The FIA changed the regulations of the Sport category to allow vehicles with 5-liter engines, up from the prior 3-liter capacity. Instead of 50 examples, only 25 examples needed to be produced to satisfy homologation rules. With the 917, Porsche had high hopes for capturing an overall victory at the grueling 24 Hour of LeMans. Porsche had seen success with its 904, 907 and 908 race cars. These cars had done very well on the race track though some were plagued with mechanical difficulties and other growing pains which may have held them from realizing their true potential. Porsche had not captured any overall wins at LeMans, just victories within their classes.
Ferrari chose to use their preexisting Formula 1 V-12 engine and created a prototype racer. Regulations for the prototype group restricted displacement to be no greater than three-liters. In 1969, the 312 P was constructed and ready for racing. It made its debut at Daytona, the season opener, where it easily captured pole position. At the end of the race, it had proven its abilities by finishing first in class. The 312 P continued to be raced until Porsche introduced their 917 at LeMans. The Porsche 917 was designed and built in 10 months and was powered by the Type 912 flat 12 engine of various displacement. As with most prototype vehicles, the 917 suffered from growing pains. The aerodynamics created low drag rather than down force and made the vehicle unstable at speeds.
Though the 917 had been quick in practice, it had poor results during race day. After seeing the potential of the 917, Enzo Ferrari was inspired and began working on a GT racer. An engine was developed, named the Type 261, and followed closely with the already existing Formula 1 engine. It had a five-liter displacement size and a Lucas fuel injection system. The new engine was capable of producing 560 horsepower which was later increased to 600. It was placed mid-ship and powered the rear wheels. Since it was not air cooled, it required a plethora of cooling pipes and a heavy radiator. With quad cams and four-valves per cylinder, the longitudinally mounted, 60-degree engine was ready to take on the Porsche 917.
The chassis followed closed with the design of the 312 P, but modified to carry the extra weight of the larger engine. The front section was an aluminum spaceframe with a rear subframe. The body was constructed of fiberglass and designed similar to its 312 P sibling. When all was said and done, it weighed less than 900 kg. The chassis were numbered from 1002 to 1050, 19 were raced during the 1970 season.
Though the 512 was more powerful than the 917, it lacked a couple of things, when compared to the Porsche. Due to using steel, reinforced with aluminum sheet, weight was about 100 kg's more than the alloy-framed 917. The 917 had been introduced six months prior and had the benefit of being raced, tested, and its flaws identified. The Porsche had gone through the typical maturing stage and was becoming a solid contender. The 512 had a couple of months of testing, but had never been raced. Its shortcomings and weaknesses were unknown. Though this was a problem, it would not be an issue if the requirements for homologation were not meet. Ferrari had completed 17 examples and displayed parts for the remaining 8 cars. This was good enough to pass and five of the 512's were entered into the Daytona 24 Hours.
A 512 S driven by Mario Andretti had proven good enough to capture a pole position. At the completion of the race, Andretti had driven his 512 S to a fifth place finish, a respectable result but Enzo had been hoping for more. A failure in the suspension had dropped Andretti from a possible second place finish. During the final laps, he had to carefully negotiate the car around the course and continued to fall in the ranking. The other four Ferrari 512's had experience mechanical problems and did not finish the race.
The results were disappointing, but it did identify areas of needed improvement. The aerodynamics, power and handling had been good but more work could be done. The weight and fuel consumption were two of its biggest flaws. By removing the top, the weight was reduced by 25 kg's. This was not a favorable solution for the drivers especially in bad weather. The fuel efficiency issues were addresses with an improve fuel injection system.
The next championship race for the 512's were at Sebring. Improvements and modifications had been made to the Ferrari's, mostly the conversion to spyders for four of the five entrants. The car that had been driven by Andretti at Daytona had its original configuration. Andretti had managed to secure a pole position, and at the start of the race quickly emerged at the front of the pack. A pit stop sent him back into fourth place. At the end of the race, Andretti had captured the first victory with a Ferrari 512. Part of the success was attributed to mechanical problems with the Porsches, forcing many to retire. The season was far from over, with five championship races still remaining.
During the remaining races, the 512 continued to be a strong contender, due in part to its excellent handling and its durability. Out of seventeen starts, only one retired prematurely. At Monza, the 512 had one of their best performances resulting in a second, third, and fourth place finish.
The final race of the championship season was at LeMans. This twenty-four hour endurance race tests the drivers, teams, and the car. Its straight stretches favor vehicles with a high top speed. Porsche and Ferrari both created special longtail versions of the 512, hoping to reduce drag and increase the top speed. During practice for Porsche, the longtail versions had proven to be underdeveloped so they were reluctant to use them. The aerodynamics created by the longtails gave Ferrari an advantage but the extra 100 KG's was a handicap. During qualifying, the 512's proved to be fast and earned excellent positioning on the grid.
The glorious season the 512 had endured up to this point was about to degrade. The claim-to-fame for the Ferrari's had been their reliability which allowed them to finish. Just thirty minutes into the race, Vascarella was forced to retire his 512 S after major mechanical problems. The rain began to fall and two factory works cars were involved in accidents. The remaining 512 S works car managed to lead the pack until the early morning, when due to poor track conditions, it crashed, killing a marshal. When the checkered flag dropped, it was a Porsche in the lead.
The season had shown that the 512 S was fast but more could be done to improve its performance. Work began on revising the car, and the result was dubbed the 512 M, meaning Modificato/Modified. 15 of the 25 vehicles were converted. Weight was reduced by nearly 40 kg's, and the engine was improved to produce 620 horsepower. Air circulation was improved with the adoption of an airbox, which forced air into the engine.
The inaugural race for the 512 M was at the 1970 championship race in Austria. Driven by Ickx and Giunti, the 512 M easily outpaced the 917s. Fuel and alternator problems meant the 512 M would not see the end of the race, but it had shown the capability of the car.
For the 1971 season, Ferrari left the 512 M to be raced by customer teams. Ferrari focused their efforts on a 3-liter prototype program, since many of the tracks favored the smaller prototype racers.
In the hands of the private customers, the 512 M was no match for the factory backed Porsche program. During the 1971 season, Porsche had won 8 of the 11 rounds of the Manufacturer World Championship. At the end of the 1971 season the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 had proven their abilities and supremacy that the FIA added new regulations that made them ineligible to race in world championships.
Chassis number 1020 was converted at the end of the 1970 season to a 512M and sold to NART. Chassis number 1024 was converted to a 512M and sold to Scuderia Brescia Corse. 1036 was a test car used by the racing division of Ferrari and later sold to Solar Productions where it was featured in Steve McQueen's movie, Le Mans. 1040 was sold to Chris Cord and Steve Earle of the United States and raced in the CanAm series. Due to its aggressive racing program and modifications that were made, it is probably the fastest and most advanced car of the series. It was run by Roger Penske and prepared in blue and yellow livery. Driven by Mark Donohue and David Hobbs, it was stricken with a string of bad luck and new had any good finishes. Its best was a third place finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona race. Chassis number 1046 was used for two things, the first being to aide in the homologation requirements, the second being a 'parts car.' Chassis number 1048 was sold as a test car to Filipinetti and not raced during the 1970 season. 1050 was sold in disassembled chassis and body configuration to Corrado Manfredini who later had it converted to a 512M and raced it during the 1971 season. Several of the 512S were destroyed in accidents, including 1012, a spyder which had crashed during practice at the ADAC 1000-KM on Nurburgring. 1026 was destroyed during the LeMans film. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
High bid of $750,000 at 2007 RM Sothebys. (did not sell) The Ferrari 512 S was produced beginning in 1969 and would become the fastest car Ferrari had ever built, with speeds in excess of 370 km/h. It was designed to take advantage of the homologation rules created by the C.S.I. (Commission Sportive International), by building prototypes and fitting them with street legal necessities such as horns, lights, and even spare tires. On paper the vehicles were street legal vehicles but in reality, they were racing machines. With financial backing from Fiat and a reduction of Group 6 rules, now requiring only 25 instead of 50 production units, Ferrari began creating the 25 vehicles for Group 6 competition. Late in 1969, Ferrari introduced the 512 S featuring a chassis similar to the P4 with its semi-monocoque design, and an engine derived from the 612 Can Am Series unit but fitted with twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and a Lucas fuel injection system. When first introduced it produced 550 horsepower; a year later with proper tuning and testing the unit's reliability had improved, weight reduced, and horsepower increased to 620. All of the 25 units were given Berlinetta configurations which were quickly modified to satisfy the racing situation. Such modifications included the removal of the center section of the bodywork or roof panel which were approved by the FIA on April 1 for these new 'Spyder' versions.
