Ferrari’s WRC heyday

Forty-two years ago, the revered sports car manufacturer scored its only WRC podium

Ferrari 308 Girardo Overlay [White]

Mention “Ferrari” and “1982” around any seasoned motorsport fan, and only one story comes to mind.

Villeneuve and Pironi; Imola and Zolder. The tale and the tragedy which is now part of Formula 1 legend.

But it may surprise you to learn that in that very same year, the prancing horse had its heyday in the World Rally Championship too.

As unlikely as it may sound, the legendary Italian brand’s 308 GTB was campaigned in rallying competition throughout the early 1980s, having been converted to rally specification by racing preparation firm Michelotto, with Maranello’s blessing.

Introduced in 1975, the 308 had a mid-mounted V8 engine, meaning it benefited from perfect weight distribution, superb handling characteristics, and over 300bhp of thoroughbred Italian grunt. That made the car an unusual, but effective choice for Group 4 rallying, where few modifications were allowed between road-going and rallying versions of the cars.


Rally Tour de Corse Ajaccio (FRA) 06-08 5 1982

Seen here tackling the twisty Tarmac tests of Corsica, the 308 doesn’t exactly look like it’s in its natural environment, but that’s what makes it so special. While it may have been built to look stylish when parked on the waterfront of Saint-Tropez, it’s instead getting its wheels dirty and taking on Renault 5s and Opel Asconas on the 1982 Tour de Course. Fantastic.

That event would mark the highpoint of the 308’s WRC career, as three-time World Rally and five-time Le Mans class winner Jean-Claude Andruet steered the car to a second place finish; Ferrari’s only WRC podium.

The car would continue to be campaigned in rallying into the Group B era, but was never again a competitive force at world championship level.

Still, thanks to the Girardo & Co. Archive, we can marvel at images such as this one, and the absurdity it represents compared to the WRC we know today.

Taking a stock Ferrari and going world championship rallying? It might sound crazy, but in 1982, it worked.