Let’s Build Monza.

Monza under construction

Anyone have some land to donate to the cause of properly replicating Monza with the banking? After all, this doesn’t look so hard. If the Chinese can exactly replicate European cities and villages, then I see no reason why we can’t build the real Monza.

Monza under construction

Then again, after watching a road crew near my house spend the last 7 months building a single freeway overpass, I suppose I’m not an expert on these things.

1957 Race of Two Worlds on Film

Reader Photos: Gary Mason’s 1957 Race of Two Worlds

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Thankfully, yesterday’s Monzanapolis track map forced my hand in sharing some of these amazing images from Gary Mason. In the mid-1950s, Gary was a teenager traveling through Italy with a pair of cameras on his hip—hitting every race he could (and rooting for Maserati whenever possible). What a tremendous opportunity to take in one of the great spectacles of mid-50s racing in Europe—the Race of Two Worlds.

Can you believe how empty these stands are? What a tragedy.

Can you believe how empty these stands are? What a tragedy.

What a rare chance to see Offenhauser-powered Kurtis and Kuzma sprint cars square off against Jags and Ferraris. Can you imagine seeing Indy cars and ALMS prototypes going head to head on a modern speedway? It’s almost comedic. But incredible. And beautiful.

Race of Two Worlds. Monza. 1957.

More of Gary Mason’s photos in the archives. Thanks again, Gary! There’s more to come.

Track Maps of the Past: Monzanapolis

Monzanapolis Track Map 1958

There’s some fascinating things happening in this track map created for the 1958 “Race of Two Worlds” event at Monza. Unofficially dubbed “Monzanapolis” for the event, the race was a battle between American USAC speedway machines typically seen at Indianapolis versus European road racing machines. Because the race used only the banked oval portion of Monza’s fabulous double loop “combined” configuration (and it ran in the opposite direction), the event required it’s own map. They really outdid themselves with this one.

Not only does it show the track from above, there is also fantastic details like the cross sections of the banking, (this was where I learned that the North and South banking were so different) and an attempt to demonstrate the elevation change in the track (highly unconventional on a speedway).

I usually lean towards the freehand illustrated maps so commonly seen in CalClub and SCCA event programs, but this professionally drafted map is so rich in detail that I absolutely adore it.

Reader Photos: Gary Mason’s 1957 Italian GP Paddock

Ferrari Paddock - Italian GP, 1957

I’m continuing to wade through the box of slides and prints that Gary Mason sent in chronicling his lifelong love of photographing sportscar and formula racing (particularly Maseratis). In addition to these gorgeous images of the paddocks of the 1957 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, there is a large pile of shots that a then teenaged Gary was able to capture from the race itself (they’re coming, I promise). These particular shots of the Ferrari and Maserati paddocks really jump out at me though and are worth sharing on their own.

Maserati Paddock - Italian GP, 1957

It’s been well covered here and elsewhere what a shame it is that spectators are all but barred from the paddocks of contemporary Formula 1. But it’s not just the level of access that strikes me about these photos. It isn’t just that Jean Behra’s Maserati 250F or Peter Collins Lancia Ferrari 801 is just sitting right there, a hair’s breadth away; begging you to casually extend a pinkie and touch it and prove to yourself that it’s real. What catches my eye is what surrounds these magnificent machines or, rather, what doesn’t. This isn’t just access to the paddock; it’s access to a nearly empty paddock. Empty of security to be sure, but also eerily empty of other spectators. Plenty of room to stand back and frame up a photo. Nearly impossible today even at club races.

FerrariPaddock3.ItalianGP.1957

Bonus Denis Jenkinson on the left there gathering notes and photos on the Ferraris for Motor Sport, no doubt. A nearly embarrassing charge of excitement leapt through me when this image slowly revealed itself line by line as the scanner worked its way through the slide: “Hey, that’s Jenks!”

FerrariPaddock.ItalianGP.1957

As Gary pointed out in a comment on this similar photo taken a few years later, note the jump from garage 12 to garage 14. Can’t be too careful when you’re looking for luck on the track that day! No unlucky #13 garage for me, thank you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Track photos of the main event and support races for the ’57 Italian GP to come as soon as I can get the images properly indexed and identified.

See more of the Gary Mason Archive.

Reader Photo: John Shingleton’s Monza Pits 1981

Ligier pits. Monza. 1981.

John Shingleton emailed me what he calls his favorite photo. Considering John’s photographic experience, that’s quite a statement indeed. I’ll let John explain:

“Of the thousands of motor racing photos I have taken over 50 years this is my absolute all time favourite. It was taken on Kodachrome 25 slide film during the Saturday afternoon practice session at the 1981 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. It has it all -Monza- a fantastic, circuit with a unique atmosphere-that diffuse yellow light you get on a hot late summer afternoon in Northern Italy-wonderful cars being worked on in the pit lane in full view of everyone-not closeted away behind closed doors as happens now-a pit lane dolly in shorts-enthusiastic onlookers everywhere. And those great big slick donut tyres-no silly one-make control tyres in those days. And it is Italy. Wonderful. And perhaps above all else it has that wonderful film “look” is so appropriate for the time.”

You owe it to yourself to see more of John’s photos on his Rolling Road blog. Thanks, John!

Race of Two Worlds

1971 4 Hours of Monza

Great footage here from the pits and on track of the 4 Hours of Monza, 1971. What a wonderful grid for 1971’s first event on the European Touring Car Championship, with a pack of Alfa GTAMs, BMW 2002s and 2800s, Fiat 500s, Escorts, and a Camaro for good measure. All the more exciting, this video has real audio with some great engine screaming!

How much would I like one of the Dunlop Racing Division jackets seen in this 1st video at 55 seconds? Very much. Very, very much.

The Margin Between Champagne and Orangeade