17 Ferrari 512 S’s and parts for 8 others were built in late 1969 in response to the 25 917’s Porsche had built in early 1969 in order to be allowed to race in the World Sports Car Championship which allowed up to 5 litre / 305 cui engines. These rules were introduced so that a few old Ford GT 40’s could continue racing, it was never imagined that Porsche and then Ferrari would build 25 cars each to take part in the series which was intended to be for new 3 litre / 183 cui cars like the Ferrari 312P and Porsche 908.
Unlike Porsche who planned on using private works supported teams to run and develop the 917’s on it’s behalf, Ferrari planned on using a single works team to build and develop the 512 S, supplying the rest of the 512 S models to private entrants to whom Ferrari gave little by way of support effectively treating it’s privateer teams as little more than field fillers.
Ferrari had to sell his road car operation to FIAT in order finance the production to the 512 S model, and as it turned out Porsche’s private partners had snapped up most of the best drivers.
Nonetheless Ferrari took the fight to Porsche with a single championship victory at the 1970 Sebring 12 hours courtesy of Mario Andretti, Nino Vaccarella and Ignazio Guinti driving a 512 S who beat Peter Revson and actor Steve McQueen in their Porsche 908 after Mario famously drove the last 90 mins of the race and chased down an exhausted Peter Revson in what Mario once described as the race of his life.
For most of the rest of the 1970 season the Ferrari 512 S was out classed every where, except at the non championship race run at Kyalami in South Africa, by the Porsche 917’s, particularly those of the JW Automotive team. Ferrari had difficulty selling all of it’s 512 S models, where as Porsche had to build a second run of 25 917’s to meet demand.
This 512 S spyder, chassis #1006, was developed in order to save 25 kgs by the factory and sold to Luigi Chinetti’s N.A.R.T. team. Ronnie Buchnum and Tony Adamowicz drove it into second place at the 1971 24 hours of Daytona.
#1006 had to have both front and rear bodywork replaced during the course of the race, the body work is as it appeared on #1006 when it started the 1971 Daytona 24 hours with aerodynamic lips on the nose, which were not on the second nose fitted when it finished the race.
Thanks for joining me on this “Field Filler” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a one off Formula One Lotus that never raced. Don’t forget to come back now.