Five identically prepared Ferrari 512 S Berlinetta's line-up for the start of the Daytona 24 Hour race on January 31st of 1970 marking the inaugural debut of these prototype racers. The car driven by Mario Andretti qualified in first place but played second fiddle during the race to the Porsche 971s. As the checkered flag fell, only one 512 S had made it the entire 24 hours, and it was the car driven by Andretti, Arturo Merzario and Jacky Ickx, who finished in a respectable third place for the Ferrari marque.
Three cars were sent to the Sebring 12 Hour race, with two cars having shed 90 pounds with Spyder configuration while the third car was a Berlinetta. The Spyder driven by Mario Andretti and Arturo Merzario retired prematurely due to transmission troubles. Andretti continued in another works Ferrari and would finish the race in first place.
This example is a 1970 Ferrari 512 M with chassis number 1034 and driven by Merzario and the Swiss Clay Regazzoni at the 24 Hours of LeMans. At the time, it was one of three 512 S Berlinetta's entered in the race. Their day would come to a close when they were involved in an accident within the first three hours. The crash nearly destroyed the car. It would lay in ruins until 1990 with the car was given a second chance at life. A new car was created based upon the engine of 1034 and chassis plate, gearbox, driveline elements, steering rack and suspension components. It was updated to 512 M specifications with included adjustable flaps, relocated spare wheel, and lower nose. The engine was given chrome-plated cylinder linings and a greater compression ratio resulting in increased engine output.
This car has acquired the proper FIA papers and is race ready. It was driven by Jacky Ickx in the Modena Motorsport meeting at the Nurburgring on two occasions. He later drove it with Uwe Meissner at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Modena Motorsport F1 Festival in Nurburgring.
It was raced in the 2004 annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races and featured in photographs advertising the event. In 2005 it raced at 'The Legends' event at Mont. Tremblant.
The current records for this vehicle, maintained by the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCU), states that this car is built on a chassis to original specifications. It has a body comprised of fiberglass and all measurements and materials are to original specifications. It currently wears its period correct race livery including the #8, the names of Merzario, Regazzoni, and Jacky Ickx.
The engine is a five-liter V12 with Lucas fuel injection and mated to a Ferrari ZF five-speed manual gearbox. The engine produces 550 horsepower which is kept in control via Girling Hydraulic brakes with four-piston calipers. There are 15-inch wheels and a rack-and-pinon steering system.
This vehicle was brought to the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it had an estimated value of $800,000 - $900,000. Though it had a steep price tag, it was not the most expensive vehicle of the day, but certainly a highlight none-the-less. Bidding reached $750,000 but was not enough to satisfy the vehicle's reserve, meaning the lot was unsold. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
The Penske Racing / Kirk White Sunoco Ferrari 512M was prepared for David Hobbs and Mark Donohue to race in the 1971 long distance events, commencing with the 24 Hours of Daytona. Not satisfied with accepting the Ferrari as delivered, the Penske organization embarked on a revamp of Ferrari's best endurance racer. The body was replicated by Berry Plastics resulting in a substantial weight savings. The engines were built by Travers and Coon (Traco) and delivered over 600 horsepower (about a 50 horsepower increase over the factory built engine). Hobbs and Donohue qualified on the pole at Daytona, beating a host of Porsche 917s and other 512 Ferraris. The car was running in a second place in the middle of the night when the Porsche of Jacksonville's Tom Nehl and Charlie Perry flipped in the banking and struck the flying Ferrari. Many rolls of duct tape, a broom handle, and borrowed (from Luigi Chinetti) suspension pieces later, it was back on the track and finished an incredible third overall. They had gained back 30 of the 54 laps that they had lost due to the collision. Had the collision not occurred, the probability of an overall will was virtually assured.
