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02.12.2012, 19:51:23 cet

Munich, November 11, 2000

The project
German entrepreneur and engineer Franz Wieth of Germering near Munich has been known as a competitor in the FIA GT Championship. He usually shares the wheel of his Porsche GT2 with his son Niko. Some years ago, Franz Wieth – who is a longtime Ferrarista and who owns a number of sports cars made in Maranello – raced in the Ferrari 348 Challenge. Racing in the more ”sophisticated” FIA GT Championship generated his interest in an adequate, purpose-made Ferrari – of which there was none available. So, in late 1999 Franz Wieth and his team ”Wieth-Racing” of Wessling near Munich started an ambitious project to develop a competitive GT-car based on a Ferrari 550 Maranello (s/n ZFFZR49B000112133). The result of about one year of hard work was presented to the public in Munich on November 11, 2000: The Ferrari 550 GTS.

The 550 GTS
Purpose-designed for racing in the FIA GT Championship, at Le Mans and in other endurance races, the 550 Maranello has been substantially altered: The car has received a new bodywork, replacing all body components except the roof by carbonfibre and Kevlar parts. The re-designed, aerodynamic body looks very aggressive, sporting large air-intakes in the huge frontspoiler and a giant adjustable rearwing which generates a remarkable downforce. A completely closed bottom section and diffusors to the front and to the rear are additional elements of the 550 GTS’ optimized aerodynamics. Needless to say that the standard interior has been replaced by a very Spartan racing interior featuring a very stable roll-cage and an additional protective tube structure to the driver’s side. Weight has also been reduced by the use of perspex windows and the massive use of carbonfibre on the modified dashboard and center console. In total, the car’s weight was reduced by almost 600 kg to about 1.100 kg – which are almost perfectly balanced in a relation of 51:49. Unibal parts were used on the suspension, which is adjustable. The 550 GTS runs on huge OZ wheels in the dimension of 12’’ x 18’’ to the front and 13’’ x 18’’ to the rear, tires are Dunlop 280s to the front and 315s to the rear. Substantial changes to the engine include the enlargement to six liters (the 550 GTS now has a bore and stroke of 88 mm x 82 mm) and the fitting of a stainless steel sidepipe exhaust system. The 550 GTS produces about 600 hp and a maximum torque of 655 Nm, the maximum rev-rate is 7.000 min-1. Due to the FIA regulations, the engine had to be equipped with two large air-restrictors; without these restrictors, the power output of the 550 GTS would be even higher. The massive torque is handled by a sequential sixspeed gearbox attached to a Fichtel & Sachs MFX 200 racing clutch. The Brembo-made braking system features discbrakes with a diameter of 380 mm to the front and with a diameter of 350 mm to the rear. According to FIA regulations, the 550 GTS does not have an anti-lock system. The conversion of the car was performed by Baumgartner Sportwagen Technik (who did already prepare Franz Wieth’s Porsche GT2) and engine specialist Völkl of Tirschenreuth.

The future
Wieth-Racing have already found two sponsors: SL Llumar (car glass treatment) and CFC Car Film Components. Currently, one is still looking for a main sponsor who’s name will become part of the team’s name.

Franz Wieth has also monitored the 550 Millennio project which was plagued by gearbox problems and – up to now – could not meet the expectations which had been set into this project earlier in 2000. Wieth’s 550 GTS differs in many aspects from the solutions used by Italtecnica on the 550 Millennio, and thus the German Ferrari promises to be more successful. In March of 2001, Wieth-Racing will perform their first test sessions on various circuits.

If any other race-team or ambitious club-racer should be interested in the 550 GTS: It would be possible to order identical cars via Wieth-Racing, the price would be in the region of 600.000,-Euros. One more example (s/n 115802) has already been produced and is now (November 2000) undergoing final preparations; the roll-cage is being fitted at a specialist company in Paderborn/Germany. S/n 115802 will either be campaigned by Wieth-Racing as a customer’s car in 2001 or be offered for rent or leas during the season.

More information at (in German, only)

Andreas Birner

Spartan interior of the 550 GTS
Race filler
The 550 GTS' tail
The 550 GTS by Wieth-Racing, s/n 112133
The 550 GTS amidst the crowd in Munich's Parkcafé
Photo session for the sponsors SL Llumar and CFC
Engine of the 550 GTS
Presentation of the 550 GTS
Photo session for the sponsors SL Llumar and CFC
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