An elite racing car worth £170,000 which was stolen from the car park of a country hotel may have been snatched to order, say police.

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The black Ferrari 430, built to race in the GT3 series, was towed away in its trailer from the Park Farm Hotel in Hethersett after thieves broke the hitch lock.

Owner Phil Burton, a GT Championship driver from Cheshire who was visiting for a test day at Snetterton, awoke yesterday morning to find the trailer had gone missing.

Police say the trailer containing the 4.3-litre V8 supercar was towed away by a long wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter van between 8.23pm and 8.29pm on Thursday.

PC Matt Coppard, investigating, said there was CCTV covering the car park which was being examined by officers, and appealed for anyone who had seen the trailer to get in touch with police.

He added: “The car may have been targeted to be sold to order because it is obviously a very niche vehicle.”

The Ferrari was produced as a race car for the GT3 series in which 59-year-old Mr Burton – the managing director of a CCTV manufacturer – has competed since 2005, and cannot be converted into a road car.

Richard Bond, general manager of the 53-bedroom hotel on Norwich Road, said the theft was a “terrible shame”.

“Phil Burton is someone who has stayed with us some 20 times or more before, and each time has brought his trailer with him and stored it securely,” he said.

“We didn’t know what was in the trailer – had we known, we would have put it somewhere else. But it’s easy to be wise after the event.”

Mr Bond said the overflow car park where Mr Burton had parked the trailer was not visible from the reception area, and that no members of staff had witnessed the theft.

“He got up in the morning and the trailer was not there,” he added.

“I hope that we can jog someone’s memory – we would love to catch the people who did this.”

The Ferrari has a 500bhp engine and does 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds, hitting a top speed of 198mph, while the PRG ProSporter trailer used to transport it retails for around £10,000.

Anyone who has seen the trailer or Ferrari should phone PC Matt Coppard at Wymondham police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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