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Pre season 1964

2021-08-20 16:16

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Pre season 1964

L’annata 1964 si apre con delle importanti novità in Ferrari. Lunedì 11 Gennaio 1964 ha infatti luogo la tradizionale riunione annuale della Ferrari,

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The year 1964 begins with important news in Ferrari. On Monday, January 11, 1964 there is the traditional annual meeting of Ferrari, planned to meet the most famous representatives of international press, together with technicians, co-workers, suppliers, drivers and leading figures of the racing world. Before the meeting starts there is a tour inside the plant of Maranello, after which Enzo Ferrari explains to the journalists the company’s industrial and sport plans.

 

From the presentation it appears that, regarding the competitive activity, there is a confirmation of the pillars upon which the fidelity of the italian company to the racing sport rests: first of all, participation with an offial team to the Formula 1 World Championship and the to The prototypes World Sportscar Championship tests, area in which Ferrari has achieved the eleventh world title. About this, Enzo Ferrari has declared:

 

"The official activity will be not linked to a particular Championship, but it will take into account commercial, technical and competitive reasons, together without forgetting the working relationships with the individual organizers".

 

In the Formula 1 Gran Prix, however, Ferrari is still behind Lotus, which is driven by the actual world champion, the Bitish driver Jim Clark. Is spite of this, it’s clear that in several competitions italian single-seaters have shown their value so much that they could now be positioned on the same level of the english ones (just think to the win at Nurburgring).

 

This is another reason for considering, from time to time, in which Championship and in which conditions it is better to run, since the italian government does not help the Modenese carmaker: actually, according to a legal provision made to help the exporting companies (Ferrari exports more than 60 percent of its manifacturing), the company Maranello-based has a claim against the State of more than 200.000.000 lire.

 

Enzo Ferrari also announces some car news for the new season. First of all, the new Formula 1 car “F1 158”, similar to that with which John Surtees competed in 1963 last tests. The only difference between the two cars is the engine, that in the 158 will probably be the new 8-cylinder that the modenese company has been studying for years. During the Formula 1 season, Ferrari will race with two cars with a 6-cylinder engine, other two with a 8-cylinder engine, which is in development, and a car with a 12-cylinder engine, reserved for the high-speed circuits. Ferrari also declares that the gran turismo prototypes will be the “275 P” (12-cylinder and 3300 cm3) and “300 P” (12-cylinder and 3967 cm3).

 

Has been also introduced the new coupé 330 G.T., styled by Pininfarina and attended at Brussels Motor Show: it is an élite car that costs about 6 and a half million (non official price). The new car will be released in limited series because of its particular features, together with the 250 G.T. 2-F2. From a mechanical point of view, the new Ferrari reflects the typical scheme of the gran turismo cars: a tubular frame, a 12V front engine, a gearbox with synchronised speed with overdrive and disc brakes. The total displacement is of 3967 cm3 and the power is higher than 300 hp, whereas the maximum attainable speed is 280 km/h. According to the plans of the Modenese company, the 250 Lusso berlinetta and the 250 Le Mans will be produced too. Ferrari goes even further, announcing the release of a new car of full capacity by the end of the year: according to rumours, it will be a 12-cylinder sport car of 6000 cm3.

 

Regarding the drivers, the presence of the couple Surtees-Bandini at Formula 1 races seems to be confirmed (even if Bandini seems not to have the respect of the sport director of Ferrari, Dragoni), while there are whispers about a possible return to the track of Giancarlo Baghetti. There are many doubts about the re-entry of Willy Mairesse who is still recovering physical form because of the two crashes of the last Championship. Question arises as to whether Lodovico Scarfiotti will decide to return to the competitive activity, while Carlo Mario Abate has already given full availability.

 

Three external groups will join the official team: the NART of Chinetti with the mexican driver Pedro Rodríguez, the Maranello Limited of the Col. Hoare with the 1962 world champion Graham Hill and the Écurie Francorchamps of Jacques Swaters with the driver Lucien Bianchi.

 

After the meeting, Ferrari awards, together with the engineer Pininfarina, vice president at Sefac, some drivers, employees and technician of the company, including Surtees, Bandini, Scarfiotti, Abate, Maglioli, Vaccarella e Parkes. Has been also awarded Enzo Benzing, Gazzetta dello Sport’s journalist and winner of the competition in memory of Dino Ferrari (holder of Sefac’s young son, died a few years before). The title of the article which appeared in the Gazzetta dello Sport of August 6, 1963, was: How did Ferrari manage to beat Lotus?

