Ferrari 312 F1

Ferrari 312 T4

Ferrari 312 T3

Ferrari 312 T

Total Production: 7

Race cars are typically competitive for only a single season; sometimes they can last longer than that but most of the time they are outpaced the following year or become obsolete due to changes in racing regulations. This was true for Ferrari's sports prototypes at the end of the 1967 season, which were unqualified to race in 1968 due to new rules imposed by the FIA (Federation International d'Automobile). Ferrari turned their attention to Formula One but had little success during the 1969 season. Disappointed, the team re-focused their sights on prototype racing to contest the 3-liter prototype category. Their F1 cars had a similar displacement which meant they had experience and thus, the logical choice.

For the 1969 season, Ferrari introduced their 312 P with a 48-valve engine similar to their F1 cars. It made its competition debut at the Sebring 12 Hours where it was piloted by Amon and Mario Andretti. It qualified on pole and ended the race in second overall and first in class. This would be the vehicle's best performance, as reliability issues would plague it during its short lifespan. It was used on half of the season, and later replaced by a five-liter 512 S. The 512S proved to have the speed necessary to win, but it lacked the reliability to be an outright contender.

Once again, Ferrari switched canceled the project before it had time to fully mature and focused their efforts on a new racer. The remaining 512S were sold to privateers. The new car was a three-liter prototype utilizing the newly developed V12 engine designed by Mauro Forghieri. It had a 180-degree angle which gave an exterior design similar to that of a boxer engine. In reality, it was a very flat V-engine meaning the pistons move in unison rather than in opposition to one another.

The racing debut of the engine was made in a 312 B Formula 1 racer. The 'B' represented the Forghieri V12 engine, though it was not a boxer engine. The Ferrari 312 P of 1971 through 1973, later known as the 312PB, was powered by the Forghieri engine which rested in an aluminum semi-monocoque, similar to the F1 car. In other words, it was basically a full body Formula One car. It had a five-speed gearbox, vented disc brakes, and weighed around 660 kilograms. The 460 horsepower engine was mounted mid-ship and sent power to the rear wheels.

The 312PB made its inaugural debut at the Brands Hatch 1000km race in April of 1971. The car was immediately competitive and proved its potential by finishing second behind an Alfa Romeo 33/3. This would be one of the few highlights for the car during the 1971 season.

For 1972, things shifted in Ferrari's favor, as FIA rule changes abandoned the 5-liter sports car class. Only the 3-liter prototypes were able to run in the World Sports Car Championship. During the 1971 season, and during the offseason, the car was continually modified and its shortcomings were identified and fixed. Horsepower was increased from an initial 450 to 460. Experimentations and testing were done with aerodynamics resulting in a very refined racer. Next, Ferrari worked on the cockpit, specifically the driver's selection. They hired the best and most talented drivers such as Brian Redman, Arthuro Merzario, Jacky Ickx, Tim Schenken, Mario Andretti and Ronny Peterson to help guarantee another manufacture's championship.

The testing, tuning, planning, and acquired talent paid off almost immediately. The opening race of the championship was at the Buenos Aires 1000km race and the 312PB driven by Schenken and Peterson emerged in first place. This was the 312PB's first World Championship victory which was soon followed by many others, as Ferrari won all championship races that season, except for the 24 Hours of LeMans. The reason it did not win LeMans that year, is because it was not entered. The team felt its talents were best suited for 1000km races and not an endurance racer capable of competing a full 24 hours. Ferrari would end the season with 160 points and the Manufacturers Championship Title.

The 1972 season had been a phenomenal year for Ferrari. The 312 PB had been very reliable and very fast. For 1973, the car's wheelbase was slightly enlarged and the engine was tuned for an additional 15 horsepower. Sadly, the 312 PB took only one victory in 1973, and that was at the 1000km of Monza in April. Reliability issues and increasing competition kept the 312PB from having another dominant season. When the 1973 season came to a close, Ferrari withdrew from sports car racing.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2008

Total Production: 4
Success comes through a combination of key elements working together toward one result. Ferrari's 312, while a good car, didn't have all of the necessary elements to make it an absolutely great car. Formula One is about the pursuit of perfection each and every year. Ferrari's latest evolution, the 312B, would have many of those key elements Ferrari had been missing over the previous years. The 312B would help Ferrari get back on a path toward greatness.

