The days of the Ferrari 599 GTO being the fastest and most powerful road car Ferrari has ever built are numbered. The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta will see to that. But it'd be a shock if the F12 can unseat the GTO as being the most iconic and able hypercar the marque has built in its recent history.
The 599 GTO is, after all, a GTO and only the third Ferrari to do so. Those were the 250 GTO and the 288 GTO. The 599 GTO is in good company.
However, those cars were built for the racetrack. Cynics might argue the 599 GTO is purely superficial - the third digit in GTO stands for 'Omologato', or homologated.
That's the glass half empty state of events. Ferrari sees the 599 GTO as a road legal version of the 599 XX track car, rather than a hotted-up version of the standard car.
No surprise then that the GTO carries much of the XX's kit. The 6.0-litre V12 has 'diamond-like carbon coating' on the tappets and there's plenty of 'super polishing' too. These modifications, among others, increase efficiency by 12 per cent. There's a six-into-one exhaust manifold and a re-engineered intake for more noise and, incredibly, still conforming to Euro 5 and LEV2 homologation standards.
The headline power and torque figures make impressive enough reading on their own; the GTO’s 5999cc V12 produces a whopping 671bhp at 8250rpm and 457lb ft at 6500rpm, up from 612bhp and 448lb ft in the GTB. Combine this with a full 100kg weight reduction and you begin to realise how potent a machine the 1605kg GTO really is.
For all that, the GTO’s price is closer to the regular 599’s than the XX’s and it can be looked after by a Ferrari dealer rather than the factory. There’ll only be 599 of them and they're all sold.
Climbing into the cabin is no more intimidating then any other 599, but there is much more of a racecar feel. The interior garnish is more purposeful than extravagent, carpets have bene replaced by rubber mats, naked carbonfibre and Alcantara. The snug seats have four-point harnesses. The rev counter reads to 10,000rpm.
Fire it up and you'll find a conventional handbrake, two drilled pedals and large gearshift paddles. The engine growls with menace. The noise made by the GTO’s 6.0-litre V12 is so complex, and so rich, you could sit there and listen to it at idle all day long. But it sounds even better on the move, under load, screaming up its vast rev range through second, then third, then fourth – almost as quickly as you can read this sentence.