Targa Florio, Sicily - 1963
From Henry Manney
IT was in a thunderstorm of Wagnerian splendour, fittingly enough, that German craft thwarted the might of Maranello to even the account of 1960. At that time, you will remember, Moss' Porsche broke down on the final straight to give victory to the late von Trips' Ferrari. This time, Mairesse's Ferrari spun off on the last lap and with the rear bodywork dragging, lost its lead and the 47th Targa Florio to the Porsche eight-cylinder coupe.
Three Works Ferraris
For the next instalment after Sebring, Ferraris brought a team of two three-litre V-12 rear-engined cars (prototipi) plus a V-6 rear-engined 2-litre for themselves (sports) and another for private owners Lualdi and Bini. As local boy Vaccarella's driving licence was in the hands of the coppers owing to a recent traffic accident, he turned out to be ineligible and thus the problem of driving the three car fell to Surtees, Parkes, Mairesse, Bandini and Scarfiotti. There were also five GTO's left after the usual practice accidents, one of these being caused when Hedges lost van Czasy's GTO on gravel and hit a bridge. Porsche fielded an equally strong team with the new extra low 8-cylinder coupe with wishbones and coils all round for Bonnier/Abate, an 8-cylinder spyder for mountain king Maglioli and Baghetti, what looked like one' of last year's Le Mans coupe bodies (actually' a real production prototype which is intended to replace the Abarth Carrera) on the normal 2-litre Carrera for Linge/Barth, and a 1600 and a 2-litre Abarth C. for Koch/Schreter and Pucci/Strahle.
At any rate, there were 55 cars lined up under the blue Sicilian sky for the 8 a.m. start. As is the custom in these parts, the smallest are sent off first and the big bangers follow on behind all leaving at 30-second intervals with a slightly larger gap between the classes. Out on the course, the locals were walking about with magnificent abandon and wheeling prams. The first car away, an Alfa spyder, proceeded through the tight curves towards Cerda looking completely out of shape and thus served as a better course-clearing device for those that followed. Most everyone got away nicely.
As the maroons went off at the starting line and the cars sped by on their second lap, it was seen that there was a real scrap going on for the lead between Scarfiotti, Parkes, Bonnier, Bandini looking very upright and vintage, Maglioli's spyder, and Linge hanging his tail out in the new Carrera coupe. On the next lap, Parkes moved into the lead by virtue of fastest lap of 40 min. 40.1 sec. and Scarfiotti's handing over to Mairesse . . . as the young Belgian was seen earnestly talking to some policemen after the race, perhaps he was late to work. This manoeuvre, fell on sterile ground, however, as the second-place 3-litre ran over something that squashed a fuel pipe and caused its eventual retirement. Bonnier thus acceded to second and a few laps later had first as well when Surtees, who had taken over Parkes' Ferrari, found himself in the grip of understeer and disappeared into a remote pasture, taking the bottom out of the tank on the way. Bandini and then Scarfiotti who relieved him rose nobly to the occasion, but Bonnier's long knowledge of the circuit paid off and he went ahead.
The Smaller Cars
Meanwhile back at the ranch strange and wonderful things were happening down below. The little Bonnets were scurrying about busily but sounding sicker and sicker, Epstein's Cooper began a series of stops to trace a duff coil, the Aston and Jag rolled ,and wallowed, and the Abarth Simcas in spite of their poor low-speed carburation were wiping the floor with the AWlS. This state of affairs was not to last too long, though, as the Simcas shook to bits on roughness that the Alfas soft suspension swallowed up, fell victim to mechanical ennui, or departed from the course at speed.
Another that didn't quite come up to expectations was the bimotore Mini
Whitmore was practising at decent GTO times in the 47s but was also getting through a set of tyres every other lap. In an effort to finish without too much hustle, he was slowed down approximately to his co-driver's times and thereby, I feel, lost the whole point of the exercise, which is to show the public just how hairily a twin min can go. Even so, it fell ill with overheating and gearchange synchronization problems with the back engine and eventually finished the race on two wheels, so to speak.
As the race wore on, Bonnier handed over to Abate, Maglioli to Baghetti, and partly due to this the 2-litre Ferrari crept into the lead once again to the joy of the partisan crowd. Not satisfied with the cushion and perhaps feeling that Abate was getting tired, Ferrari team manager Dragoni put Mairesse in the car for the last two laps. The sky was darkening, rain was beginning to fall, and if anyone should be used to the wet it would be a Belgian. Mairesse had a 50-second lead starting his last lap, keepingy wary eye on the hustling Abate even if relief came from an unexpected quarter when Baghetti's Porsche became stuck in low gear and lost its third place. Barth knows something about slippery roads too, and promptly sneaked by the fast Bulgari-Grana GTO to take the vacated place from him. AlI was not over though, for as sheet lightninng flamed and thunder rolled, Mairesse lost it on braking at the end of the long final straight and backed off the road. The bodywork refused to close at the back any more, dragging his carapace like an ant towing a beetle, he made for the line as fast as he dared. It was too slow, though, and the silver Porsche waited at the pits as time ticked away. Finally Mairesse carne, lights blazing and body dragging but it was too late for this year. Too late by 12 seconds after 720 km. of mountain racing. Porsche thereby avenged itself with a vengeance and with class wins for Koch, Barth, Bonnier and Riolo as well, came out very well on both the financial and points side. Organization does payoff sometimes.
RESULTS TARGA FLORIO RESULTS
I. J. Bonnier/Abate (Porsehe). 6 hr. 55 min. 45'1 see.. 64.565 m.p.h.
2, W. Mairesse/Searfioni (Ferrari). 6 hr. 55 min. 57 sec.
3, Barth/Linge (porsehe). 7 hr. 26 min. 19.4 sec.
4. Bugati/Grana (Ferrari). 7 hr. 26 min. 31.4 sec.
5, Pucci/Strahle (porsehe). 7 hr. 33 min. 37.2 sec.
6. Bordeu/Scarlani (Ferrari). 7 hr. 40 min. 16.2 sec.
7. Maglioli/Bagheni (Porsehe), 7 hr. 49 min. 12.4
8, Hiteheock/TehokotOva (Ferrari). 7 hr. 59 min.
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