Ferrari in motorsport
Scuderia Ferrari was born after Enzo Ferrari, himself a driver, set up a team to run the works Alfa Romeo race team. After some successful years Alfa took the team in-house and Enzo decided to do better himself with his own cars.
Due to legal constraints he was not allowed to build cars bearing the Ferrari name for some time, thus the birth of the AAC815. The first car to bear his name first ran in March 1947 and was christened the 125 Sport, the number representing the cubic capacity of one cylinder. The resulting 1.5-litre V12 powered car won seven races in its debut year, including the Rome GP on 25th May where it was driven by Cortese.
In 1948 it continued to win, and was joined by a new F2 car. With a slightly larger engine, and thus known as the 166, it included the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio in its victory count for that year. In the following year the same car, albeit with various bodies, again won the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, and added the prestigious Le Mans 24 hours to its cups.
1949 also saw the debut of a new supercharged, single-seat F1 car, the 125 F1. This won two Grand Prix (Italy and Switzerland) but in the following year the supercharging was dropped and work concentrated on naturally aspirated versions. The 1950 Mille Miglia was won by a 195S.
Success returned to the F1 team in 1951 when they took three victories, as well as the Mille Miglia being won by a 340 America. 1952 was even more successful with Ascari taking the F1 drivers championship, helped by seven race wins. The Mille Miglia was again won by a Ferrari, this time a 250GT MM whilst the World Sportscar Makes Championship was also won by Ferrari, mainly using the new four cylinder 500 car.
Both the F1 drivers and Sportscar Makes championships were won again in 1953. Ascari took the former, whilst wins in the Mille Miglia (340MM), Le Mans 24 hours (375MM) and 1000km Nurburgring (375MM) helped with the latter. The makes title was won again in 1954 using various 375 cars (including Le Mans, 1000km of Buenos Aires and Carrera Panamerica) but F1 was less successful with only two wins.
The latter half of the 1950s saw various cars with a wide range of 4, 6, 8 & 12 cylinder engines being built and successes being achieved all over the world in various categories. The F1 drivers championship was won in 1956 and 58 and the Makes championship in 1956, 57 and 58. The Mille Miglia was won in 1956 and 57, the Sebring 12 hours in 1956, 58 and 59, the Le Mans 24 hours in 1958 the Targa Florio also in 1958. Many other races were also won in these most successful years.
The victories continued into the 1960s, with Sportscar titles in 1960, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65 and 67. These were first dominated by the various 250 cars, including the 250GTO, then by the larger capacity 275 cars and finally by the purpose built 330 P2, P3 and P4 cars. A few wins each year in F1 continued to go to Ferrari, and indeed in 1961 and 1964 they won both the drivers and constructors titles. The drivers were Phil Hill in 1961 and John Surtees in 1964 driving the 156 and 158 respectively.
Sportscars continued into the 1970s with the totally unbeatable 312PB. Introduced in 1971, 1972 was really its year, when it won every race it entered (including the 1000km races at Buenos Aires, Brands Hatch, Monza, Spa, Nurburgring and Austria, the 6 hour races at Daytona and Watkins Glen, the 9 hours at Kyalami, the 12 hours at Sebring and the Targa Florio) and predictably also took the title. It continued part way into 1973 but then stopped abruptly as Ferrari withdrew from sportscars. A half-hearted return was first made in 1994 with the 333SP which achieved limited success.
Returning to the 1970s and in F1 Ferrari took three drivers and four constructors titles (1975 with Lauda, 1976 constructors only, 1977 with Lauda and 1979 with Scheckter). They managed the constructors title again in 1982 and 1983, but for the drivers title had to wait a long time until more recently in 1999 Schumacher ended the drought. This has been followed by consecutive years of domination yet to end........
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