Ferrari 333SP Sings Its Timeless V12 Tune
The ear-pleasing standard-bearer of 1990s IMSA competition also competed fiercely for nearly a decade.
Ferrari’s 333SP represents one of the most important American sports cars of the last quarter century. Not only did it compete in 1994 in the World Sports Car series, it also dominated the WSC. It also bridged the gap between IMSA’s GTP series and its American Le Mans Series.
Like nearly all Ferrari race cars, the engine was the 333SP’s heart and soul. WSC regulations required a “production-based” engine so Ferrari dropped in a pre-production F50 engine. That was a 4.0-liter V12 that absolutely howled at full-song.
YouTuber 19Bozzy92 captured that haunting, high-revving V12 sound during the Finali Mondiali Ferrari at Mugello Circuit. Several of the 40 333SPs built turned up to the event and the result was an audio treat. The engines turn 11,000 RPM with characteristic Ferrari tone; it’s a beautiful thing.
Mike Fuller of Mulsanne’s Corner wrote a great summary of the 333SP, but in short, it served as a way for MOMO founder Gianpiero Moretti to go racing in Ferrari. That fulfilled Moretti’s lifelong dream and the car, well, it wasn’t too bad.
Ferrari had left top-level sports car racing in the 1970s, but the 333SP enjoyed no real contemporary in WSC. With modern aerodynamics, the Ferrari prototype was virtually untouchable. The design was also good enough that teams raced it from 1994 to 2003. In that time, the cars racked up 49 wins and 94 podiums in 144 events.
Championships abounded and Moretti’s own MOMO-liveried 333SP won several races. That included wins at the Daytona 24 Hours (1997) and the first Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (1998). It never quite competed well at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, however, as customer cars facing factory competition. Moretti and co-drivers Max Papis and Didier Theys, however, scored the 333SP’s best Le Mans finish in 1997 with a 6th place.