1973 Ferrari 312 PB Pilots: C. Pace, A. Merzario Team: SpA Ferrari SEFAC Race: 2nd overall (S 3.0 class) at Le Mans in 1973 pw – ? (diecast)
In 1970 FIA announced new rules for the 1972 sports car season. Basically, they outlawed the big 5-liter cars like the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512. In addition, the minimum weight for a 3-liter car would be 650 kg, about 100 kg more than current cars in the class. That being so, Porsche abandoned the championship after 1971. Ferrari, on the other hand, quit further development of the 512M and looked at their 3-liter F1 cars. Development started in 1970, and using their 312B F1 car as a basis, they developed a new engine, the Tipo 623/001. The new engine was a 180° V12 with 2991 cm³, DOHC, 48 valves and Lucas fuel injection. Like the engine, the chassis also came from the 312 F1 car. It was an aluminum semi-monocoque, with the engine and rear suspension attached to a steel frame, bolted to the aluminum tub.
In reality, the new car was an F1 car with a full body. Rated at 460 hp and with a top speed of 320 km/h, the new 312 PB looked promising. The 312PB first raced at the 1000 km of Buenos Aires, in 1971. And it was a tragic debut: Ignazio Giunti fatally crashed his 312 PB in the beginning of the race. The car had a lot of reliability issues during the whole season, and Ferrari had a hard time addressing everything. But in 1972 the 312PB did much better, and Ferrari won the championship, though it did not race at La Sarthe.
With the terrific results of 1972, Ferrari turned it’s sights towards the 24 Heures du Mans of 1973. However, the 312 PB received a few adjustments: the wheelbase was stretched and the engine tweaked to deliver 475 hp. Unfortunately the reliability issues were back, and of the three 312PB in the race, only #16 finished, in second place. In scale, though a pw, it’s a pretty nice model. In fact, it’s one of my best pw cars. The paint job is very well done, with a spot-on livery. Details are quite good, and if you take into consideration that it’s dirt-cheap, you get a great model for the money.