The Ferrari P series were sports prototype racing cars produced in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Although Enzo Ferrari resisted the move even with Cooper dominating F1, Ferrari began producing mid-engined racing cars in 1960 with the Ferrari Dino-V6-engine Formula Two 156, which would be turned into the Formula One-winner of 1961.
Sports car racers followed in 1963. Although these cars shared their numerical designations (based on engine displacement) with road models, they were almost entirely dissimilar. The first Ferrari mid-engine in a road car did not arrive until the 1967 Dino, and it was 1971 before a Ferrari 12-cylinder engine was placed behind a road-going driver in the 365 GT4 BB.
The 250 P was a Prototype racer produced in 1963, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring, 1000 km Nürburgring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in that year. It was an open cockpit mid-engined design with a single-cam 3.0 L 250 Testa Rossa V12 engine and was almost entirely unrelated to the other 250 cars.
275 P and 330 P
The 275 P and 330 P were evolutions of the 250 P with longer wheelbase and 3.3 L or 4.0 L engines, respectively. These cars raced during 1963 and 1964.
The 250 P evolved into a saleable mid-engined racer for the public, the 250 Le Mans. Introduced at Paris in November, 1963, the LM was successful for privately entered racers around the world. Notably, a 250 LM entered by the North American Racing Team won the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory, which remains as Ferrari's last overall victory in the endurance classic. This car also is on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. About 32 models were built in 1964 and 1965, with all but the first few powered by 3.3 L 320 hp (238 kW) engines, though the name did not change with the increase in displacement. A fully independent double wishbone suspension was specified with rack and pinion steering and four wheel disc brakes. Ferrari had intended that the 250 LM be homologated for racing as a Group 3 Grand Touring Car, however in April 1964 the FIA refused to do so as Ferrari had built considerably fewer than the required 100 units. The 250 LM thus had to run as a Prototype until it was homologated as a Group 4 Sports Car for the 1966 season.
The North American Racing Team Ferrari 250 LM that won the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans is a popular attraction at classic car shows and was on display recently at the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. A 1964 Ferrari 250 LM was auctioned off by Sotheby's in 2013 for a price of $14.3 million to an undisclosed telephone bidder. This bidding smashed the previous price record for this model.
275 P2 and 330 P2
Two entirely new cars, the 275 P2 and 330 P2, followed in 1965. Featuring lower and lighter chassis and more aerodynamic body, the cars were paired with revamped versions of the previous 275 and 330 V12, now equipped with four camshafts and producing 350 hp and 410 hp, respectively. The 330 P2 was first used by Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team (NART) in the Daytona race that year. In 1965 275 P2 0836 won the 1000 km of Monza, 275 P2 0828 won the Targa Florio, 330 P2 0828 won the Nurburgring 1000 km, and 365 P2 0836or0838 won the 12 hr. Reims. The P2 cars were replaced by the P3 for 1966.
For 1965 Ferrari also built a customer version of P2 cars; they were equipped with a SOHC 4.4 L engine and thus were named 365 P2. In 1966 Ferrari upgraded their 365 P2 cars with new bodywork by Piero Drogo.
The 1966 330 P3 introduced fuel injection to the Ferrari stable. It also used a P3 (Type 593) transmission that was prone to failure and was replaced by a ZF transmission when P3 0844 and 0848 were converted to 412 P's, another Ferrari first that would only last one season when the ZFs were replaced by 603 P4 transmissions in all the 412 P's.
There are no longer any Ferrari P3s existent as original P3 0846 was converted to a P3/4 and P3s 0844 and 0848 were converted to 412 P's by Ferrari.
The Ferrari 412 P was a "customer version" of the famous 330 P3 race car, built for independent teams like NART (0844), Scuderia Filipinetti (0848), Francorchamps (0850), and Maranello Concessionaires (0854). These cars had carburetor engines instead of the factory Lucas fuel injection. Surviving 412 P cars are worth approximately $8 million[clarification needed]at auction. (at Silverstone Classic 2011, 0844s suggested value (by the mechanic working on it) was quoted at UK£12m (US$18m)).
