This Ferrari 512 M Changed the Racing World Forever
When the Sunoco Ferrari 512 M first appeared at Daytona in 1971 it was a revelation. Manned by a dream team, the car combined Ferrari’s pedigree with Penske’s legendary attention to detail in everything from his crew’s uniforms to the polished wheels. Slated to run at Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans, and Watkins Glen, this 512 M was the odds-on favorite every time it rolled onto the starting grid.
Revived in 1988, today’s Carrera Panamericana is still dangerous, fast, grueling, and addictive, as driver Conrad Stevenson can attest. Stevenson got his first taste of the race in a friend’s Studebaker in 2001. After a couple more years of participating in friends’ cars, Stevenson decided it was time to build a car of his own, in this case a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale.
In the late 1970s, Audi engineers started toying with the idea of pairing a turbocharged engine with the Volkswagen group’s four-wheel-drive platform. The result, in 1980, was the Ur-Quattro (Ur being German for “original”), a car that would ultimately change Group B rally racing and, in time, the way sports cars were prepared.
“It’s not like [the 037] was just a sports car designed for people who wanted to go fast,” says Phil. “This was designed for a purpose, and I love things that were designed specifically for a purpose, like a tool–except it's a fast tool that scares the crap out of you.”