Ferraris are a mainstay at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but only in the GT classes now. You can’t blink at La Sarthe without accidentally nudging a 458 with an LMP1. (Sorry Jeff!) Let’s ride on one of Ferrari’s older Le Mans prototypes at Road America, then: the cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs flat-12 Ferrari 312 PB.
Welcome to Onboard of the Week, a feature where we spend that pesky time between races looking at awesome footage from inside the car.
This beautiful screaming prototype debuted in 1971 but quickly ended in 1973 when Scuderia Ferrari departed endurance racing to focus on Formula One.
For a brief period, the 312 PB was highly successful, winning the 1972 World Sportscar Championship constructors’ title by winning ten out of the eleven races on the calendar, per Conceptcarz. That eleventh race was the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans because Ferrari didn’t think the car would make it the entire distance. That myth was busted in 1973, when the team finished second behind Matra.
Clearly, this car was angry about leaving so soon, angry about life, and angry about everything. It burbles and pops on downshifts in a way that makes the bucolic hills of rural Wisconsin sound as if someone is gargling metal chunks over a loudspeaker.
Ferrari wouldn’t dip its toes back into a purpose-built sportscar endurance racing prototype until the crazy F50-engined 333 SP of the nineties came along. Even then, they were merely a constructor. The 312 PB was their last works entry.
Today, Ferrari fans will just have to be content with lovely V8 sounds coming from the GT classes. Fortunately, Ford followed them there for their return to Le Mans as well.
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