 

Four days later, exactly on Thursday, January 15, 1964, Henry Ford II takes the stage of Cobo Hall, a conference hall overlooking Detroit River, to attend the annual meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers. He is performing the opening speech, while in a little in London’s Slough, at the entrance of an industrial complex near Heathrow, an ideal position for the arrival of people and materials from all over Europe and Detroit, is taking shape a little Ford prototype.

 

Inside there, Roy Lunn takes care of the technical direction, whereas the team manager is John Wyer, who was the sport director of Aston Martin when Shelby was racing for the British team. Another relevant figure is Eric Broadley, an ex archroof of 35 years who founded a racing team called Lola, name generated from the title of a famous British song of 1955: Whaterver Lola Wants, Lola gets. Frey contacts him to propose a two-year contract and Broadley, in economic difficulties, accepts it. Phil Remington, chief of engineers, completes the team.

 

Yet atmosphere is not the best: the team works twelve hours a day, everyday, and after some weeks, Lunn and Broadley stop speaking to each other. In addition, Frey starts to receive letters from Wyer (who is in charge of finding drivers, and who engages Bruce McLaren, a great test driver) in which he calls into question mette Lunn’s decisions. At the same time, Lunn is travelling around Europe to find the best available components, like Borrani’s wire wheels and Colotti’s transaxle layout (two italian companies), Metalastik’s couplings for the crankshaft and Girling’s brake calipers, both english.

 

In the meantime, in Dearborn’s style center, a team directed by the designer Eugene Bordinat completes the scale model of the shell, following Lunn’s specific instructions. Through an analysis of the components selected by Lunn, the designers conceive a profile in lenght of 396 cm and in height of 102 cm, namely 40 inch, from what the name of the car comes: GT40. It is a misleading name, since the new car would be registered in the prototypes category, not in the gran turismo one. Lately, the designers paint the car with american colours, white and blue, and take it to Maryland University, for wind tunnel tests.

 

The selected engine is the modified Fairlane V8 of 4.2 l, capable of releasing a power of 350 hp. From an addiction of the values, american engineers assume that the car can reach a maximum speed of 338 km/h, more than any model ever made in Maranello. At the same time, in Dearborn is studied a new model di suspension capable of holding the stress caused by the french track of Le Mans, and of discharging the maximum of the power, by using computers for the first time.

 

The car is provided with an electrical system, in order not to allow the failure to use the headlights during the night (thing that can lead to disqualification), e of two fuel bags made up from fireproof material (neoprene) – with a stopper and an electric pump – positioned under the doors, near the frame, and a steel sheet frame of a thickness from 0.6 to 0.7 mm. It is of dubious quality, because Lunn does not have the time to try the light alloys used by British manifacturers.

 

The body is made by Specialised Mouldings Ltd, a local company which has modelled the fiberglass on a 1:1 model before sending it to Dearborn’s style center. Despite these promises, in mid-January 1964 Lunn send a pessimistic report to Ford’s headquarter, attributing the delays in the human issues of the formation of a new team.

 

The first model will see the light only on 1° April 1964, but the real work has just started: the need is to build two more models in time for the start of 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, Eric Broadley has decided to move away from the project and Dearborn Frey suggests Lunn his desire to have the car in New York before April 3, 1964, to introduce it during a press conference, attended by Lacocca and Ford II.

 

Roy Wyer is forced to plan the shipping: the first model leaves Heathrow at 3:00 pm on April 2, 1964, and, after the arrival at JFK in New York and the overcoming of the customs control, is taken to a Ford showroom, where it is polished before being transported to Essex House, the legendary luxury hotel overcoming Central Park. It will go back to London the day after at 3:00 pm.

 

After this moment, the team is ready to perform the first tests on the circuit of Goodwood, in Great Britain. The first driver to try the car – during a four hour-test - is Bruce McLaren, who, as Wyer indicates, must not overcome the speed of 230 km/h. Phil Hill is also there, back from the unlucky experience with Ats, hopeful to get rewards. A few days later, on the morning of Saturday, April 18, 1964, the Ford team mechanics push their car inside the circuit of Le Mans. The sky is cloudy and the light rain has made the road wet, but this does not stop journalists, who want to see the debut of the new car. But, since McLaren and Hill are engaged in Great Britain, are called Roy Salvadori and Jo Schlesser. The first driver who do the tests is Salvadori, who performs a lap and goes back to the boxes, exclaiming:

 

"I don’t believe, but I think that we have a slip problem on the two back wheels at 270 km/h".

