Ferrari S.p.A. is a sports car manufacturer based in Maranello. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939 as Auto Avio Costruzioni, the company built its first car in 1940, the company's inception as an auto manufacturer is recognized in 1947 when the first Ferrari-badged car was completed.
The first racing 550, known as 550 GT, was built for French team Red Racing to comply with international sporting regulations. The project was developed by Michel Enjolras and assembled in the Italtecnica workshop.
The car was first tested in April 1999 and was used in the GT3 class of the French FFSA GT Championship. In 2001 the car was then sold to XL Racing who continued the development and built a second car, known as 550 XL entering the FFSA GT and the American Le Mans Series. The older 550 GT also made an appearance at the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans in the ACO GT class.
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.