Video: Beautiful Ferrari 312 P looks and sounds divine at the Spa Classic

21st June 2024
Simon Ostler
After boycotting sportscar racing in 1968, Ferrari returned to the endurance scene in 1969 with the 312 P, a conversion of sorts of its F1 racer at the time, making use of the same 3.0-litre V12 engine and housing it inside sleek and beautiful bodywork.

It arrived at Sebring in ’69 with an open cockpit and Mario Andretti sharing driving duties with Chris Amon. Andretti stuck it on pole, and the car eventually finished second behind the Ford GT40 of Jackie Oliver and Jacky Ickx.

A disappointing appearance at Le Mans followed before several other winless races, eventually turning its attention to a new 5.0-litre V12 in a bid to take on the mighty Porsche 917. Two 312 Ps were sold to North American Racing Team (NART) and took part in the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours with a new look coupé design. The car survived the full 24-hour race, but didn’t cover enough distance to be classified at the chequered flag.

So it’s certainly not one of Ferrari’s most successful racing cars, but you have to admit it’s still absolutely stunning to look at. The sleek, simplistic bodywork is a wonderful example of prototype design of the late 1960s and early ‘70s, it’s so low to the ground it’s difficult to understand how anyone could possible fit.

Then there’s the noise, that wonderful roar of a Ferrari V12 producing around 450PS (331kW). When you consider the 312 P only weighs 585kg, you come to understand how it must feel to drive. It certainly looks a handful on a greasy looking Spa-Francorchamps circuit. What a treat for anyone who was in attendance at the 2024 Spa Classic.

Welcome to Goodwood Elevenses, a helping of motoring-related amusement to help break up your day. Watch the last video: The ultimate F1 track day at Hockenheim