Based on the Ecurie Francorchamps-entered example that raced at Le Mans in 1970, can we make this LEGO Ferrari 512 S ‘Speed Champion’ a reality? Please…
There isn’t a single thing not to love about this latest LEGO Speed Champion, a Ferrari 512 Longtail that paid tribute to the #12 Ecurie Francorchamps-entered model that raced to 5th overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans. Sure, the result and the Longtail’s relative lack of success may not elevate it into motorsport’s elite class, but it’s still a balls-out beautiful project conducted by designer Alan Guerzoni.
CGI modeling was originally used to make a digital, 3D representation (you can check out how that was done in the below video). This level of intricate detail meant the LEGO Longtail, proportionally at least, was as close as possible to the real thing, Guerzoni using his artistic background to sponsor decals on the bodywork, bespoke wheel spokes, and even a customized race suit and helmet for the ‘driver’.
Built to compete directly against Porsche’s 917 in Group 5 sports cars (following a regulation change in Group 6 that limited engine sizes), the Ferrari 512 S was built atop a revised semi-monocoque first used on the 330 P4, and was powered by a 5-litre V12 – hence the name – ripped cleanly from Ferrari’s 612 Can-Am racer. Grunt was certainly not an issue, the V12 producing 550bhp that would later be tweaked to 620bhp, a weight loss regime and refinements to the chassis across its debut season eventually making the 512, at the time, the fastest car Ferrari had ever. Ferrari’s problem certainly wasn’t the build. It was the 917.
Despite only 15 of the requested 25 homologated versions being ready ahead of its 1970 debut, five factory 512 S lined up on the grid at Daytona, only one of which – piloted by Mario Andretti, Arturo Merzario and Jackie Ickx – would finish, albeit in an impressive third and having taken pole position. The 512 would ultimately win its second endurance race at the 12H Sebring, though this would be the only non-Porsche victory across a 917-dominated 1970, the pace just great to overcome. Only the lighter, heavily modified 512 M (‘Modificato’) came close to toppling Porsche, Jacky Ickx and Ignazio Giunti on-course to win the season-closing 1000km enduro at the Österreichring before alternator problems brought their race to a close, Ickx having repeatedly broken the lap record. Further regulation changes in the World Sports Car Championship meant the 512 S would compete for only two seasons.
Arguably La Sarthe though remains 512’s most famous race, given that the Porsche-Ferrari battle inspired the film Le Mans. Chances are the motorsport enthusiasts among you will be familiar with the 1970 Le Mans race, given that it was the first of a – thus far – 18 wins for Porsche. The race also marked the first of a record 12 ‘1-2’ finishes for a single manufacturer, the first of a record eight podium lockouts for a manufacturer, and the first of a record 30 consecutive starts for Henri Pescorolo, a four-time Le Mans winner. Having started in 16th place in the Porsche 917K, Hans Hermann and Richard Attwood also hold the record for a win from the lowest place on the grid. If you really want to hammer that nerd vibe home too, check this out: with only eight finishers, the 1970 race does not quite beat the all-time attrition low of six set in 1931, but given that 51 cars started, the 1970 race does hold the record for the lowest percentage of winners yet at just 13.7 percent.