by Glen Smale
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The Ferrari 512S, and its successor the 512M are among the most iconic of Ferrari sports-racing cars. These cars competed against Porsche’s all-conquering 917 in 1970 and 1971 – a rivalry immortalised in Steve McQueen’s film Le Mans. The car was powered by a 5-litre V-12 engine, and was driven by an impressive portfolio of drivers including Mario Andretti, John Surtees, Clay Regazzoni, Jacky Ickx, Ronnie Peterson and Derek Bell.
Although the performance of the Porsche and Ferrari were very similar, the Porsche 917 benefitted from greater reliability, and the Ferraris were unable to challenge the dominance of the German manufacturer before the rules were amended for 1972, effectively outlawing the 5-litre-capacity engines used in both the Ferrari 512 and Porsche 917. In spite of only winning a single World Championship race – the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1970 – the Ferrari 512S/M has secured a place as one of the most charismatic sports-racing cars ever built, and the sight and sound of a restored example in full flight today still turns heads
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