Gear: The Racing Car: Ferrari GTO

The Racing Car: Ferrari GTO

By Benjamin Shahrabani
April 10, 2015

The book: The Racing Car: Ferrari GTO

Author: Doug Nye

Pages: 123 with audio-visual enhancements; compatible with iPad and Apple computers with iBooks 

Purchase: Click here

I say this with equal parts sadness and authority: it is unlikely the great majority of us will ever get to sit in a Ferrari 250 GTO, much less own one. The final incarnation of the long-running 250 Series, and the last successful front-engine racing car from Ferrari, there were only 39 GTOs made.

And when they do come up for sale, they trade for tens of millions of dollars—even the average ones! Its value ensures that only the very few, and privileged will ever get to experience this very special car.

If you do want to learn more, however, you could do far worse than purchase the newest book by highly-regarded automotive historian Doug Nye, The Racing Car: Ferrari 250 GTO. Now, while nothing can really compare to experiencing a car in the flesh, the author has teamed up with Monza Books, a digital publishing house that specializes in electronic books about classic cars, and aviation to create this “enhanced” digital tome.

Nye’s words are combined with photos, videos, and sound clips to offer the reader a multimedia experience that is unavailable with a “dead trees” version. And it’s better than you may think.

Ferrari certainly built sports cars before the GTO, but Nye attempts to get to the heart of the matter of why the 250 GTO legend continues. First, to learn about the machine, one must also learn about the man, and Nye begins by examining Enzo Ferrari’s life from the days of his youth where he wanted to be either an opera singer—or race car driver (what a dichotomy!)—and his admiration for Italian World War I ace Francesco Baracca, from whom he would borrow the prancing horse symbol that still graces Ferrari models today.

The book details the development of the GTO, and its record of racing success during the 1962-64 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) championship. All GTOs were built to race, although they were theoretically useable on the streets as well. Race they did, propelling Ferrari to three International Championship for GT Manufacturers titles in the three years the car was competitive. But you could read that anywhere for free, right?

Where this book sets itself apart from others is the enhanced content. One literally gets to hear a vintage Ferrari dry sump 12-cylinder engine breathing through its six Weber 38 DCN carburetors. There is video from the cockpit of the GTO during an actual—though modern day—race. Even more engaging is video where Nye narrates a thorough tour of the GTO, from its aerodynamics, to its engine, through running changes that took place during the car’s production. The book ends with a registry of all the cars that includes pictures of each—including racing and ownership history.

As an avid reader of books, I’ve often said you can’t have a shelf full of digital copies—but in the case of books like this one, I’ll make an exception. Here, the enhanced format helps its subject spring off the page and come alive for the reader. Nye combines outstanding historical information with original photographs and an enjoyable cache of enhanced content.

That this book costs $13.99 merely emphasizes its value—others on this car are often much more expensive. If you’re curious about the GTO—or digital books in general—this is a good one to start with. (And then watch our video with Derek Hill and a very special Ferrari GTO!)

Purchase The Racing Car: Ferrari GTO.

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