Stirling Moss and Lewis Hamilton demonstrate that there’s still a few serviceable stretches of Monza’s legendary Parabolica banking. I would have thought that Hamilton would have been struggling to keep that W196 that high up the banking at these speeds but he seems positively casual about it. Doesn’t Moss look great nestled into the seat of that marvelous 300 SLR W196R Streamliner?
Edit: Thanks for the correction, Gary. I should have known better than to trust the YouTube uploader
Small displacement. Tight courses. Community involvement. Participatory spectators. Pick any one two these and apply them to a contemporary racing series and I’ll be a fan. I’m envious of these residents of Napoli that they got to have all of them.
Just watching the Beast of Turin’s engine fire up a few months ago was flabbergasting. To see her spin around the grounds at Goodwood is downright magical.
It’s jarring to see a racing machine that is as tall as a man’s shoulder. Climbing up on to the seat of the 28.5 liter Fiat S76 is more like perching in a biplane than easing down into a low-slung racing car. You emerge from a car like this with your whole body numb from the battle—shaking and tingling for hours afterwards.
Thick in the early salvos of the Cobra Ferrari Wars and the Fords were in prime shape. This one, though, wasn’t just about the big boys. There was a healthy field of Porsches, Elvas, Lotuses, a lone Stanguellini, and even one of the ultra-rare Echidnas.
I love seeing old footage of Road America because you can immediately see how little it’s changed in the intervening years: Turn 5 is still tricky and prime viewing; the blind turn into 6; Canada corner managing to get the best of more than a few drivers.
Easy to forget that for a few years the development of spoilers and wings was the wild west. It seems like Formula 1 teams tried a slightly new configuration every race, sometimes with spectacular or terrifying or hilarious results.
The oldest Porsche 901 in the Museum’s collection is undergoing a complete restoration which they acquired following a long-neglected stay in private hands. I hope there are periodic video updates released as she starts to come together.
I wish we could find a way to clone the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and stamp an event just like it in the expansive parks in several major metropolitan areas. Imagine a race calendar that included New York’s Central Park Vintage Grand Prix, Detroit’s Belle Isle Vintage Grand Prix (the course is already there!), A revived San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Vintage Grand Prix, Los Angeles’ Griffith Park Vintage Grand Prix… I could go on. I would love to go on.
Perhaps no other event shaped the future of motorsport more than the 1955 LeMans crash that caused more than 80 spectator fatalities. Among other things, motor racing was banned in Switzerland as a result of this crash until 2007. Mercedes pulled out of the race and didn’t enter a factory-sponsored team in any race until the 80’s. Certainly track design was forever changed.
It’s not just snow-fencing, hay bales, and sitting on the curb while sportscars fly by anymore. I once paused momentarily while descending the stairs at the Michigan International Speedway during a race just to experience the sensation as a car wooshed past at 200mph only feet away. It was thrilling then, even with that handful of feet, a concrete wall, and high fencing between us. I can only imagine what it must have been like without those physical barriers there—I occasionally wish for it. But looking back at LeMans ’55 is a good reminder of why it simply cannot be. Even in today’s tracks with their 20 foot crash fences, endless runoff, and limited view for spectators, there is still an element of risk just sitting in the stands at the track.