Ferrari 312B: Jacky Ickx: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa 1970…

Posted: October 3, 2014 in F1
Tags: , , , , , , ,
forg

Mauro Forghieri asks Jacky Ickx about his wonderful creation on the Belgian GP grid, Spa 1970. Inboard front suspension, top rocker actuating a spring/shock, lower wishbone. Twin radius rods at rear in evidence. Single top link, and lower wishbone also used at rear. Well protected Lucas fuel injection trumpets, and low nature of engine clear. (Unattributed)

Jacky Ickx awaits the start of the Belgian Grand Prix, he finished eighth amongst a fantastic battle between Pedro Rodriguez and Chris Amon on this spectacular, fast and oh-so-dangerous classic circuit in the Ardennes…

Amon left Ferrari at the end of 1969 , a team he adored and had raced for since 1967. He had been very competitive throughout in F1, Sports Prototypes, and the Tasman Series, but the Championship F1 victory he sought had eluded him.

spa 1970

Spa vista 1970. (Bruce Thomas)

Mauro Forghieri designed the all-new 312B for 1970… the core of which was a horizontally opposed 12 cylinder engine utilising only 4 main bearings to minimise power-sapping frictional losses. The ‘Boxer’ engine layout allowed a very low centre of gravity, and cleaner airflow for the rear wing.

boxer

Engine ‘Type 001’. 180 degree, DOHC, four valve, Lucas fuel injected ‘Flat 12’. Distributor, coil and Dinoplx electronic ignition. Very oversquare at 78.5×51.5 Bore/Stroke, 2991cc. 11.8:1 compression ratio, circa 460BHP at 12000RPM in 1970, rising to over 525BHP throughout the 70’s. (Unattributed)

Chris tested the car late in 1969, several massive engine failures convinced him to leave the team to drive a competitive car powered by the dominant, powerful and reliable Ford Cosworth DFV V8. And so it was that his Cosworth DFV powered March was beaten throughout the seson by the 312B’s and in Belgium by the BRM P153 V12 of Rodriguez…

Chris’ Ferrari departure proved to be another of Amons poor timing decisions, his capacity for being in the ‘right place at the wrong time’ was legendary. Forghieris’ design was both reliable and fast in 1970, Ickx won three races and newcomer Clay Regazzoni one, Ferrari narrowly missing the drivers and constructors titles to Jochen Rindt and Lotus.

In fact the engine was brilliant, one of the greatest in F1, powering cars which took Niki Lauda (1975 and ’77), and Jody Scheckter (1979) to world titles, and in endurance form winning all the classic endurance events but the two 24 Hour races at Le Mans and Daytona. In its early form the DOHC, four valve, Lucas injected, 2991cc engine developed around 460BHP at a time the DFV developed around 435BHP.

The chassis of the 312B was also new and whilst not a ‘full-monocoque’, the combination of aluminium reinforced space-frame tubing was very effective and forgiving to drive.

Newcomer Ignazio Giunti was the best placed Belgian GP 312B in fourth, Ickx having a variety of problems. The race was won by Rodriguez by a second from Amon with Jean Pierre Beltiose third, a further 1.43 minutes adrift, such was the pace of Pedro and Chris.

Amon set a new lap record in his chase of Rodriguez at 152MPH, but Pedro was ‘Spa fit’ having set a 160MPH lap in a 4.5 litre flat 12 Porsche 917 the week before…oh to have seen either race!

There was a chicane at Malmedy for the Grand Prix which was unused during the 1000 Km Classic but all the same…160MPH was the fastest ever lap-time of a road circuit anywhere in the world at the time.

312 b cutaway

312 b spa

Jacky Ickx, Ferrari 312B, La Source hairpin, Spa 1970. (Unattributed)

312 b cockpit

The very cosy, comfy cockpit of Ickx’ Ferrai 312B. Lockout for reverse gear in the gated 5 speed ‘box plain to see , Momo steering wheel, Veglia instruments, just luvverly in every way (Unattributed)

Etcetera…

dfv

An all Ford DFV powered front row at the races start: Jochen Rindts’ Lotus 49 wedged by Amons March 701 on the nearside and Stewarts similar pole winner on the outside…Ickx the best of the 12’s on this ultimate power circuit on the second row (Unattributed)

rindt

Out into the Ardennes Forest …Rindt from Ickx, Beltoise, Brabham in the distance and the yellow speck Petersen…Lotus 49 DFV, Ferrari 312B, Matra MS120 V12, Brabham BT33 DFV, and March 701 DFV (Unattributed)

pedro spa

But Pedro Rodriguez won the day in the BRM P153 V12…over the years there have been rumours the BRM engine was ‘fat’ that day, but these have been scotched by Doug Nye amongst others. Also, Pedro was supreme at Spa and Tony Southgates’ P153 and ’71 P160 BRM’s were fast, if not always reliable race-winners (Unattributed)

Photo Credits…

Bruce Thomas, Illustrations Werner Buhrer

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