One of the most important elements to a truly great car is its engine. If the engine doesn't produce the power, or the reliability, there is little chance of success. An engine that improves handling is merely a plus.

This 'plus' Ferrari would have going into the design of the newest evolution of the 312 chassis. Ferrari had developed a 3.0-liter naturally aspirated engine. But what made the engine so helpful to the car was not so much the 460 bhp it produced as much as the fact it was a flat-12. The twelve-cylinder engine was arranged with its two banks of six cylinders totally horizontal. Called the 'boxer' engine, the design spread the engine out and laid it down inside the chassis design. This effectively lowered the car's center of gravity, which; thereby, would improve the handling characteristics of the car. Even the width of the engine would be helpful in improving the car's handling characteristics.

Ferrari's designer, Mauro Forghieri, knew he had the engine. He just needed to design and build a car around it. The width of the boxer engine would allow Forghieri to design a low-sitting, low-profile design that was aesthetically pleasing to the eye and more than capable out on the track as well.

Forghieri would start by designing a bathtub aluminum monocoque structure in which to house the driver and to form the basis of the car's design. In order to provide clean, flowing lines in which to cover the engine at the back, Mauro would design a body that was oval in shape, but flattened. Covered with contoured aluminum panels, the main crash structure of the car was sleek, and yet, rigid.

Though the width of the body would increase over that of its predecessor, the use of sidepods would not come into style just yet. Therefore, the need existed to be able to aerodynamically house the engine's radiator. As with most other designs of the day, Mauro would create and open-mouth design that would feed cool air to the radiator.

The nose consisted of a tubular frame attached directly to the front of the aluminum monocoque bathtub. The radiator was mounted within the tubular framing and covered with a beautifully streamlined fiberglass nose piece. This wide-mouthed nose sported a low-profile and sloped gently upwards over the radiator hidden within. This nose cowling attached to the framing above and below the front suspension members.

The nose cowling featured a small lip on its trailing edge. Paying attention to the smallest of details, Mauro introduced the lip in the fiberglass design to help extract the hot air from around the radiator hidden in the nose. Another piece of bodywork sloped downward, as if to disappear into the nose. This provided a channel for the air being extracted out of the nose because of the suction caused by the lip on the trailing edge.

To each side of the nose small front wings sprouted. These small wings were mounted to the side of the nose with an upward angle. It was this upward mounting angle that produced the majority of the rather small amounts of downforce the front wings generated. Instead of designing a front wing with a great contour and camber angle, the way the wings were mounted helped to produce the same effect.

To either side of the nose cowling, narrow leading edge fairings were designed into the shape. This was aerodynamically helpful as they served as aerodynamic shrouds for the front suspension members. In the name of aerodynamic efficiency, an aerodynamic shroud also ran from the backside of the front suspension and blended into the bodywork surrounding the aluminum monocoque bathtub.

The front suspension consisted of a double-wishbone arrangement and an anti-roll bar. The upper wishbone featured a larger, thicker suspension arm that had a large radius created in its and was hidden under the fiberglass nose cowling. Held firm by a tubular hinge, the radius portion of the upper wishbone served as the rocker-arm for the coil-spring. Small, narrow air ducts were positioned just to the inside of the front tire to provide cooling air to the Girling disc brakes. Both the front and the rear disc brakes were able to be adjusted via the cockpit by a hydraulic circuit on the front and rear axle.

Due to the fact the car design was wide and low; another piece of streamlined fiberglass wrapped around the cockpit and gently sloped upward and surrounded the driver. This sloped piece of the fiberglass helped to smooth the air travelling around the driver and the cockpit; an area of great turbulence, and not just talking about the attitudes of the drivers.

The driver rested in the cockpit in somewhat of a prone position. Enclosed; somewhat, by the fiberglass shroud and clear windscreen, the driver felt rather protected down inside the cockpit.