 

Lunn and Wyer consult each other and come to the conclusion that the problem could be caused by a bad suspension setup: it is not an aerodinamic matter. So they ask the mechanics to improvise a change. But Salvadori, scared by this decision, doesn’t want to come back on the track and goes away. He is replaced by Schlesser, who is asked to not push the car in an excessive way. The Frenchman ends the first lap regularly, but not the second one. While the mechanics await the arrival of the car, from the workstation at the end of Hunaudières a phonecall comes: Schlesser had an accident, but luckily he is still alive. After a while, the Frenchman returns to the boxes walking on his own legs, and he says that the car has lost control after touching the speed of 265 km/h. The next day, Salvadori destroys the second car, so that a Ford agent is forced to call Frey to tell him:

 

"Both car have been destroyed, we are in trouble".

 

So, while Iacocca and Ford II are committed to show the press the new Mustang at the World’s Fair, an international exhibition that takes place in New York, on Monday, April 20, 1964, the New York Times writes:

 

"During the tests which endend yesterday, the Ferrari driven by John Surtees has reached the speed of 312 km/h on the straight line of Hunaudières. It’s all-time record on that track. The two Ford prototypes have been destroyed. We are talking about two new cars, extremely beautiful and expensive. One who knows the world of money thinks that Ford is able to build a successful car, but one who knows the world of cars is not that sure".

 

In the meantime, from London are coming important news that pique the interest of the sportmen. There are rumors about a likely presence of the Japanese automotive industry at the Formula 1 World Championship. That would be an experimentale participation at three races with the new Honda F1 of 1500 cm3, a revolutionary 12-cylinder single-seater. It’s a car of tubular shape, posteriorly chopped with a direct injection engine, installed behind the driver. The outline of the characteristics includes water-cooling, disc brakes and twelve drain pipes arranged in two rows. The new Honda, capable to reach the speed of 280 km/h, seems to be the car of the future, that can only be compared to the new 12-cylinder Ferrari with direct injection. According to various reports, the Japanese debuct will take place at the Dutch Grand Prix or maybe at the end of June, at the Belgian Grand Prix. The most likely option is the first, since Mr. Hugenholtz, during his last travel around Japan, seems to have already made arrangements for the participation. It’s clear that this fact is agitating the big companies, like Colin Chapman’s Lotus, currently shortlisted for to win because of the presence of the world champion Jim Clark and Peter Arundel as number two: from now on, Englishmen will have two enemies, Ferrari and Honda. The newcomer is in fact ambitious to conquer new markets, it is already a producer of multi-cylinders cars and has alredy succeed in motor cycle races.

 

On the threshold of the World Championship, there is another news that shocks the entire world: the death of the ex driver Reg Parnell. On Thursday, January 7, 1964 Parnell, one of the best British drivers of all time dies of peritonitis in Derby at the age of 52 years, because of some complication arisen after a surgery. Parnell started his career in 1935, but he did not achieve excellent results in the first races. He became famous after the Second World War, at an uncommon age for a driver. He was a fine technician who always applied the concepts learned before; in 1947 he won the Swedish Gran Prix driving a single-seater. In the following years, despite the hypothesis of a retirement from the competitions, he obtained excellent results with Alfa Romeo and Thin Wall Ferrari: during these years, Parnell has set eleven records on the British circuit of Goodwood, that are still unbeaten. The retiring from driving dates back to 1957, period in which the driver chose to dedicate himself to farming, but he left a potential heir: his son Tim.

 

At the same time, from Great Britain, there are rumours that Moss, who retired from car races after the serius accident that happened to him two years ago, has set up a personal auto racing team. The team, called Stirling Moss Automobile Rarlng Team (Smart), will participate to various international races through the 1964 season. Moss team’s last purchase ia a new Porsche Bv4.

