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The Ferrari 312 P was a Group 6 Prototype-Sports Car made by Ferrari, which was raced in 1969 and 1970. It was part of the Ferrari P series of Prototype-Sports Cars.

History

After boycotting sports car racing in 1968 to protest a rule change that also banned their 4-litre 330 P4, Ferrari built a 3000cc prototype in 1969, the 312 P. It was hardly more than a 3-litre F1 Ferrari 312 with open Barchetta, and later the closed top Berlinetta.

Racing career

The car's racing career started at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Ferrari (short on money) started only one 312 P (chassis no. 0868). Mario Andretti got pole position, and with Chris Amon he managed to finish second, raising hopes for a prospective Ferrari victory. At the ensuing test weekend at Le Mans, a different car, chassis no. 0870, disappointed, and it was clear that better aerodynamics (with a closed coupe) were to be necessary. The 0870 also raced at the BOAC 500 in Brands Hatch, where Amon and Pedro Rodríguez finished fourth (behind three Porsche 908-01). At 1000km Monza, Chris Amon took the pole with the 312 P spider, ahead of Jo Siffert's 908-01, but had to retire. The 312 P was not entered in the second Italian race, the Targa Florio, and had to retire in the German 1000 km Nürburgring. At the 1000 km Spa race, a 312 P was second behind the Siffert/Redman 908-01LH. Two 312 Ps were entered in the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans, now as low-drag Berlinettas. They were fifth and sixth on the grid, but didn't finish.

During the 1969 season, the appearance of the Porsche 917 had made clear that only a similar new 5-litre car would be able to challenge it. Since mid-1969, Ferrari spent some of the millions earned in the Fiat deal for the construction of the required series of 25 new 5-litre V12 Group 5 sports cars. At the end of the season the two remaining 312 Ps were sold to Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team, since the European branch of Ferrari racing would rely on the Ferrari 512 in 1970. The 312 Ps returned to Europe for the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, where one of them was raced (as opposed to eleven 512s); it was among the 16 cars still running at the end. It is said that if the factory made more cars, and backed the teams more that the car could have dominated as it was very agile, and fast.