A short history of the sleek Ferrari 512 S

A short history of the sleek Ferrari 512 S

Visiting the hallowed motorsport section of the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy is definitely something to behold.

There are many Formula One cars dating back to the 1955 D50 racecar. Personally, I am a huge fan of endurance racing so it came as no surprise when I clapped eyes on the very cool but lesser-known — compared to its arch-rival the Porsche 917 — Ferrari 512 S from 1970, which participated in the World Marques Championship race series. It was meant to spawn 25 road-going homologation models in both berlinetta (coupe) and Spyder (open-top) variants.

Specification wise, the model was equipped with a light alloy, semi-monocoque frame, while power came from a mid-mounted 5.0-litre V12 good for 410kW, which it achieved at a dizzying 8 500rpm. The total weight of the two-seater came in at 850kg, giving it an incredible power-to-weight ratio.

Its race exploits included participating in the renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans where its long tail design helped it to reach a top speed of 340km/h on the Haundiliers straight. However, it was in the 12 Hours of Sebring in the US where it won, helmed by the team of Ignazio Giunti, Nico Voccarella and Mario Andretti.

Meanwhile, it came second, third and fourth in the Monza 1 000km of Spa, while with Andretti, Arturo Merzario and Jacky Ickx it took another podium finish at 24 Hours of Daytona, as did Vaccarella and Giunti at the Targa Florio.

Granted, the success of the model as a racecar may have not have made it as revered as the dominant Porsche 917 but, man, does it look gorgeous. The 512 S only raced one season before it was put out to pasture to make way for the 3.0-litre 312 PB (Prototype B), which won the 1972 World Sportscar Championship. – Lerato Matebese