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1981 FERRARI 512 BOXER BERLINETTA BELLANCAUTO LE MANS ENDURANCE RACING COMPETITION COUPE

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1981 FERRARI 512 BOXER BERLINETTA BELLANCAUTO LE MANS ENDURANCE RACING COMPETITION COUPE
Sold for US$ 990,000 Including Commission
Bonhams Auction, Carmel, CA. 2014
The Ex-Fabrizio Violati, Maurizio Flammini, Duilio Truffo, Marco Micangeli 1981 and 1984 Le Mans 24-Hours race car
Chassis no. 35529
Engine no. F102B-009
*Uniquely sophisticated 5-litre flat-12 engined aerodyne
*Veteran of not just one Le Mans 24-Hours race – but two
*Also competed at World Championship level at Monza and Mugello
*Offered after 23 years in the Collezione Maranello Rosso
*A highly individualized 200mph Boxer Berlinetta/Le Mans
THE FERRARI 512 BOXER BERLINETTA
Ferrari as a marque has always been understandably protective of its towering prestige. When the rival Maserati and upstart Lamborghini factories put sophisticated rear-engined performance cars into production - while Ferrari was still marketing its front-engined 365GTB/4 Daytona series - the Maranello model range began to look traditional and dated. The new, probably younger generation of 'supercar' enthusiasts voted with their feet, and such models as the Lamborghini Miura and the Maserati Bora began to steal Ferrari sales.
Against this background Ferrari developed its own rear-engined exotic, the 365 Boxer Berlinetta with 4.4-litre flat-12 cylinder engine mounted behind the cabin. This startling break from tradition was launched in 1973. The early cars were well received, being lighter, more nimble and more responsive than the big front-engined Daytona. The rear-engined Berlinetta concept was further developed in 1976 with release of the full 5-litre flat-12 engined 512 BB. Although the increase in outright horsepower was modest, from 344bhp at 7,000rpm to 340bhp at 6,800, the improvement in mid-range torque was considerable. By mid-1981 the 512 BB had been fitted with Bosch engineered K-Jetronic fuel injection, and renamed the 512 BBi.
Inevitably, some enthusiastic Ferraristi wanted to race suitably modified and race-prepared versions of the Boxer Berlinetta cars in such frontline events as the Daytona and Le Mans 24-Hours and the Sebring 12-Hours. By 1978 four circuit-racing 512 BBs ran at Le Mans, another competed in the Watkins Glen 6-Hours but little tangible success resulted.
Then in 1979 genuine interest was shown in developing the latest Boxer Berlinetta 512s for serious endurance racing. The factory's Assistenza Clienti Department in Modena laid down a production run of 25 512BB/LM 'customer racers', with bodywork developed in Pininfarina's wind tunnel at Grugliasco. A rear wing derived from that used on the Formula 1 312T-series cars was adopted, and this considerable volume of aerodynamic work not only increased the cars' maximum speed but also improved its grip and traction.
Most engine parts were from stock, but the power units were carefully 'blue-printed' and painstakingly assembled. Fuel injection was uprated together with a carefully flowed exhaust system. Lightweight engine internals were carefully balanced and both valves and ports were enlarged, and higher-lift camshafts adopted. Power output rose to a quoted 480bhp. The cars were 16-inches longer than stock, and these latest 512BB/LM-79 cars rode on 10-inch wide front wheels and 13-inch wide rears. Weight was cited as 1,080kg. On Fiat's Nardo test track an early prototype was said to have exceeded 207mph. But by 1983 there would not be a single Ferrari entry at Le Mans, the first time since the great race's postwar revival in 1949. Fabrizio Violati was one leading Ferrarista who would not rest until that situation had been corrected...
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
This Boxer Berlinetta Le Mans was assembled initially as a rolling chassis under the supervision of Gaetano Florini at Ferrari's customer Assistenza Clienti division in Modena. It is one of the so-called third series of 16 512 BB/LM competition Berlinettas – several of which would never be raced but would instead sell direct into Ferrari collections around the world. Chassis '25229' now offered here, however, was very much a real race car, and in April, 1981, it was delivered brand-new to Fabrizio Violati's Scuderia Bellancauto workshops in Rome.
Specialist engineer Armando Palanca, assisted by Roberto Lippi and the Ferrari factory's renowned veteran chief mechanic Giulio Borsari, then embarked upon an intensive programme of development and individual modification to create the definitive Ferrari BBB512 – Berlinetta Boxer Bellancauto – now offered here.
This much-modified car then made its racing debut in the hands of Fabrizio Violati himself, Maurizio Flammini and Spartaco Dini in the Monza 1,000Kms classic on April 26, 1981. Running under race number '15' the trio promptly won their class while finishing a fine sixth overall amongst the sports-prototype cars – engineer
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Robert Myrick Photography
Category
Kereta - Car
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