased the car from Nigel Chiltern-Hunt in 2001 with the intention of competing in some of the Maranello Challenge races himself.
19287 went on to compete in a number of events including racing at Spa Francorchamps. The engine was also refreshed in its current ownership. With the 2023 Superformance Ferrari Club Classic championship looking very strong; whether you want to take on the championship, or use it on numerous track and hill climb events this is an ideal opportunity to acquire such a historic and well proven competition example of Ferrari’s iconic 308 GTB.