Last week on Ferrari Friday we looked at the catastrophe that befell the Ferrari teams Grand Prix effort as a result of Enzo’s illness sabbatical in 1972.
The story of the Ferrari teams fortunes in sports car racing during this period were not quite so catastrophic but having red washed the World Sportscar Championship of 1972 winning all races except the Le Mans 24 hours, which the team did not enter allegedly because they did not believe their engine would prove sufficiently reliable, 1973 proved to be a disappointment.
Matra who had only entered, and won, the Le Mans 24 hours in 1972 made a successful bid for the World Sports Car Championship in 1973. While this was by no means as comprehensive a blue wash as Ferrari had achieved the year before.
The absence of ‘Fury’ Forghieri who had been exiled to the Fiorano test track by FIAT management during Enzo Ferrari’s sabatical was tangible in terms of Ferrari’s flagging sports car results.
This 1973 spec Ferrari 312 PB chassis #0890 was built for the 1972 season during which Art Mezario and Brian Redman drove the car to victory in the Spa 1000 kms.
Mezario also drove to a solo non championship victory at Imola in a 500 km race in this chassis, #0890 only disgraced it’s self once from six starts in 1972 with an engine failure at Kyalami.
During 1973 #0890 was raced a further five times with 2nd place finishes it’s best results at Dijon for Ickx / Redman and at the Nurburgring for Carlos Pace / Merzario a partnership which brought the car a 3rd place in it’s final front line race in the 6 hours at The Glen.
Chassis #0890 seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed is easily recognisable being the only one of the six 312 P chassis that had the air intake modification to the drivers side chassis skin which appeared at the ADAC 1000 kms at the Nurburgring in 1973.
In 1972 Ferrari built six 312 P chassis so that there could be a team of three freshly prepared cars at each of the World Championship races. The PB initials were used by the press to distinguish the car from the previous 312 P model of 1971.
The 1972 Ferrari sports car team managed by Peter Schetty with Ermanno Cuoghi looking after the preparation of the cars was without doubt the class of the field,
their cars powered by a water cooled 3 litre /183 cui 48 valve flat 12 motor that was in essence a Grand Prix engine detuned for reliability. Five of the six 312 P chassis originally built in 1972 are known to exist today.
Thanks for joining me on today’s PB edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and I hope that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !