Friends Reunited: Jean Guichet meets Ferrari 250 GTO
by Rick Carey
The Ferrari 250 GTO marks the end of a golden era of racing. Only 36 were built in just two years but they succeeded in every competition: open road races like the Targa Florio, extended events like the Tour de France Automobile, circuit races at the most important venues, hillclimbs and rallies.
Jean Guichet was one of a select few of the best drivers in the world trusted by Scuderia Ferrari to get behind the wheel of the ‘250 Comp./62 berlinetta’, the 250 GTO, at its introduction. His skill, talent and sympathy for the cars made him essential to Ferrari’s three successive World Championships for Manufacturers won with the 250 GTO in 1963, 1964 and 1965.
He won the GT class at Le Mans in 1962 with Pierre Noblet in ‘3705 GT’, teamed with Noblet in ‘3943 GT’ to win the GT class in the Nürburgring 1000km in 1963, a victory repeated in 1964 with Mike Parkes in ‘5573 GT’. In 1963 he and José Behra teamed up in ‘5111 GT’ to bring the GTO its first win in the Tour de France Automobile. Jean Guichet knows the Ferrari 250 GTO as do few others.
In 1964 Guichet was paired by Ferrari with Carlo Facetti in the Targa Florio driving 250 GTO ‘4675 GT’. It had recently been upgraded by Ferrari to Series II specification with long-roof GTO 64-style coachwork. They dominated, with Guichet setting an opening lap record, then leading the field at mid-race until Facetti retired with a broken gearbox. Guichet confirmed ‘4675’s performance when he finished second at the Spa 500km in May in a GTO sweep of the top four positions.
This new video reunites Jean Guichet with that same 250 GTO, fresh from restoration and certification by Ferrari Classiche. In addition to archival video footage of the car in the 1964 Targa Florio, it presents a first-person account by the dashing yet modest Jean Guichet of his personal recollections of the Ferrari 250 GTO and the Targa Florio in the mid-Sixties.