Ferrari 312 T4: History of a Formula 1 Legend
The Ferrari 312T series won 27 races, 3 Drivers’ Championships, and 4 Constructors’ Championships, becoming the most successful F1 car ever. Out of all these famous Ferraris, the Ferrari 312 T4 is arguably the greatest of them all. Driven by South African Jody Scheckter and Canadian legend Gilles Villeneuve, this iconic car proved that substance outweighs style. Read on to see what makes this famous F1 car so great!
Lotus leads the way
Before taking it all in 1979, Ferrari faced a serious challenge in 1978 in the form of the Lotus 79. The Ferrari 312 T3 made its debut in race three, with Villeneuve and Argentine Carlos Reutemann behind the wheel. The T3 still carried the same flat 12 engine that the former 312T series cars used, but its chassis was brand new. It featured a monocoque structure and alternative suspension, as well as a flatter top body designed to allow improved air flow.
The Lotus 79 was the first Formula 1 car to fully utilise the revolutionary ground effects aerodynamics
Ferrari put on a good show, but ultimately lost the Championship to Lotus. The Lotus 79, continuing on from developments made on their Lotus 78, was the first Formula 1 car to fully utilise the revolutionary ground effects aerodynamics. This gave it a competitive advantage over all other cars, and it swept the F1 Championship with relative ease.
Come 1979, Italian engineer and designer Mauro Forghieri took a leaf out of Lotus’ book when designing Ferrari’s next car. Thus the Ferrari 312 T4 became a ground effect car, taking the bulk of its design from the T3 but with adjustments made to further enhance its aerodynamics. This proved a challenge given that the T series was never developed to allow for ground effects, but the T4 monocoque was made as narrow as possible. The results speak for themselves, with the Ferrari 312 T4 going on to win 6 races, 3 each for Villeneuve and Scheckter. With favourable finishes throughout the season, the T4 claimed the Constructors’ Championship, and Jody Scheckter won the Drivers’ Championship. To this day, Scheckter remains the only driver from the African continent to ever win the Formula One World Championship.
Scheckter back behind the wheel
With the new 312 T5 ready to debut in Argentina in 1980, Jody Scheckter was given his Championship winning Ferrari 312 T4. He still owns this legendary car and drove it at the Bahrain GP in 2010, as part of the Formula One’s 60th anniversary alongside almost every living F1 World Champion. In 2019 he got behind the wheel of the T4 once again, completing 8 laps at the 40th anniversary of his Italian GP win in 2019. Check out this great footage of him racing the Ferrari 312 T4 again!
The Ferrari 312 T4 was made famous not only for its impressive capabilities, but also its strange overall look and design. One look and you’ll see why it was once dubbed “the slipper”, “the hippo”, and “the duck”. But despite these unflattering names, it remains a legendary F1 car in its own right. Capture your own piece of Formula 1 history with our 1:8 scale Ferrari 312 T4 replica!