October 27, 2008

The message.

Do you know what this Ferrari is? It was built as a message and it still stands, as a message, in the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello.

Ferrari will probably build another message soon if the FIA does think Mondays communique was enough and continues with its pursuit of a common engine.

The Ferrari 637 was extremely successful though it was never raced (as a Ferrari anyway).

In case you are not familiar with its history, read THIS

Ferrari 637 by Mark Alan Jones

"In late 1986 Gustav Brunner designed a Ferrari chassis to house a brand new 2.65 litre V8 turbo Ferrari engine - built to CART regulations - and the press was invited to inspect. Most journalists came away impressed; the engine held some unusual features including upward mounted exhausts, and it made the new 1.5 litre turbo V6 Formula One engine, displayed at the same time, look a little plain.

V8 turbo Ferrari engineThere were rumours that Ferrari would be attacking the 1987 season, then the 1988 season. Rumours were placing Andrea de Cesaris in the car for the 1987 Indianapolis 500 But the car never raced. One rumour circulating was that the car was built to put pressure on the FIA. The new engine regulations for 1989 onwards were being finalised for 3.5 litre V8 engines. Ferrari however wanted to build a V12. So they put pressure on the FIA by building an Indycar. The FIA changed the regs and V12's were allowed - and Ferrari (and Lamborghini) built their Formula One V12's. This would also allow Honda and Renault and now everyone to build V10's. The Indycar was locked away in FIAT's vault.

Come 1987 and Alfa Romeo, one of Ferrari's sibling in the FIAT empire, wanted to get back into serious motorsport competition. After having a look at the newly formed World Touring Car Championship, Alfa Romeo was gearing up for an attack on CART as part of marketing Alfa Romeo, and the rest of the FIAT range, in the US.

Again journalists were invited to view the new Italian creation, some time in 1989. An all new Alfa Romeo 2.65 V8 turbo, bearing no relation to the Ferrari unit of three years previous, was unveiled connected to a March chassis. Over in the back of workshop Doug Nye spotted an all white chassis that was clearly not a March and had an Alfa Romeo logo painted on it that nobody from Alfa Romeo were prepared to talk about. It was too big to be any of the smaller formulae running in Europe and America, and the circular indentations for refuelling caps gave it away as being an Indycar chassis.

It was the old Ferrari Indycar, finding a use after all - perhaps as a test mule running in secret at Fiorano where many a strange occurrence happens. "

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