The Ferrari 312P 1969 was a sports car prototype of Ferrari, used in international sports car racing.
Development history and technology
Ferrari left after a change in the regulations of the complete 1968 season in the World Championship for sports cars after they triggered by the seven liter Ford GT40 short-term change also had the 4 -liter Ferrari 330 banned from the race tracks.
For the season of 1969 were built in Maranello a new prototype, the 312P. The 312P with its 60 ° V12 3 liter engine was based on the Ferrari 312 Formula 1 The designation 312 for racing cars was introduced in 1966 by Ferrari at the start of the 3 - liter formula in the Formula 1 and used until 1979. The number 3 was available for the cubic capacity of 3 liters, the number 12 for the respective 12 - cylinder engines. The P stood for prototype, in contrast to S for the built in 25 copies sports car Ferrari 512S.
The new vehicle was, as preferred by the rules and practiced by competitors, initially designed as an open Spyder (barchetta ). Later, a more streamlining closed Berlinetta version was added, however, only came on fast tracks to use, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1969.
1969 did not put Ferrari 312P only one in the brand world championship and also in all these runs. The commitment of Ferrari remained half-hearted, as the company in motorsport suffered after several unsuccessful years from a lack of financial strength and it had given to provide suitable racing car for customer teams. This market was taken over by Porsche, as well as British and American companies. The final victory at Le Mans was already four years ago; the victory of Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory in 1965 remains to date the last overall victory at this endurance race. The last world champion in F1 John Surtees won in 1964 before Niki Lauda Ferrari 1975 world champion.
The 312P was in principle with over 400 hp from the F1 engine a fast car, but speed was not enough to against the most stable competition from Zuffenhausen exist (among the Porsche 908/ 02 as a direct counterpart ) and Ford can. The team of John Wyer continued the old Ford GT40 with 4.7 liters as a sports car continues successfully, the prototype Ford P68 or P69 Spyder with Ford Cosworth F1 engine was designed similarly as the 312P, but never finished a race. Also, the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 now had three liters.
At the 12 Hours of Sebring was achieved second overall behind a Ford GT40 from John Wyer. After the fourth rank in the top 500 km from Brands Hatch behind three Porsche 908 was followed by a series of failures. In Monza, after the poles of factory driver Chris Amon, the car also fell by an engine failure like the Targa Florio and the 1000 km at the Nurburgring. At Le Mans the Berlinettas were used. Both cars were, from the start in fifth and sixth going into the race, again. Only at the 1000 km of Spa there was again a sense of achievement through the second overall behind the Porsche 908 by Joseph Siffert and Brian Redman.
During the season it became clear that victory in long-distance races in the future would only be possible with a new 5 -liter sports car because Porsche was with the 25 built copies of the new 917 this direction.
Enzo Ferrari decided to flee to the front, sold shares in the company to FIAT and invested a portion of the proceeds in the construction of also 25 512S as it called on the sports car regulations. The 312P was sold to Luigi Chinetti and its North American Racing Team, who used the car only sporadically. From 1971, we tested the Ferrari 312PB, now with 180 ° V12 flat motor, for the 1972 season, from which the five liters were banned.