In 1974 Niki Lauda tested a prototype Ferrari 312 PB in preparation for the 1974 World Sports Car Championship and when Enzo asked him what he thought Niki is alleged to have said something to the effect that if Mr Ferrari wanted to win the Grand Prix World Championship he ought to forget about the prototype 312PB. Enzo seems to have concurred with his new drivers opinion and his cars were never to contest the World Sports Car Championship during his lifetime again.
However many privateers never tired of entering Ferrari’s in the World Sports Car Championships lesser IMSA classes and today we will be looking at the fortunes of 3 privateer Ferrari 512 BBs that I was lucky enough to see in the early 80’s.
The Ferrari 512 BB was an update of the 365 GT4 BB we looked at last week. Introduced in 1976 the 512 featured an enlarged 360 hp 4942 cc / 301 cui 180 degree 12 cylinder engine with a 9.2:1 compression ratio and dry sump engine lubrication which is ideal for the higher cornering forces experienced in racing cars. 929 examples of the 512 BB were made before the 512i BB was introduced in 1981.
512 BB / LM #27577 1980 Silverstone 6 Hours, O’Rourke/Craft/Norman Q18 F 7th o/a 2nd IMSA, those with an interest in all things musical might recognise EMKA and Steve O’Rourke in connection with Pink Floyd whom Steve is credited as managing post Syd Barrat, Nick Mason was listed to drive the #11 but didn’t, after Steve died in 1994 Nick acquired this car to join his 250 GTO.
On the inside you can just make out the winning #8 De Cadenet – Ford driven by Alain De Cadenet (seen here) and Desiré Wilson who I believe a couple of weeks earlier became the first female to win a World Championship race of any kind in the same De Cadenet – Ford with the same co-driver at Monza.
512 BB / LM #35523 1981 Silverstone 6 Hours, Phillips/Salmaon/Earle Q25 DNF (Flat battery) A not untypical horribly wet and cold day at Silverstone the race was won by a Porsche 935 which will be the subject of a future blog.
512 BB / LM #31589 Andruet/Ballot-Léna 1981 Le Mans 24 hours, Q 37th, F 5th o/a 1st in IMSA GTX, my first holiday abroad alone was always going to be to go see the Le Mans 24 hours and I was not disappointed. Bell & Ickx won and there was an entertaining battle between 5 of these 512 BB’s for much of the race, though all but one other did not finish.
512 BB / LM #35523 1982 Silverstone 6 Hours, Phillips/Earle/Jones Q34, F 17th, regrettably this was the last time I saw the 512’s on the track, these fabulous sounding machines continued to be raced until 1985.
Hope you have enjoyed today’s ‘It’s The Real Thing’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a look at some Porsches from Thompson CT in the first day of my first Porsche week. Don’t forget to come back now !