Ferrari 512 BB/LM
Total Production: 25 1979 - 1982
The Ferrari 512 BB LM was produced from 1979 through 1982 with only 25 examples produced. The Pininfarina design bodies featured a longitudinally, mid-mounted 12-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels. The 512 BB LM was a continuation of the 512 BB, but built specifically for the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 512 BB had been shown a few years prior at the 1976 Paris Motorshow and served as a replacement for the 365 GT4 BB.
The chassis of the 512 BB was modified by Ferrari and a weight reduction of around 200 lbs was achieved. Unfortunately, the newly designed body weighed about 200 pounds extra than the 512 BB so there was no overall weight reduction. The engine was modified to include a Lucas Fuel Injection system which boosted power to around 460 horsepower. Further modifications improved output to 500 horsepower. The gearbox was not modified to handle the extra horsepower and ultimately would be the demise of its chances at many racing events.
The Ferrari 512 BB LM suffered from poor handling. In an effort to reduce the wheelbase and to fit all the components, the engine was mounted above the gearbox. This meant a lot of weight sat high in the vehicle and greatly affected the handling.
At its inaugural Le Mans appearance, the 512 BB LM finished in a disappointing 12th. The above-mentioned issues coupled with strong competition from other competitors such as Porsche with their 700 horsepower 935's, the 512 BB LM was outclassed. Modifications and improvements were made the 512 BB LM's over the following years and in 1981 a 512 BB LM scored a class victory at LeMans, the highlight of their career.
The BB LM's were retired in 1984 when they failed to meet new regulations.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007