Overall history of the model
The GTO badge is an illustrious one when it comes to Ferrari. The 599 GTO was only the third Ferrari model to be given the honour of wearing the GTO badge, previous recipients being the 288 GTO from the 80s and the legendary 250 GTO from the 60s.
When released in 2010, the 599 GTO was the fastest road-going car Ferrari had ever produced. Ferrari stated that it was not a fast version of the more basic 599 GTB, but a road-going version of Ferrari’s ultimate track car the 599XX. The 599 GTO certainly takes a lot of cutting-edge technology from the 599XX.
This is a front-engined, V12-powered car that produces 661bhp and reaches 62mph in 3.35 seconds but handles, thanks to advanced technology, like a mid-engined supercar. In fact, the 599 GTO is faster round Ferrari’s Fiorano test track than the Ferrari Enzo.
The 599 GTO was a landmark car for Ferrari. This is one of the finest track cars ever made and set a Nürburgring record for production cars. It can happily be taken to the track and driven hard all day, then be perfectly comfortable for the cruise home.
Ferrari 599 GTO Deep Dive
Produced between 2010 and 2012 the 599 GTO was the fastest road-going car Ferrari had ever produced. The car was so anticipated that the entire production run of 599 sold out almost immediately, despite the fact that it was only possible to buy one if personally invited by Ferrari!
The GTO badge is the most prestigious set of letters ever worn by a Ferrari. An abbreviation of “Gran Turismo Omologato” meaning homologated grand tourer, the GTO badge had only been on two Ferrari models before: the 288 GTO of the 1980s, a car that many view as the first supercar, and the 250 GTO from the 1960s, possibly the most legendary car of all time.
Ferrari say that the 599 GTO is not a powered-up version of the 599 GTB, but has much more in common with the 599XX, an experimental supercar with a huge range of technological innovations designed purely for track use. With the 599 GTO, Ferrari produced a front-engined, road-legal car that is faster around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track than the mid-engined Ferrari Enzo.
Engine and performance
The 6-litre V12 is directly derived from the 599XX and produces 670bhp and 457lb-ft of torque at 8,400rpm. Compared to the GTB, the GTO is 100kg lighter ensuring a 0–60 time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 208mph.
This is almost a road-going version of the 599XX. A technological tour de force, the 599 GTO integrates a handling set-up that is close to the limit with highly sophisticated electronic controls.
The advanced ESP (electronic stability control) is derived from Ferrari’s Formula One technology and integrated with an electronic differential. This system continuously controls distribution of power depending on conditions, ensuring the car is always laying down the optimum amount of traction.
The suspension is built from the ground up to work in conjunction with SCM2 suspension control utilising magnetorheological dampers. Magnetic fields adjust the viscosity of the fluid in the dampers every millisecond in order to react to the road surface.
Second-generation lightweight Brembo carbon ceramic brakes give huge stopping power whilst ensuring there is never any brake fade.
Ferrari concentrated on the front end in order to increase cornering speeds and cut down on understeer. The car received a stiffened anti-roll bar, a new front axle layout and bigger wheels and tyres, giving massive grip when going into the corners and increasing lateral G by 20%.
As a track-focused car, you’d expect the cabin to be stripped of most comforts. The 599 GTO weighs 100kg less than the GTB and some of that weight reduction has come from the interior. On stepping into the car, it definitely has a race feel but it’s not extreme in any sense—the cabin is spacious and perfectly comfortable. There are no carpets, just rubber mats, but the acres of carbon fibre are trimmed with Alcantara. The car is fitted with racing seats (17kg lighter than in the GTB) with four-point harnesses, but they are still very comfortable.
This is a big car with lots of room inside. Turn the key and hit the red start button and the V12 barks into life. The engine note is rawer than the GTB and has a menacing growl but, when not driving too fast, it’s surprising how comfortable and almost docile the car is.
The 599 GTO is also nothing short of sensational on the track. You have total confidence when turning into corners at speed, due to those big front tyres. Punch it on the exit and the ESP system will ensure just the right amount of power is laid down to rocket the car out while remaining in complete control. The steering is light and direct with plenty of feel.
The 599 GTO is a supreme all-rounder, very comfortable on the road and also one of the finest track cars ever made. This car is all about grip, power, and performance and more than lives up to that GTO moniker!