1975 Ferrari 312 T Pilot: Niki Lauda Team: Scuderia Ferrari Race: 3rd in the 1975 Italian GP Hot Wheels - T6937 (diecast)
Though it spawned from the 312 B3/74 of 1974, the Ferrari 312 T had some very distinctive characteristics. In particular, out of the norm for a Ferrari, it had a transversely-mounted gearbox (312 Transversale). But in terms of chassis it was basically the same, an aluminum monocoque with a composite body. And the engine was the old naturally aspirated, mid-engine and longitudinally mounted flat-12 with 2992 cm³. With DOHC, 48 valves and Lucas fuel injection it produced around 500 hp.
The 312 T also had a very different suspension from that of the 312 B3, and the front of the chassis was also much narrower. As a result, the handling of the car became inherently neutral, ending the persistent understeer which plagued the 312 B3. With that, Ferrari was very confident about the 312 T.
After a long drought, the 1974 season was a desperately needed injection of enthusiasm for Maranello. Scuderia Ferrari scored three wins, and things were finally looking better. So with a good car and a good team, hopes were high for the 1975 season. Austrian Niki Lauda and Swiss Clay Regazzoni worked out well together. And as Sporting Director, Luca di Montezemolo was a very good bridge (and buffer) between the team and upper management. By June, Ferrari already had three wins in seven races, and the cars were running basically trouble-free.
The Italian Grand Prix of 1975 was a huge event for Ferrari. It took place at the Monza circuit on September 7th, in their own backyard. Ferrari had a LOT running in that race. It was their first solid shot at FIA’s F1 World Championship for Constructors since 1964. And equally important, it was their first chance at the Driver’s Championship also since 1964. For Monza, the scuderia had Regazzoni on car #11 (chassis #312T-024) and teammate Lauda on car #12 (chassis #312T-023). With his four victories so far in the season, Lauda had a solid chance at the championship. If he finished at least fifth he would take the title. But he did better – Lauda came in third and Regazzoni won! That was enough for his first world championship.
One more Ferrari. Well, not just “a” Ferrari, but the 312 T that gave Lauda his first world title. As I said before, I really like Niki Lauda. Back when I was a kid and still followed F1, he was one of my favorites. Well, I never saw him drive a Ferrari, but did follow him in his McLaren years. In scale, once again Hot Wheels delivers a FANTASTIC model. I’m certain hardcore Ferrari and/or F1 collectors will agree that these models are just terrific. They offer a great detail level for a decent price. Unfortunately though, Hot Wheels is no longer producing them. Such a shame… 🙁