 

On the other hand, Ats will not participate. The team puts an end to its adventure in Formula 1 after juast one year of activity. Given its experience during the five tests of the 1963 World Championship, Carlo Chiti planned some improvements to the Tipo 100, such as the engine, suspension and the location of the gearbox, that is no more placed between between the back deck and the engine, but embossed in the back. Carlo Chiti also gave security to Phill Hill in two different moments, before January 1964, and in March 1964, by specifying to the american driver that he has raised the engine’s horsepowers, taking them to 215, and resolved the problem about the loss of oil. Then everything stops as Giorgio Billi narrated:

 

"Unfortunately we never win anything in Formula 1 and we were not progressing in gran turismo production, that was supposed to be the most important car of the company. At that time, we were not as proficient as Ferrari was in obtaining sponsorships (and money from oil industries). I rembember that on that period I took a business trip in Russia, where italian manufacturers were publicised a lot, and lawyer Gianni Agnelli asked me: how many sewing machines are you supposed to sell to mantain the single-seater project? I answered: a lot. Instead, the management of the Ferrari was impeccable. The problem is that the companies have to be in profit, you can lose money only for one period, not for all your life. When I focused on Formula 1, I understood that I needed just to put money, while the gran turismo car was being ignored, also because of the early departure of Bizzarrini. I said: I’m just losing money here. Instead I needed to preserve my companies and their staff, twelve hundred persons in Turin and seven hundred in Florence, not to mention the fact that I have started my adventure with Air Tirrena. At that point I decided to convert Pontevecchio’s industry to produce socks making machinary, because I was specialised in that activity. A foundry was also opened to the same production. At the end I sold frames and engines. One day Chiti came to me to talk about Alfa Romeo’s proposal: they wanted to build up a body, a sort of team to run Alfa Romeo sport activities, as the Abarth did for the Fiat and Alpine for the Renault. Chiti wanted to involve me: I pondered the offer but I didn’t accepted it to not overlook my companies. So I sold everything to Alfa Romeo and I pulled myself out. At that point Chiti continued and so Autodelta was born".

 

Romolo Tavoni adds:

 

"The fundamental difference about this adventure is that there were the donors on one side and the builders on the other: the first wanted to immediately have a result, the second were aware that these projects required time and development to provide a degree of continuity. Volpi was not familiar with the second way of thinking: the fact that he should look at the costs without a clear direction, without giving orders, did not make him serene. During a Board of Directors he talked about his state of mind, saying that he wanted to take everything in his hands, otherwise he would have left. The second hypothesis prevailed and it was a big mistake. He was replaced by Billi, an exquisite and competent person that did his best with the money he had. But if the three manifacturers would have stayed togheter, the team could have gone on for a lot of time".

 

On Friday, March 19, 1964, during the first car confrontation of the 1964 season, the Ferrari obtains the first five starting positions for the 12th edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring, road race that is valid ad a test for the del Manifacturers’ World Championship. Surtees beats the record of 3’11” established by himself the year before on the 5 km track, turning in 3’4”2 at the average of 101.630 km/h. Behind Surtees and Bandini, there is the Ferrari of Graham Hill and Joacklm Bonnier. Phil Hill, Nino Vaccarella and Mike Parkes, behind the wheel of new models, complete the Ferrari’s front.

 

The Ferrari’s leadership continues on Sunday, March 22, 1964, when at 10:00 am is given the green light to the 12 Hours of Sebring, a good test for the next race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 50.000 spectators in the gallery are eagerly waiting for the duel between Ferrari and the new american Ford-Cobra. The departure is similar to the one of Le Mans: drivers are foot on the opposite sides of the track. In the lead there are the four Ferrari, thanks to the excellent times established during the official tests; the first of all is the Mexican Pedro Rodriguez, then forced to retire because of vehicle problems. After him, Graham Hill and Joakim Bonnier.

 

During the twelve hours of racing, the three Ferrari are engaged in an open battle, and are able to keep up with the Ford-Cobra, that have big V8 engines derivated from mass production groups. The copule Scarfiotti-Vaccarella, that was in lead until very few laps from the end, is forced to pit to refuel, giving Parkes the way to overtake.

 

One hour from the end of the race, the Alfa Romeo of the italian driver Consalvo Sanesi collides with the Ford-Cobra of Dan Gurney and Bob Johnson, burning up. The accident, that took place in front of pits, has given the emergency teams and mechanics the way to act quickly in aid of Sanesi, then carried out to St. Petersburg hospital togheter with Johnson. The driver is in shock and has reported facial and neck burns and severe bruising.