There are only two cars that were originally built as 412 P's: 0850 and 0854. P3 chassis. P3 Typo Motors except for Carburetors in place of FI. P4 suspension but P3 wheelbase 2412mm vs. 2400mm (P4 and P3/4 0846) 0844 and 0848 were originally P3 Factory Racecars but when Ferrari sold them to customers they removed the Lucas Mechanical Fuel Injection and replaced it with Weber carburetors which reduced their output, something Ferrari wanted to do so that they would win points but not beat the factory cars which were then P3/4 0846 (See Above), P4 0856, P4 0858, and P4 0860.
The P3's and 412 P had the same 4-liter block which is different from the P4-4 liter block and all had P3 not P4 chassis. P3/4 0846 is unique having, after modification by Ferrari for the 1967 race season, a P3 chassis with a P4 engine.
The 412 P and related 330 P3/4 and P4 models weren't eligible for the International Championship of Makes in 1968 as their engines were too large for the new 3 litre Group 6 Prototype category and too few examples had been built to allow homologation for the 5 litre Group 4 Sports Car category which required production of at least 50 units. Ferrari did not contest the championship for a year in protest.
Four 412 Ps were built:
- 0844 was a converted by Ferrari from a P3 to a 412 P, then by Ferrari and NART to a 330 Can Am, and is currently in Germany fitted with a replica 412 P body.
- 0848 was a converted by Ferrari from a P3 to a 412 P and is currently in Switzerland.
- 0850 is an original 412 P and currently owned by an American.
- 0854 is an original 412 P and currently owned by James Glickenhaus, who also commissioned and owns the Ferrari P4/5 and P3/4 #0846.
330 P3/4 and P4
1967 was a banner year for the Enzo Ferrari motor company, as it saw the production of the mid-engined 330 P4, a renowned V12 endurance car meant to replace the previous year's P3. Only four Ferrari P4-engined cars were ever made: one P3/4 and three 330 P4s. Their three-valve cylinder head was modeled after those of Italian Grand Prix-winning Formula One cars. To this was added the same fuel injection system from the P3 for an output of up to 450 hp (335 kW).
The P3 won the 1000 km Monza in 1966, and the P4 won the same race in 1967. The P3/4, one of the P4s, and one 412 P electrified the racing world when they crossed the finish line together (in first 0846, second 0856, and third place 0844) in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona, for a photo finish to counter Ford's photo of the Ford GT40 Mk.II crossing the finish line together First, Second, and Third at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Since then, the fate of the these four nearly legendary cars has been the subject of much attention. All of the P4s built are accounted for. By chassis number:
- 0846 (the only P3/4) was originally built early in 1966 as a P3 by Ferrari. It was modified in December 1966 to accept a P4 engine and its wheelbase was decreased P3 2412mm to P4 2400mm. It retained its P3 nose and chassis and vestigial P3 engine mounts becoming a P 3/4. This vehicle was damaged in an accident at Le Mans and was discarded by Ferrari. Recently, many components of the original P3/4 0846 including its original P 3/4 chassis have resurfaced in the possession of exotic car collector and enthusiast James Glickenhaus, a former movie director and stock exchange magnate. Although both he and David Piper (from whom he acquired the car) thought it one of three replica P4 chassis constructed with the blessing of Enzo Ferrari in the mid-seventies from factory P4 chassis blueprints given to David Piper by Enzo Ferrari, a recent "Death Bed Statement" of Tom Meade's confirms that Tom Meade bought, directly From Enzo Ferrari, in the early seventies, Ferrari P3/4 0846's original fire damaged chassis which had been put in the Ferrari factory scrap yard after 0846's accident at Le Mans in 1967 and later sold 0846's original P 3/4 chassis to the original chassis maker who repaired and sold it, unbeknownst to David Piper, who thought the original chassis maker was making three new P4 chassis from the original P4 chassis blueprints Enzo Ferrari gave to him. This dovetails with Mauro Forghieri's written statement that 0846's original chassis was scrapped not destroyed and that "the modification of the chassis with vestigial mounts etc." "of course" could have been done by Ferrari. 0846's original P3/4 chassis is different from, and can not be made from P4 blueprints. Nearly all of the tube frame chassis and other components from the original wrecked P3/4 0846 are part the car owned by James Glickenhaus today. This discovery has stirred debate. The Ferrari Market Letter recently reported: "While Ferrari insists that 0846 was scrapped and is no more, a car exists with strong claims to be the resurrection of that car." Its tube frame chassis appears to be a P3 Chassis modified to hold a P4 engine, as was the case with 0846 exclusively, and the damage from two contemporary racing accidents appears in the frame as well. The car's transmission, engine heads, and steering rack also include the correct Le Mans scrutinizing marks, linking them to P3 0846 and P3/4 0846 of 1966 and 1967. P3/4 0846 was road tested by Car and Driver magazine.
