Ferrari 412 MI

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Ferrari 412 MI
Designer(s)Carlo Chiti
Vittorio Jano
Technical specifications
ChassisTubular steel spaceframe
Suspension (front)independent double wishbones, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Suspension (rear)De Dion axle, twin radius arms, transverse leaf spring, hydraulic shock absorbers
Axle trackF: 1,296 mm (51.0 in)
R: 1,310 mm (51.6 in)
Wheelbase2,300 mm (90.6 in)
EngineTipo 141 Jano 4,023.32 cc (245.5 cu in) 60° V12 naturally-aspirated front-engine, longitudinally mounted
Transmission3-speed manual transmission
TyresF: 6.70 x 16
R: 8.00 x 18
Competition history
Notable entrantsScuderia Ferrari
Notable driversItaly Luigi Musso
United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn
United States Phil Hill
Debut1958 Race of Two Worlds

The Ferrari 412 MI was a single-seater produced by Italian manufacturer Ferrari in 1958. It was a one-off purpose-built racer for the second edition of the 500 Miles of Monza to compete against American race cars. The 412 MI scored a pole position and finished the race on a third place, which was the best European-entry result. As per naming convention "412" stood for 4-litre, 12-cylinder engine. The "MI" suffix stood for "Monza-Indianapolis".[1][2]


At the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in 1958, the second race between European single seaters and sports cars and the American purpose-built racers was held. The track was prepared in 1955 in the Indianapolis oval circuit style with banked curves. The race was divided into three 267 km (165.9 mi) legs, for a total of 804.7 km (500 mi). It was the fastest race at that time with a highest speeds recorded at 284 km/h (176.5 mph), compared to a record of 235.0 km/h (146 mph) at the 1958 Indianapolis 500. Ferrari entered three cars in this race to Indycar regulations.[1][3][2]

The 412 MI was the most powerful Ferrari entry in the Race of Two Worlds. The car combined an older 375 F1-sourced chassis with a new bodywork and a modified 4.0-litre V12 engine from the 335 S sports car.[4] High capacty engines were superfluous in light of the 3-litre cap regulations instilled for the 1958 season. Ferrari chose to use the same Firestone tyres as American teams, rather than the Belgian Englebert tyre supplier the company had used at that time. This decision was due to the fear that they were not suitable for a high speed track and might throw threads.[3][2]

The Ferrari 412 MI prepared for this race was to be driven by Luigi Musso and Mike Hawthorn duo.[5]


The 412 MI had a 60° Jano V12 engine mounted longitudinally in the front. The engine was sourced from the 335 S sports car that ran in the 1957 Mille Miglia. The internal measurements remained the same as the donor-engine at 77 by 72 mm (3.0 by 2.8 in) of bore and stroke. The resulting total displacement was 4,023.32 cc (4.0 L; 245.5 cu in). Much higher compression ratio of 9.9:1 and higher redline resulted in a significant increase of power, now at an impressive 447 PS (329 kW; 441 hp) at 7700 rpm. It was the most powerful engine Ferrari had produced to that time. The engine had a DOHC configuration to actuate two valves per cylinder. Fuel and air mixture was fed by six Weber 42DCN carburettors, slightly smaller than the 335 S had. A dry sump lubrication system was standard on all Jano V12s.[1][3][6]

The tubular steel spaceframe chassis was based on an older Formula One Ferrari 375, modified to accommodate new engine. The front suspension was independent with double wishbones, coil springs instead of a leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers. The rear suspension had a De Dion axle with twin radius arms, transverse leaf spring and hydraulic shock absorbers. An anti-roll bars were installed as they were not originally present on the 1950-made 375 F1 chassis. Brakes were of a drum type and a transmission was a three-speed only. Fuel tank had a capacity of 204 litres.[1][3]


Initially Mike Hawthorn was assigned to drive the Ferrari 412 MI #12 for the 1958 edition of the Race of Two Worlds. But when he felt unwell, his teammate Luigi Musso had to run the race. Hawthorn and Phil Hill drove the car later, as a relief drivers. Qualifying began late on Friday when the track had dried up. Luigi Musso recorded the fastest time of all the European entries, with a 55.3 second lap in the 412 MI. He was only 0.1 second slower than Fangio in the Kuzma-Offy racer. But since the qualifying was determined by an average speed of three laps, and Musso was able to improve on his previous performance and recorded an average speed of 280.8 km/h (174.5 mph) to earn pole position for the race.[5][2]

Heat one began with a rolling start of eighteen cars, as Fangio withdrew early with a cracked piston. Musso traded off the lead position with Eddie Sachs, with Jimmy Bryan also taking the second place. As Jim Rathmann took the lead from the Sachs, the latter retired with a broken connecting rod. This allowed Musso to jump to a second place, bu after a methanol fumes inhalation he dropped back couple of places and had to be relieved by Hawthorn on lap 27. Hawthorn gave the car back to Musso on the last lap of the first heat and Musso had secured the sixth place and 60 laps.[7][8]

During heat two of the race, Musso was once again among the top drivers. After only nineteen laps he had to be replaced by Phil Hill whose Ferrari 326 MI #14 had retired with a broken magneto in the first heat. Hill drove the car till the end of the heat, managed to secure another 60 laps but dropped to the ninth place.[9][10]

Heat three was started by Mike Hawthorn in the 412 MI, in place of Luigi Musso. After 24 laps Hawthorn succumbed to methanol fumes as Musso in heat one, and had to be relieved by Phil Hill. Hill brought the team up to a third place. He gave the car back to Hawthorn, who secured yet another 60 laps and finished the race for a third overall for Ferrari.[11][5]

Because of the very high speeds and safety issues the Race of Two Worlds for the 1959 season was cancelled and had never returned. Ferrari, unlike Maserati, did not pursue this form of racing and did not partcipate in the 1959 Indianapolis 500 race.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Ferrari 412 MI". Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Laban, Brian (2005). The Ultimate History of Ferrari. Parragon. pp. 162–163.
  3. ^ a b c d e Acerbi, Leonardo (2012). Ferrari: All The Cars. Haynes Publishing. pp. 122–123.
  4. ^ Gauld, Graham (1999). Modena Racing Memories: Italian Sports Cars & Grand Prix Racing, 1957 - 1963. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company. pp. 58–64. ISBN 0-7603-0735-0.
  5. ^ a b c Eaton, Godfrey (1983). Ferrari: The Road And Racing Cars. Haynes Publishing. pp. 90–92.
  6. ^ "Specification 412 MI". Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  7. ^ "1958 500 Miglia di Monza Heat 1". Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  8. ^ "The Beast". Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  9. ^ "1958 500 Miglia di Monza Heat 2". Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Monzanapolis: Race of Two Worlds, Reviewed". Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  11. ^ "1958 500 Miglia di Monza Heat 3". Retrieved 13 October 2019.

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