 

The race is won by the italian driver Umberto Maglioli and the Englishmen Mike Parkers, who have alternated at the wheel of their 275 P 12 cylinder prototype, with a speed of 147.78 km/h. They have established a new record, after the one of Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien (established in 1961 with Ferrari). Nino Vaccarella and Ludovico Scarfiotti, on a 275 P, have conquired the place of honor, while the third position is for the couple Bandini-Surtees at the wheel of a powerful 330 P, with a 12-cylinder engine of 3967,44 cm3, and the power of 370 hp at 7200 rpm. The 275 P ha salso a V12-cylinder engine with an angle of 60°, but a displacement of 3285 cm3 and maximum power of 320 hp at 7700 rpm. Other features that unite the two prototypes are the back engine, the tubular frame, the five-speed gearbox and disc brakes on four wheels. The cars, with the same spider body with two seats, have the pace of 2400 mm, are 4160 mm long and 1055 mm high. The dry weight is different: the 275 P weights 755 kg, while the 330 P 785 kg. So the first car is more suitable for mixed tracks as Targa Florio, while the second one is ideal for faster races as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

 

For the Ferrari is the 6th victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring, but also an excellent start in anticipation of races like Targa Florio or the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Modenese company is confirmed as unbeatable for what concerns the Sportcars’ World Championship (the new “prototypes” definition designates the old sportcars with two seats, with a complete electrical system and defined minimum dimensions of encumbrance), because of its excellent results thanks to the continous update of the racing staff, togheter with the one of the Formula 1 single-seaters.

 

Four days later, on Thursday, March 25, 1964, after the victory in Sebring, Ferrari introduce its new 8-cylinder F1 158, whose main feature is the 8 V back engine of 90° with direct injection, displacement equal to 1487 cm3, compression ratio 10.5: 1, maximum power of 190 hp at 10.700 rpm, chassisless frame, five-speed gearbox and disc brakes on wheels. The car is 3950 mm long, 1350 mm large, 768 mm high and the dry weight is of 468 kg. During the presentation, it is also announced that at the Gran Prix of Siracusa Ferrari will participate with two 6-cylinder single-seaters “156”, driven by Surtees and Bandini.

 

It is precisely in Siracusa, track made up by 56 laps (equivalent to 308 km), that the international Fromula 1 season begins, even if the World Championship will start in May with the Gran Prix of Monaco. In Sicily there are the major drivers of the category, as Jim Clark (1963 world champion), Surtees, Baghetti, Bandini, Maggs, Siffert, Anderson and Arundell: the subscribed racers are 18, but the participants will be only 12, selected during the official tests that will take place on April, 8-9 1964.

 

The race of Siracusa is very interesting for the technicians, because it can give informations about the preparation of the Formula 1 single-seaters in anticipation of the World Championship. Lotus will not compete with the 33, still under construction, but with the car of the year before; the drivers are Clark and Arundell. The official B.R.M. are also absent, replaced by some ‘63 models given to Giancarlo Baghetti, Maggs, Pilette and Epstein; Anderson and Siffert will be on the wheel of Brabham. Vicky, Revson, Hailwood and Amon will race with Lotus B.R.M., while De Beaufort with Porsche. It’s important to underline the fact that only Lotus and Ferrari will bring on track new cars, while the other teams will race with old-type cars.

 

On the first day of testing, Bandini and Surtees exceed the record of the track that Moss established in 1957 in 1’54”3; they have run 5612 m respectively in 1’50”5 and in 1’52”4. The test drive is also completed by Arundell, Hailwood, Amon, Siffert, Bonnier, Spence, Raby, Pilette, Revson, Rudaz and Epstein. Baghetti, Gregory and Clark are absent, because they have not already reached Sicily. Later, people will learn that the world champion will not attend the race. During the tests, Siffert’s car do a tail-head and then flips over, causing the driver various bruises and a possible fracture of the collarbone. The driver is immediately hospitalized in Siracusa with a 10-days prognosis.