Since 2002, Ferrari S.p.A. has continuously published the fact on their official web site (in the owners section) that in Ferrari S.p.A's sole discretion Ferrari P3/4 Chassis 0846 has been owned by James Glickenhaus since July 2000, when he bought it from David Piper. The legal identity of this particular car that James Glickenhaus has owned since July 2000 as published by Ferrari S.p.A. on their copyrighted web site was established when James Glickenhaus informed Ferrari S.p.A. that he was registering this car as 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 Chassis 0846 with US Motor Vehicle Authorities in 2000 and if Ferrari believed this was not true that they had the duty to act within a two year period which they did not. "The common law doctrine of estoppel by acquiescence is applied when one party gives legal notice to a second party of a fact or claim, and the second party fails to challenge or refute that claim within a reasonable time. The second party is said to have acquiesced to the claim, and is estopped from later challenging it, or making a counterclaim. The doctrine is similar to, and often applied with, "estoppel by laches". After the 2014 Amelia Island Concours, noted Ferrari Historian Keith Bluemel clearly reported in Cavallino magazine that Ferrari 330 P 3/4 0846 owned by Jim Glickenhaus attended that Concours.
In the Official Ferrari Publication Magazine #9 there's an article on Glickenhaus's 512S Modulo, his 330 P3/4 0846 "The Ferrari P 3/4" and Flavio Manzoni the new head of Ferrari Design featuring a photo of Glickenhaus's Ferrari P 3/4 Chassis 0846 that he sent to Ferrari as restored by Glickenhaus as a coupé before he restored her as a Spyder.
Every year continuously from 2004 to date, officially authorized Ferrari dealer "Wide World of Cars" has inspected Glickenhaus' 1967 Ferrari P 3/4 Chassis 0846 and certified to NYS DMV that is in fact 1967 Ferrari P 3/4 Chassis 0846 and safe for operation on public roads under NYS DMV law. This is the same officially authorized Ferrari dealer who arranged for Ferrari S.p.A. to inspect this car in NY which resulted in Ferrari S.p.A. manufacturing P4 parts that Glickenhaus used in the restoration of 1967 Ferrari P 3/4 Chassis 0846. In 2015 France's TF1 covered the 1967 Ferrari P 3/4 Chassis as it exists today for a Television special. In 2015 1967 Ferrari P 3/4 Chassis 0846 was invited to The Greenwich Concours d'Élegance.
- 0856 remains in its original state and is owned by Lawrence Stroll
- 0858 was converted into a 350 Can-Am by Ferrari but is now fitted with a replica P4 Coupe body.
- 0860 was also converted by Ferrari to a 350 Can-Am but is presently wearing a replica P4 Spyder body and is in a French automobile museum
The Ferrari 330 P4 made a notable appearance in the video game Forza Motorsport 2. The P4 in Forza Motorsport 3 is patterned on P3/4 0846 which James Glickenhaus made available to Microsoft and James Glickenhaus is credited by Microsoft in Forza Motorsport for making his P3/4 0846 available to them for this purpose.
