In the early-1980s, the 512 BB/LM was Ferrari’s ticket back into endurance sportscar racing. Replacing the 365 GT4/BB, the 512 BB/LM was equipped with a larger 5.0-litre, DOHC, flat-12 engine, capable of generating 550 horsepower. These engines had twin overhead camshafts per bank and this unique feature allegedly led, according to legendary Ferrari engineer Mauro Forghieri, to the creation of the “BB” acronym. Often associated with “Berlinetta Boxer”, in this context “BB” stands for “Berlinetta Bialbero”, Italian for dual camshaft.
They were produced in two series, with the first series constructed in 1978 and the second series constructed between late 1978 and 1982. After the mechanical failures of the first series, Ferrari worked on fixing the BB/LM with a second development program in late 1978. The flat-12's carburettors were replaced with a Lucas mechanical fuel injection system to increase power to approximately 470-480 bhp. The transmission and cooling system were improved to handle the additional power. The production-based bodywork of the first BB/LMs was replaced by a new design developed by Pininfarina which carried over very little of the original styling. The bodywork was now 16 in (41 cm) longer and 6 in (15 cm) wider, increasing overall weight compared to the S1 by 30 kg (66 lb). The pop-up headlights were now replaced by fixed units integrated into the fascia, while the tail was lengthened to the maximum allowed by regulations. Wider wheels were equipped, measuring 10in wide at the front and 13 in wide at the rear. Brakes and suspension were also improved. Nine of these S2 BB/LMs were built by Ferrari in 1979. The S2 design was further improved in 1980, including vertical side skirts to take advantage of ground effect, a larger air inlet duct in front of the rear wheels and a lighter chassis with fiberglass body panels, reducing weight by 100 kg (220 lb). Some sources refer to these as series 3 cars. Sixteen updated S2 BB/LMs were built from 1980 to 1982, bringing the total number of S2 512 BB/LMs manufactured to 25. The 512 BB LM was never raced by Scuderia Ferrari but was instead campaigned by several independent teams with varying levels of factory support.
Our car with chassis number 35529, one of the 16 series three car, was purchased on 13 January 1981 directly from Ferrari by Fabrizio Violati’s Scuderia Bellancauto. It was supplied as a rolling chassis with a purchase price of 63,250,000 Italian lire. The chassis was assembled - with special, unique front and rear bodywork - under the watchful eye of Ferrari’s Assistenza Clienti division at Scuderia Bellancauto’s workshop in Rome and completed in April 1981.While several BB/LMs entered private collections, this example was purpose-built for competitive endurance racing making its racing debut on 26 April 1981 at the Monza 1,000 Kilometres, driven by Violati, Maurizio Flammini and Spartaco Dini. Sporting race number "15", the trio finished first in their class. Chassis number 35529 would race under Violati, Flammini and Duilio Truffo at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1981, bearing number "45" on its livery. Unfortunately, they were forced to withdraw due to transmission issues. On 28 June 1981, the car competed at the Enna 6-Hours, with Violati and Truffo taking the Ferrari to place 5th overall and another 1st in class victory. On 19 September 1982, the pair raced again in the Mugello 1,000 KM race, crossing the finish line in 10th overall position, and taking a third class victory. When the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans approached, the 512 BB/LM was racing under Bellancauto racing team colours and was recognised as a highly competitive car. Driven by Marco Micangeli, Roberto Marazzi and Dominique Lacuad as number “27”, there were high expectations. Unfortunately, the car was side-lined after six hours of racing due to gearbox issues. Finally on 19 September 1984, Maurizio Micangeli, Marco Micangeli and Cristiano del Balzo co-drove at the Imola 1,000 Kilometres, yet were forced to bow out after lap 91 due to engine failure. In June 1985, Violati raced chassis number 35529 for the final time at the Ferrari Club Italia meeting in Alessandria, Italy. It was then inducted into the Collezione Maranello Rosso museum in San Marino on extended display, where it remained for 23 years. The car transferred to the Collezione’s new museum in Rimini, Italy, where it remained for seven more years.
35529 was then acquired by French classic dealer Jean Guikas who had this highly original 512 BB/LM Red Book certified by Ferrari Classiche confirming it retains its matching numbers engine and correct-type transmission. The current owner bought the car at the RM “Guikas Collection” auction in November 2021 and immediately started a mechanical restoration making sure none of the wonderful patina was lost. Its original engine was rebuilt and a separate, NOS 512BB/LM engine (#F102LM032) was bought so as to preserve the original engine. A copy of the original "time warp"-condition bodywork was also made (which comes with the car). After a 2022 Zoute GP Concours win, invitation at the Villa d'Este "Le Mans"-category concours, and a shake-down at the A1 Ring, 35529 is now presented in race-ready condition and with an extensive history file consisting of 3 binders including copies of the original Ferrari invoice for the chassis, technical specification documents, invoices for mechanical components, the Carrozzeria Auto Sport quote for the body and various digital historic photographs.
As one of the most original and well-documented 512 BB/LMs with one-off bodywork and stellar history, chassis number 35529 is highly eligible to be enjoyed by its next caretaker on either the racetrack or preservation concours field.