 

On Sunday, April 11, 1964 is held the Gran Prix of Siracusa, that can be divided into three main phases: the start, characterized by Pilette, Epstein and Arundell’s pits. A central phase, in which Arundell drives Spence’s Lotus and behind him there are Amon (Lotus B.R.M.), Hailwood (Lotus B.R.M.) and Spence (Lotus).  The end, ruled by Surtees after the 5th lap, by the fight between Bandini and Arundell and by the reversal of some positions. During the 28th lap, Bandini stops for the first time at the pits, but restarts immediately. The brief stop allows Arundell to gain the second position, but he lose it during the 35th lap. During the 15th lap, Baghetti is forced to retire (B.R.M.) due to some problems to the electrical system.

 

John Surtees wins the Gran Prix of Siracusa with the new Ferrari 158 V8, which gives Italy the hope to pass the current English champions during the World Championship. In the second place comes Lorenzo Bandini, who, after a long fight, has been able to pass Arundell’s Lotus. 14 drivers join the race, instead of the usual 12 prescribed by regulation. This is a sports commissioners’ decision: they just wanted to give an opportunity to the drivers that were excluded during the selection, damaged by high wind and rain. In addition to this, the road surface still was party wet, so the race’s distance has been shortened, on drivers’ request, from 308 to 88 km.

 

Excellent test for Surtees, while the press applauds Lorenzo Bandini who, with his old 6-cylinder, has been able to reach Arundell’s Lotus in a short time, proving that he is an excellent driver who can aspire to obtain great results worldwide. Not as good Baghetti’s test, winner of the Gran Prix of Siracusa in 1961, that was ammitted to the competition with a derogation from the Regulation from the jury, because he did not pass the qualifying. Then, the driver retired from the race: for the newspapers the reason may be connected to personal insecurities, not to a technical problem (for the press the pretext of the glove pinched by the gear shift, that was preventing Baghetti to mantain both hands on the wheel, seems banal).

 

After this good opportunity to test the cars that will race during the World Championship, on Saturday, April 17, 1964 there is the Gran Prix at Aintree, reserved to Formula 1 cars. At this race will participate drivers and cars from 8 States: the English track will be a test for the next world race in Monaco. The Ferrari are going to be absent, so the fight for the first place will be between Jim Clark and Graham Hill, while Baghetti, with a B.R.M., will try to redeem the withdrawal from the Gran Prix of Siracusa, where – differently from what some journalists wrote – he was forced to retire because of problems to the electrical system. There is disappointment for the absence of Ferrari, especially after the win in Siracusa. Italy will onyl be represented by the Centro-Sud team with Giancarlo Baghetti, who is very popular in England. The presence of the Australian driver Jack Brabham is assured, togheter with Dan Gurney (with a modified Brabham), Phil Hill (1961 world champion) and Bruce McLaren on a Cooper.

 

During the 46th lap of the race, Jim Clark has a terrible accident: the British driver is a little more of a second of detachment from Brabham but, while he was passing, at the speed of about 190 km/h, he suddenly finds the road blocked by another driver, the belgian Pilette. The Scottishman is forced to do a head-tail and crashes against some sandbags placed on the trackside. His Lotus lose one of the front wheels, then it overturns and bursts into flames. At the sight of this terrible accident, a scream of fright comes from the gallery: Clark seems dead. But fortunately the world champion gets up and goes away limping. On the same point, during the tests, Richie Ginther overturned, reporting injuries to the head and the torax, while Mike Clare with his Mini-Cooper, during the sportscars (won by McLaren with Cooper 2700) crashed against the hay bales breaking a leg.

 

The ex world champion Jack Brabham wins at Aintree, with a car constructed by himself and powered by a Coventry-Climax 8-cylinder engine. Behind him, another ex world champion, Graham Hill (with a B.R.M.), and the Lotus number two, Arundell. Seven place for Baghetti, with the B.R.M. of the Centro-Sud team, that, after mantaining the fifth position until 5 laps from the end, has been forced to pit to refuel.

 

Ferrari doesn’t race in Great Britain, because on Sunday, April 18, 1964 there is the start of the official tests for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. During the tests, there are two terrible accidents: the protagonists are the Italian Carlo Mario Abate and the Frenchman Jo Schlesser. The track is slippery because of the rain and the high speed of the cars (about 200 km/h) causes Abate to touch the safety bales of the track and to go off-road with his Ferrari Gran Turismo, that, after rolling many times on itself, stops on the grass. The driver, extracted in traumatic shock state, is immediately transported to the hospital for further evaluations. After having reported the presence of various bruises and a probable mandibular fracture, the doctors exclude the risk of severe consequences. Same thing for Schlesser, with a Ford, who only reported a small injury on the face. Excellent test for Scarfiotti who, with a Ferrari prototype, improve the record on lap at 216.531 km/h. the previous record was made by Surtees (211 km/h). At the same time, 4 Ford Cobra cars are departing by plane from Los Angeles to Italy, where on April 26, 1964 they will participate to Targa Florio.