At Sebring, the team of Hobbs and Donohue, once again, qualified on the pole and led the race. In the 4th hour of the 12 hour enduro, Donohue was struck repeatedly by Pedro Rodriguez in the Gulf 917 Porsche in an on-track confrontation, damaging the left rear corner and the fuel fillers. They soldiered on to finish 6th overall (the highest finishing Ferrari). Later in the year at LeMans, it qualified fourth but lasted only four hours, dropping out with gearbox failure. Its last race was at Watkins Glen, New York, in July of 1971, where it qualified on the pole, but did not finish due to suspension and steering failure.
Raced in 1970 and 1971, the Ferrari 512 was a sports vehicle, related to the Ferrari P series of sports prototypes that was eventually withdrawn from competition after a change in regulations in 1968. A year later Ferrari decided to do what Porsche did six months earlier and build 25 5.0 L cars at one time to be homologated as sports car prototypes. The surplus vehicles were intended to be sold to racing customers.
The 512 S carried a motor with a new V12 with 560 PS output. Unfortunately not air-cooled like the Porsche's flat-12 the 512 was equipped with a variety of cooling pipes and a heavy radiator. Weighing more than 100 kg than the alloy-framed 917, the chassis was of sturded steel that was reinforced with aluminum sheet. Despite the weight difference, the Ferrari 512S and Porsche 917 were evenly matched.
Predictable teething problems and a weak suspension and transmission were the main issues with the Ferrari 512s in the beginning of 1970.
Produced between 1973 and 1984, the Berlinetta Boxer, or the Ferrari 512 was the name for a series of vehicles produced by Ferrari in Italy. A huge venture for Enzo Ferrari, the Boxer was a mid-mounted flat-12 engine that replaced the FR Daytona and succeeded in the Ferrari stable by the Testarossa.
Though Enzo feared that the mid-engined road car would be too difficult for his buyers to handle, he eventually agreed to his engineers request that he adopt the layout. In the late 1950s this attitude began to change as the marque lost its racing dominance to mid-engined competitors. The result of all this was the mid-engined 4, 6 and 8 cylinder Dino racing vehicles that Ferrari eventually allowed for the production Dino road cars to use the layout also. While the Daytona was launched with its engine in front, the company moved its V12 engines to the rear with its P and LM racing vehicles. Finally in 1971 a mid-engined 12-cylinder road vehicle came on the scene.
Released at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, the first Boxer was the 365 GT4 BB with the production intent to rival Lamborghini's Miura. In 1973 it was finally released for sale at the Paris Motor Show. A total of 386 units were sold with only 58 of them being right hand drive. The most prestigious of all Berlinetta Boxers, this was the fastest and most rare model.
The Boxer was as unique as possible, though it shared its numerical designation with the Daytona. Like the Dino, the Berlinetta Boxer was a mid-engined vehicle that housed the now flat -12 engine mounted longitudinally rather than transversely. Sharing the internal dimensions of the Daytona V12, the engine was spread out to 180_ as on Ferrari's 1970 Formula One car. Mounted above a five-speed manual transmission the engine produced 344 hp at 7200 rpm and 302 ft_lbf of torque @ 3900 rpm. This engine also used timing belts instead of chains.
In 1976 the 365 was updated as the Ferrari 512 BB, resuming the name of the previous Ferrari 512 racer. A total of 929 of the 512 BBs were produced. Though peak horsepower was off slights to 340 hp @ 6200 rpm (redline 7000 rpm), the engine was larger at 4942 cc. Due to a larger displacement and a longer stroke, torque was now up to 46 kgf_m from 44 kgf_m at 4600 rpm. To achieve a lower center of gravity dry sump lubrication was used. New external features were a front spoiler, added NACA side air vents that ducted air to the brakes, four tail lights instead of six and wider rear tires.
In 1981 the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injected 512Bbi was released. The end of the series, the new fuel injected motor released cleaner emissions and 340 hp at 6000 rpm and produced 333 ft_lbf of torque at 4200 rpm. New updates included badging and a change to metric sized wheels along with the Michelin TRX metric tire system, red rear fog lamps outboard of the exhaust pipes in the rear valence and small running lights in the nose. A total of 1,007 512Bbi units were produced.
A total of 25 512S Ferrari's were produced within the first nine months with even chassis numbers from 1002 to 1050. In 1970, 19 of those units were raced, with five of them being spyders. At the end of the season, the 1020 was converted as a 512M and sold to NART which entered it in competition a year later.By Jessica Donaldson