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.
This is a car that can lap Ferrari's Fiorano test track faster than an Enzo. It can summon uncomfortable levels of accerlation. Ferrari claims 3.35sec on the 0-62mph run. What it also evident is the GTO pulls as hard in fifth as a 911 does in third.
The ride is firmer than usual. It, like the standard car, as magnetic dampers so it is more deft of foot than a Lamborghini Aventador, if falling short of the McLaren MP4-12C. Changing the GTB to GTO has brought a degree of shimmy over poor surfaces, leaving the lightly-weighted steering tugging. It tramlines on these roads too, especially under braking.
To a certain extent, that's expected. The car is developed to conquer the world's racetracks. The bodyshell is exceptionally stiff and in some ways the GTO feels like a much bigger BMW M3 GTS. Both feel like they’ve got race-car levels of body stiffness, pointy front ends and have a propensity to oversteer at will.
It's not hard to break traction. Any moisture underfoot and you'll be working hard to straighten it when exiting corners. It's fun to use at road speeds too. The light, direct steering has real feel and the gearbox shifts are strobelight quick. There's reassuring brake feel through the carbon ceramics and if you're struggling to overtake in this, you may has well give up.
This power. This grip. This performance is best enjoyed on track, of course. There's a tiny amount of understeer, but the tiniest lift, whiff of trail braking or early prod of the throttle and it'll power through. Will it oversteer? Yes, for Italy. But when it does it is progressive.
The 599 GTO is one of the absolute finest track cars ever made. That it delivers some tactile qualities on the road – it’s very habitable – make it a supreme all-rounder.
Ferrari has priced the 599 GTO into a whole new league over the the 599 GTB. But then it is a completely different car. Yes, £300,000 is an awful lot of money, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the £1.2m XX. A car, which don't forget, can't be used on the road.
But here’s the rub. Even if you have the cash in the bank, you can't just hand it over in exchange for a GTO. Not unless you’ve had more than the odd Ferrari and have been invited to buy one. Or you've dug very deep indeed for a cherished one on the used market.
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