 

On Wednesday, April 21, 1964 are going to start in Palermo the tests for the 48° edition of Targa Florio. The favoured cars are the Porsche: Bonnier has in fact recorded the best time. Considerable times has been also obtained with Porsche by Colin Davis and Balzarini. There is eager expectation for the debuct of the Shelby team’s Ford-Cobra, very powerful cars as we can see by looking at the times obtained by Dan Gurney (2’59”) and Hitchcock (43’): so it is expected that they could be the Porsche’s enemies, even if the Ford-Cobra seems to be not suitable for a track with many curves as the Madonie’s one.

 

Also in this occasion, during the tests, some accidents occur: Ulisse’s Ferrari goes off-track with a head-tail near Collesano, while Epstein’s Brabham Climax – because of the loss of a front-wheel - swerves around Buonfornello’s straight, crashing some the safety barriers. The car bursts into flames and the driver shows first and second degree burns and a series of bruises.

 

On Monday, April 26, 1964 is held in Palermo the Targa Florio: as expected, the Porsche Carrera driven by Antonio Pucci and Colin Davis wins; the car runs through the 720 km of the track in 7 hours 10’53”, to the average speed of 100.256 km/h. Second position for Balzarmi and Linge, with Porsche too. The test has not been amazing for Ford-Cobra, at their debuct. The Swedishman Bonnier, who had immediately took over the helm of the race recording the best time on the 72 km of the track, is forced to retire near Collesano for mechanical problems. At that moment, Umberto Maglioli (Porsche) takes over, and mantains the position of command until the 4th lap, then he leaves the race for a suspension failure. On lap 5, Bulgari and Grana (Porsche) are in first position in 3 hours 32’84”6, on the mean of 101,263 km/h. Behind them, Facetti-Guichet (Ferrari) in 50 seconds, Pucci-Davis in 2’04”, Hill-Bondurat (Ford-Cobra) and Gurney-Grant (Ford-Cobra) in 4’04”. During the 6th lap, the drivers of St. Ambroeus Bulgari-Grana and Facetti-Guichet leave the race for engine problems, allowing Colin Davis (then replaced by Pucci) to obtain the first position. Behind him Gurney-Grant in 5’34”, Klass-Neerspach (Porsche) and Hill-Bondurat in 7’24”. Additional withdrawals change the destiny of the race, as the one of Mantia on Alfa Romeo, of Montalbano on Simca-Abarth, of Spychiger on Simca-Abarth and of Jori-Solinone on Lancia Flaminia. Baghetti leaves too, because of a tube failure on Buonfornello’s straight line. It is important to underline some recoveries that took place after the favourite drivers have abandoned the track. Between them, the italian Balzarmi, driving a Porsche for the first time, and the Dutchman Linge (Porsche Carrera). Excellent test also for Businello-Todaro and for Thiele with an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sz, and for the couple Ferlaino-Taramazzo with Ferrari.

 

We are now close to the start of the Formula 1 World Championship: the first appointment is attended on Monday, May 10, 1964, in Monaco. But, before it, on Sunday, May 2, 1964, in Great Britain, will take place the Silverstone Gran Prix, won by the ex world champion Jack Brabham with a car built by hilmself and with the record of 177.553 km/h. the Australian driver has passed the ex world champion Graham Hill, with a B.R.M., followed by Arundell with Lotus. The actual world champion Jim Clark has been eliminated on the 6th lap, because of engine problems on his Lotus; same problems on the 26th lap for the American Gurney, Brabham’s number two, for a brake jammed, and on the 32nd lap for Surtees (Ferrari) because of a problem on the fuel pump. Stop also for McLaren on his new Cooper, on the 41st lap, for wheel and suspension problems. After this last general test and before the start of the Championship, Formula 1 teams start to go to Monte Carlo, in preparation for the race of the first Gran Prix of the season.

 

Nicoletta Zuppardo

Team

 

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