Bump Starting a Maserati 250F Mid-Race

Late Night Tinkering

Between a Barrel and a Soft Place

1955 New Zealand GP

I think one of the things I like most about historic motorsport is the makeshift facilities. New Zealand didn’t have a purpose-built racing course to host this GP in 1955, but did it stop them? No.

Prince Bira’s 250F Maserati (#1) was perfectly welcome to mix it up on the runways of Ardmore Airport with Lex Davison’s HWM-Jaguar (#77) and Tony Gaze’s Ferrari (#4) just the same. Sure, there’s good reason why 55-gallon drums and haybales don’t serve as today’s racing course construction but there’s a spirit of improvisation that I appreciate.

The Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge at Road America

Peter Gidding's Maserati 250F at Road AmericaHow could I have missed this? Road America is only a few hours drive away and somehow I completely missed the chance to see some marvelous vintage Ferraris at a racing pace in the Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge. The series is open to pre-1980 machines, and divided into disc and drum brake classes.

The drum brake class featured two—two!—Maserati 250Fs on the starting row. Ultimately the pole-sitter, Peter Giddings, won the drum brake race by more than 30 seconds. No surprise there, Giddings has won most of the events since the series started in 2000. So chalk another one up for Giddings. No matter though; whatever the official site lists in standings for the event, the folks hanging out at the Turn 5 fence and the Hurry Downs benches were the real winners. It’s a bit of a rarity to see vintage machines from Maranello racing hard here in the Midwest and I’m really kicking myself for missing the opportunity.

Veloce Today has a wonderful gallery.

If you’re in Quebec, don’t make the same mistake I did. The next Shell Ferrari Historics will be hitting Le Circuit at Mont-Tremblant from July 24 to 26.