Ferrari’s winning streak came to an end in 1978, a season in which Lotus dominated the Championships. Former Ferrari driver Mario Andretti won the World title with Reutemann ranked third, the latter winning three races (Great Britain and two in the USA). Villeneuve showed just how talented he was with a win in Canada. He was also a familiar face at the front of the pack in other races although his acrobatic driving style sometimes landed him off the track. Unfortunately, the Championship was hit by tragedy when Ronnie Peterson was killed in an accident at the start of racing at Monza.

The 312 T3 continued the evolution of the T series with an engine with 12 horizontally opposed cylinders, that was continually updated and pumped up. At Ferrari the question of when to abandon the normally aspirated engine in favour of the turbo, as required by the rules, was also posed, but the changeover was put off. All efforts instead were poured into continuing the development of the car with the Michelin tyres plus new aerodynamics in the form of a very wide body that extended right to the mid-line of the rear wheels, and new cooling and fuel ducts. The 312 T3 was only used from the South African GP onwards i.e. the third race in the 1978 World Championship as the first two (the Argentinean and Brazilian GPs) were raced using a modified version of the 1977 312 T2.

Type rear, longitudinal 180° flat-12
Bore/stroke 80 x 49.6 mm
Unitary displacement 249.31 cc
Total displacement 2991.80 cc
Compression ratio 11.5 : 1
Maximum power 375 kW (510 hp) at 12,200 rpm
Power per litre 170 hp/l
Maximum torque -
Valve actuation twin overhead camshafts per bank, four valves per cylinder
Fuel feed Lucas indirect injection
Ignition electronic, single spark plug per cylinder
Lubrication dry sump
Clutch multi-plate
Frame monocoque, light alloy structure with aluminium panels
Front suspension independent, twin wishbones, inboard springs over telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension independent, upper rocker arm, parallel lower links, radius rod springs over telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Brakes discs
Transmission 5-speed + reverse
Steering rack-and-pinion
Fuel tank capacity 200 litres
Front tyres 24/55 x 13”
Rear tyres 40/65 x 13”