The P4 also appears in the video game Gran Turismo 5, as one of the most expensive 20 million classics on the game.
Due to the great fame and sleek appearance of the original design, more than a hundred P4 replicas of various design have been built. A high-quality P4 replica built with genuine Ferrari engine (e.g., a 400i V12) may command as much as $200,000, but simpler ones (often with Rover engines and Renault drive-trains) fetch around $50,000.
There have also been replica chassis built:
- 0900 was a continuation commissioned and currently owned by David Piper
- 0900a is another currently unfinished continuation also owned by Piper
- 0900b is a third continuation, but is still under construction. Its frame was made in the 2000s by Piper for an American customer.
After boycotting sports cars racing in 1968 to protest the rule change, Ferrari built another 3000cc prototype in 1969, named the 312 P.
The 3.0 Ferrari 312P Barchetta and 3.0 Ferrari 312P Berlinetta were hardly more than a 3-litre F1 Ferrari 312 with a prototype body. At the 12 Hours of Sebring the spyder finished 2nd to a JWA Gulf Ford GT40. At the BOAC 500 in Brands Hatch the same spyder was 4th behind three Porsche 908-01. At 1000km Monza, Chris Amon took the pole with the 312P spyder, ahead of Jo Siffert's 908-01, but had to retire. At the 1000km Spa, a 312P was second behind the Siffert-Redman 908-01LH. At Le Mans two 312P Berlinettas were entered. They were 5 and 6 on the grid, but didn't finish. At the end of the season the 312Ps were sold to N.A.R.T., the American Ferrari importer of Luigi Chinetti.
In 1971, another rule change was announced for 1972, and Ferrari abandoned further development of the 512M in order to focus on a new 3 Litre prototype based on the 312B F1 car. The 312PB would prove fast but fragile in its debut at the 1971 Sebring 12 hours. Further development over the 1971 season brought increased reliability.
The 312PBs with the flat-12 boxer engine were very successful, winning ten out of eleven races in the 1972 World Championship for Makes and delivering the title to Ferrari. Scuderia Ferrari didn't enter the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans, as Enzo Ferrari thought that the F1-based engine could not last the full 24 hours. He would be proven wrong.
The team competed in the 1973 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished second behind Matra, which would also be the teams' final standing in the 1973 championship. At the end of the 1973 season, Ferrari was forced by chief investor FIAT to abandon sports car racing, instead focusing on F1.
In 2005, James Glickenhaus commissioned Pininfarina to rebody an Enzo as a special one-off custom car. It is inspired by the early P racers, and especially Glickenhaus' own resurrected P3/4.
In May 2010 Glickenhaus announced that P 4/5 Competizione a new car based on P 4/5s designs but built to FIA GT2 Standards would be built and Raced at the 2011 24 Hours of Nurburgring by Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus in an Experimental Class under the Direction of Paolo Garella Former Head of Special Projects at Pininfarina.
At The 2011 24 Hours of Nurburgring P 4/5 Competizione finished 2 in class and received a special Constructor's Trophy. After The 24 Hours of Nurburgring P 4/5 Competizione was displayed in The National Auto Museum of Italy in Torino for a month.
For the 2012 Racing season P 4/5 Competizione was modified and KERS was added. At The 2012 24 Hours of Nurburgring P 4/5 Competizione M finished 1 in Class, 12 OA and Won The FIA Alternate Energy Cup. It is the highest finishing Hybrid GT car to ever finish a major 24 Hour Endurance Race.
- Michael L Twite, The World's Racing Cars, Fourth Edition, 1971, page 114
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- Ferrari pages: 250 P, 330 P, 250 LM, 275 P, 275 P2, 330 P2, 365 P, 330 P3, 330 P4, 412 P, 312 P, 512 S, 512 M, 312 P (1971), 512 BB LM
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