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  Ferrari 312 PB
 

  Article Image gallery (124) Chassis (6) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1971 - 1973
Numbers built:12
Designed by:Mauro Forghieri
Predecessor:Ferrari 312 P Berlinetta
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 19, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOne of the main reasons behind the 312 PB project was the FIA's decision to abandon the 5 litre sports car class and allow only the 3 litre prototypes to run in the World Sports car Championship as of 1972. The 1971 season could be used as a learning year, which meant that Ferrari wasn't a year behind for once. The 'PB' made a disastrous debut at the 1000 km race at Buenos Aires; Italian driver Ignazio Giunti crashed fatally in the opening stages of the race. The best result in a Championship event was a second in the fourth round of the season at Brands Hatch. Reliability problems and misfortunate dogged the new Ferrari for most of the remainder of the season. The first victory came at the non-Championship Kyalami 9 Hours race towards the end of the season.

Over the winter, the 'PB' was further modified. The performance of the engine was increased from an output of 450 bhp to 460 bhp. Various body styles were also tested, with special attention paid to the rear aerodynamics. Winning the 1972 World Championship was the absolute priority, so Ferrari left nothing to chance. A total of six cars were built to the latest specification, so three could be at a race while the others could be prepared in Maranello for the next event. Additionally the very best drivers were hired, including Jacky Ickx, Brian Redman, Arthuro Merzario, Tim Schenken, Mario Andretti and Ronny Peterson.

Round one of the championship was the Buenos Aires 1000km race, where the 'PB' took its maiden World Championship victory in the hands of Schenken and Peterson. All other championship races of the season were subsequently won, with exception of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. No 'PBs' were entered at Le Mans, as it was considered by the works team as a 1000 km racer and not a 24 hour endurance racer. The Scuderia saw no need to enter it, fearing it would not complete the full distance. Only eight of the ten races counted towards the championship so the absence at Le Mans did not affect their standings. Ferrari won outright with 160 points (the maximum score), Alfa Romeo was a distant second with 85 points.

In 1973 Ferrari constructed a 12cm longer wheelbase version of the 'PB'. It also featured a further revised engine, which was now good for 475 bhp. Unfortunately for Ferrari, the rock-solid reliability record of 1972 was rarely matched in '73. The 'PB' shined only once, at the 1000 km of Monza race in April. One car finished at Le Mans, but a distant second behind the Pescarolo/Hill driven Matra. In the championship the Scuderia was also beaten by Matra, by a mere 9 points. At the end of the season Ferrari decided to focus completely on Formula 1, resulting in three driver's championships with the flat V12 engine. Ferrari has yet to return to sports car racing with a Works effort.

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  Article Image gallery (124) Chassis (6) Specifications