Watch - Jacques Laffite, an empty circuit, and a Ferrari F40 LM
Watch French ex-F1 driver Jacques Laffite pilot an F40 LM - and then pick up issue 217 of evo to read our verdict
Listen to the phenomenal sound of the Ferrari F40 LM, and you might decide that this old and grainy footage from 1992 showcases what is quite possibly the best sounding engine ever made.
The on-board footage shows ex-Formula One driver Jacques Laffite as he pilots the most brutal, track-focused version of the Ferrari F40 around the Circuit du Mas do Clos in France. Despite not wearing a helmet, or even overalls, Laffite appears to be going flat-out making full use of the LM’s 720bhp.
The F40’s story began in 1987. Ferrari wanted to build the first production car capable of breaking 200mph to mark its 40th anniversary - and the car succeeded, reaching 201.4mph. Thanks to its light weight and aerodynamic body it beat Porsche’s attempt with the 959, which fell 3mph short.
The Ferrari F40 LM is a full-on, fire-spitting racer that was built to compete at Le Mans. Thanks to successful lobbying by a number of individuals who recognised the F40’s track capability, Ferrari commissioned 19 examples to be produced by trusted race-car developer, Michelotto. Following those, a further 27 were built by private race teams.
It is powered by a tuned version of the 2.9-Litre twin-turbocharged V8, as used in production F40s. The standard car managed 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds with 478bhp. There’s no official figure, but it is estimated that the LM can reach 60 in 3.1 seconds. It can also trump the production car's top speed, reaching a staggering 228mph.
The rare footage comes from French television show ‘Turbo Emission’. The car featured is believed to be chassis number 79891. In the video it’s clear to see how stiff the chassis of this 1050kg machine really is, and gives just a taste of a vehicle known for its nature of being difficult to drive fast.
With six GP wins and 32 podium finishes to his name, Laffite is one of the privileged few to get a lap in an F40 LM and experience first-hand the incredible wail from that V8 as it approaches maximum rpms.
However, evo’s very own Richard Meaden has also had the chance to drive an F40 LM on track. You can read about his experience in this month’s issue.