Compared to many other teams, Ferrari was always known for its rather opulent environment for its drivers. Instead of aluminum monocoque structure and rivets readily visible to the driver, the cockpit was usually adorned with a black padded material. As if the two prancing horse crests and the rather plush seating wasn't enough of a reminder, there; staring the driver in the face, sat the bright yellow prancing horse emblem in the center of the leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The bathtub aluminum monocoque structure housed the foot box for the pedals and for the installation of the instrument display. To the right-hand side of the steering wheel the gearshift ran back to the Borg & Beck 5-speed gearbox.

Sitting right behind the driver's back, underneath the rather scant roll-bar and supporting roll structure was the 3.0-liter 12-cylinder Ferrari engine. Right behind the driver's head was the fuel pump for the engine. The car only weighed a little over 1200 pounds. With the 460 hp 12-cylinder engine, the 312B was capable of covering a kilometer in less than ten seconds. The engine's 12,000 rpm limit helped to accelerate the car from a dead-stop to 60 mph in only just over three seconds. The weight to power ratio was only 2.6 pounds to one.

In spite of the advantages of the lower center of gravity offered by the boxer 12-cylinder engine there was a concern with the exhaust pipes. The exhaust pipes for each bank of cylinder exited down low, almost underneath the car. This caused ride-height and suspension stiffness issues.

While the exhaust pipes offered a challenge, the engine design helped with the air induction. Many teams utilized engines with a V-design. This placed the induction pipes vertical and right behind the driver's head and roll-hoop. This wasn't the most efficient place for airflow into the engine. The boxer arrangement on the 312B helped to increase air induction efficiency as the pipes could pull in the air travelling along the side of the car. The only issue with this arrangement was the fact the first couple of induction pipes, or 'trumpets', received better airflow than those arranged directly in-line behind. In order to rectify this situation, the lengths of the each of the induction pipes travelling aft gradually grew longer. This provided equal amounts of airflow from the front to the rear induction pipes.

To help keep that kind of power and performance under control the car utilized rack and pinion steering and 14.5 inch wide rear and 9 inch wide front tires. Complimenting the mechanical grip offered by the tires, some aerodynamic grip at the front, and, rear was utilized. The small wings on the nose helped the front of the car. A small wing mounted directly above the engine helped at the rear.

The rear wing was comprised of a single support structure. A triangular-shaped pillar attached to the upper-side of the center roll-hoop support. This was riveted to the top of the wing's main-plane. The wing was further reinforced by a support piece that attached the narrower secondary-plane and ran to the underside of the main-plane. A later evolution of the 312B featured a main-plane in which its angle of attack could be adjusted. Greater downforce would be possible with a greater angle of attack, or, with the trailing-edge of the wing tilted upwards dramatically. This adjustment of the main-plane was made possibly through its attachment through the center support pillar.

Downforce levels could further be adjusted through the adjustable secondary-plane. The secondary-plane were actually two individual flap-like elements that attached to the main-plane and triangular-shaped endplates. The secondary-plane could be made up of two flap-like elements as airflow to the center of the rear wing was prohibited by the center support structure that rigidly held the wing. High-downforce and low-drag arrangements were made easily possible.

Mounted directly underneath the car's rear wing were two low-profile, wide-mouthed air scoops. These air scoops widened and deepened and served to direct air to the car's oil coolers mounted standing vertically on the very rear of the car. The oil cooler housings mounted to either side of the transmission and were contoured to mount directly over the top of the rear suspension. The tops of the housings featured a 'ski-jump-like' ramp on its trailing-edge. This served a double purpose. The airflow passing over the top of the housing would create a lower pressure that would help to pull the hotter air from the oil coolers out. As a by-product of the ski-jump trailing-edge, a small amount of downforce was created.

The design of the engine came into play with the design of the rear suspension. The induction and exhaust pipes prohibited the use of a narrower double-wishbone arrangement at the rear. Therefore, both the upper and lower wishbones featured trailing link (radius rod) arms that attached farther forward along the side of the chassis. It is important to prohibit wheel travel forward and aft, but this was not easily done on the 312B without the use of the longer trailing links.

