Rikkardo’s Retro Racing Cars #4 Ferrari 312PB

After covering finding inspiration for the last post in this series (Greenwood Corvette) I thought I’d start doing these based off of my slot car collection. That was we can have a look at the proper car and I can give a little review of the model as well 🙂

Today’s topic is the Ferrari 312PB and it’s miniature counterpart created by the Italian company Slot It.

The 312PB was built in 1971 to compete in the Group 6 Prototype Sports Car endurance class and then later raced (throughout 1972 and 1973) in the Group 5 Sports Car class, which was basically the same as Group 6 except cars had to be limited to a 3 litre engine capacity . In essence it was a reshelled 312B Formula 1 car. It shared the same 3.0L flat 12 and 5 speed gearbox as the Formula 1 car. The flat 12 sounds insane! I highly recommend watching this video to get an idea of what it sounded like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dFzgsq49R8

The 1971 season was not at all successful for the little Ferrari. The car failed to score a win throughout the entire season and in its’ debut race at the 1000km of Buenos Aires in Argentina, Italian driver Ignazio Giunti was killed at the wheel of a 312PB after a head on collision with Jean-Pierre Beltoise’s broken down Matra, which Beltoise was pushing back to the pits at the time.

The new Group 5 rules of 1972 seemed to suit the 312PB. It won every race it entered and won the manufacturer’s championship however Ferrari decided to skip LeMans as the engine had not lasted for 24 hours in testing.

In 1973 the car did reach LeMans. Ferrari were still uncertain that the engine would survive 24 hours of punishment and so designated the Arturo Merzario/Carlos Pace car as a ‘hare’ who would go round as fast as they could, not worrying about longevity of components, to get the other cars, specifically the Matras, to try to keep up with it and break their cars while the other Ferrari’s plodded round at a sensible pace to finish. Funnily enough it was only the ‘hare’ car that finished the race, a respectable second behind the Matra of Henri Pescarolo and Gerard Larrousse.

real car stock image

Now for a look at the smaller car. All of the Slot It cars I’ve had seem to perform fantastically on wooden tracks and not so much so on plastic tracks. They are fast on the plastic track but the strength of the magnet seems to make them run a little lumpy. With most cars I’d simply remove magnet, I think there is more skill to driving without magnets anyway I’m not quite brave enough to take the magnet out of a Slot It haha! They are just too powerful for my skill level! Slot it cars are also incredibly light. I’m really not sure how they manage to make such robust little cars when there is such little weight too them. It really shows the quality of the materials used.

All Slot It cars are great models and the 312 is no exception. It features a fully detailed interior with a dashboard, seats, a full length driver who has seat belts that are separate to his body and not just painted on. The only really breakable part on the model is the mirror which stands up on a narrow stalk. Mine’s a bit of a shelf queen though so as you can see it’s still present

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Because the car is so compact they’ve mounted the motor transversely to allow the full interior. It doesn’t compromise the way the car drives at all! slot car 5

the livery is of the car driven to victory at the 1000km of Monza in 1972 by Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni. I always find it fascinating that a lot of pre 1980s Formula 1 drivers also used to drive sports cars. It shows that these guys could be pretty diverse.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. The Slot It 312PB can be picked up at all good stockists such as pendle slot racing. It’s an interesting little car from an era of sports car racing that I really don’t know enough about!

Thanks for reading

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