The car was built around a tubular light-alloy semi-monocoque frame, derived from the P4 and the 612 CAN AM, with a mid-mounted 4993.53 cc V12 engine, with four valves per cylinder, capable of delivering 550 hp initially, with a maximum speed of 340 km/h. The bodywork, designed by engineer Giacomo Caliri, was designed to be as light as possible, and was made of fibre-glass. During this period, plastic and fibreglass materials were increasingly used for parts of the body and the underbody. The 512 S was built both with a closed cockpit, as was the new trend for the most competitive sports-prototypes, and in an open version, without a roof. At Le Mans, the special long-tail aerodynamic body was presented, with a view to increasing the car’s maximum speed on the long Hunaudières straight (at the time, this stretch of road spanned more than 5 km, with no chicanes).The 512 S made its début in the Daytona race, taking third place with the Andretti/Merzario/Ickx team. In the following race, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the car scored its first win, with Giunti/Vaccarella/Andretti driving the closed version of the 512 S. Andretti moved across to this car during the race, after his open-top version, which he was sharing with Merzario, was forced to retire due to gearbox problems. The car beat Peter Revson and actor Steve McQueen’s Porsche 908. Throughout the season, the duel continued between the Ferraris and the Porsche 917K, but the former failed to hit further high notes. Amon/Merzario come fifth in the 1000 km of Brand Hatch, while in the 1000 km of Monza, the 512 S cars were second and fourth place, ahead of Matra.