The exhaust pipes from each of the six-cylinders blended into two larger pipes. These two pipes, on either side of the car, exited out between the suspension members, just to the outside of the oil cooler housings, with an upwards angle.

In 1970, Chris Amon had left the team. As a result of Amon's departure, Clay Regazzoni would come and join Jacky Ickx. Armed with the 312B (the 'B' indicating the boxer engine) and Firestone and Goodyear tires, Ferrari was ready to reclaim its former Formula One glory.

Over the course of 52 races, the 312 had earned Ferrari only 3 wins and 7 poles. The team had not won either Drivers' or the Constructor's Championship title since 1964. And that was John Surtees driving the 156 and 158.

The first evolution of the 312 had been a let-down for Ferrari. The 312B would restore the team's hopes. Over the course of the 1970 season, the 312B would take Ferrari back to the top step of the podium four times; something the team hadn't done in over a year. Ickx would score victories at Austria, Canada and Mexico. Regazzoni would bring the 'Tifosi' to their feat scoring an emotional win at the Italian Grand Prix.

As a result of the three wins, Ickx would claim 2nd in the Drivers' Championship with 40 points. He would end up only 5 points behind Jochin Rindt at the end of the season. Regazzoni's lone Italian Grand Prix victory and three 2nd place finishes helped the Swiss driver to finish 3rd in the Drivers' Championship standings. The four victories and the podium finishes at the Dutch Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix helped Ferrari to claim 2nd in the Constructors' Championship standings as well.

The team knew it had its basis for future success. The 312B had brought Ferrari back to the very edge of its former glory. Soon, Ferrari would again be atop the Formula One world and much of its success had been laid in the technological advances and coming together of other key elements employed in the 312B.

'Ferrari 312B', ( F1Technical. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

'Ferrari 312B (1969-1971)', ( Histomobile. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

'Ferrari 312B', ( Retrieved 18 April 2011.

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Wikipedia contributors, '1970 Formula One season', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 April 2011, 20:00 UTC, accessed 18 April 2011

'Singleseaters: 312 B', ( Scuderia Ferrari. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

'Ferrari 312B', ( Dennis David & Family: Grand Prix History. Retrieved 18 April 2011.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Ferrari 312B', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 January 2011, 17:16 UTC, accessed 18 April 2011

Wikipedia contributors, 'Ferrari 312', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 January 2011, 17:09 UTC, accessed 18 April 2011

By Jeremy McMullen

Formula One in the ^70s

As spectators, fans and constructors contemplate the steady NASCAR-ization of Formula One - spec tires, spec electronic engine-control units, long-life engines and transmissions, restricted in-season aerodynamic development, engine rev limits, contrived wing specifications and other regulations, including 'cost-reduction' limitation on design and testing - there was unbridled creativity and diversity in Formula One in the '70s. The brilliant - and sometimes erratic - talents who created and drove these cars further recalls a dynamic era that seems to have been lost forever.

The F1 cars from this period had six wheels, shrouded tires, sliding skirts, proliferating wings, and even vacuum fans. Engines had six, eight and twelve cylinders. Most were naturally aspirated, but the sorcerer, Amedee Gordini, brought the first 1.5-liter turbo as an alternative. Entrants didn't need to post $48 million to pass through the FIA's portal to a Formula One gravy train, they just needed audacity. Which many be why there were characters on the pit wall like Lord Hesketh, Parnelli Jones, Mo Nunn, Teddy Yip, Roger Pensky, Walter Wolf, Guy Ligier and even, lest his origins be overlooked, one Bernie Ecclestone.

Then there were the drivers. They had arms and elbows, all fully employed in glorious abundance to slide, steer and even pass. Remarkably, at least by present-day standards, they were old enough to drink legally. And many of them did. They also partied, caroused and spoke their minds. Few of them had managers; almost all of them had talent and style. In fact, they had personalities, without being 'personalities.' They loved life, particularly in fast cars.

The end of the era came in 1980 when Alan Jones, Rene Arnoux, Didier Pironi, Carlos Reutemann, Jacques Laffite, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Nelson Piquet were winners. That's eight separate drivers in 14 points-scoring races, driving for four different teams. Ferrari wasn't among the 1980 winners, but during the '70s the dominant team was Ferrari, winning four Constructors' Championships and three Drivers' titles with the 312 T series.

The 312
The 312 was Mauro Forghieri's creation. Turned loose by Enzo Ferrari with a 'clean sheet of paper,' Forghieri created the flat-12 3-liter engine to implement his goal of lowering Ferrari's GP cars' center of gravity and concentrating its masses within the wheelbase for the quickest possible directional response. Forghieri noted later that the 312 was a flat-12, not a 'boxer.' The distinction was important to Forghieri because he'd considered a boxer layout in conceiving the 312 engine.

The first 312 took to the track in 1970, designated the 312 B. Forghieri's flat-12 was easily the most powerful engine, and subsequent developments focused on building chassis and developing aerodynamics that would harness the 312's nearly 500 horsepower. In 1974, the 312 B3 brought Clay Regazzoni second in drivers' points - only three behind Emerson Fittipaldi - and Ferrari just eight points behind McLaren in the Constructors' Championship.

Forghieri made another dramatic change in 1975 with the 312 T, or transversal. The 312 T employed a transversally mounted gearbox between the engine and the rear wheels' centerline, along with center-mounted coolant and oil radiators to further consolidate the important masses within the 312's wheelbase. Tapered sidepods effectively acted as downforce-generation airfoils which the flat-12 engine's low profile complemented perfectly. With it, Niki Lauda captured the Drivers' title and Ferrari once again won the Constructors' Championship with Lauda and Regazzoni taking six wins in 14 races. The next-generation 312 T2 narrowly missed the 1976 Drivers' Championship after Lauda's fiery accident at the Nurburgring, but Ferrari captured the Constructors' title. Both Ferrari and Lauda recovered to take both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships in 1977.

The handwriting appeared on the wall in 1978, however, when Lotus introduced the ground-effects Lotus 79 and put it in the hands of Mario Andretti and Ronnie Petersen. Not even the addition of a young, French-Canadian talent named Gilles Villeneuve to Ferrari's driver team could overcome the advantages of Colin Chapman's innovative employment of under-car airflow to suck his cars to the track.

Ground effects posed another challenge to drivers. When, through mechanical failure of the side skirts or disruption of the seal over curbs, the side seal to the racing surface was disrupted and the inflow of air into the under-car low-pressure area robbed downforce and destroyed the tires' lateral traction. It took immense talent and blindingly quick reaction compensate. Gilles Villeneuve had them.

Ferrari responded with the 312 T4 in 1979. The 312 flat-twelve was still the most powerful engine on the Formula One Grid, but the advantages which had contributed to its success early in the decade - a low, wide section that reduced aerodynamics - impinged upon the developing science of ground-effects aerodynamics. Only the 312 engine's power advantage, flexibility and a concerted effort by Ferrari to test and develop new aerodynamic packages - with help from Fiat and the Pininfarina wind tunnel - allowed Forghieri's team to create another champion.

And, to be sure, that bright talent from Canada, Gilles Villeneuve, who displayed brilliance during the season. At the Frend GP at Dijon-Prenois, he challenged Rene Arnoux's Renautl - clearly the dominant car of the race - in a wheel-to-wheel duel during the closing laps. Their contest let Jabouille, in the other Renault, escape to the win, but the battle between Villeneuve and Arnoux was pass and re-pass for laps where, as Adriano Cimarosti describes it, 'they Polished the sides of each other's car with their wheels in the middle of corners.' At the flag it was Villeneuve in front by 14-hundreths of a second. At the end of the season Jody Scheckter earned the Drivers' Championship for Ferrari with Villeneuve only four points behind and Ferrari again earned the Constructors' title.

Source - Gooding & Company

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* Please note, dates are approximate

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