44th Targa Florio

A Porsche day

Palermo, Sicily, May 8th.

After carrying on the traditions of his uncle, the one and only Vicenzo Florio, so successfully last year, Vicenzo Paladino once again took on the responsibility of organising the Targa Florio, the forty-fourth in the series. From first sight the list of 77 entries looked as though a straight fight between Ferrari and Porsche would ensue, for both factories were out in full force. However, there was a lone entry of a Tipo 61 Maserati from the Camoradi Team which had the full backing of the Maserati factory, and, apart from the fact that the car was owned by Lloyd Casner, it was virtually a works Maserati entry. Of course, there were numerous other serious entries, but only in so far as classes were concerned and not for an outright win, for the race was open to sports cars from 700 c.c. to 3,000 c.c. and Gran Turismo cars from 700 c.c. to over 2,500 c.c.

The Scuderia Ferrari team consisted of Allison, Phil Hill, von Trips, Ginther, Mairesse, Scarfiotti and Cabianca, while also under the factory care were the Mexican brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez. Two big transporters journeyed down from Maranello, carrying three cars apiece, one containing a 3-litre V12 hack car, a new V6 Dino 2-1/2-litre with rigid one-piece rear axle, and a V6 Dino 2-litre with rigid axle, this last being for the Mexican brothers. The second transporter contained an old Monza four-cylinder 3-litre for training, a new 3-litre V12 and a V6 Dino 2-1/2-litre with independent rear suspension as used on the Grand Prix cars, employing double wishbones and coil-springs, while all the serious racing cars had the latest radially-drilled disc brakes and full-size windscreens, glass in the case of one of the V6 cars and Perspex on the others. The Porsche team came in vans and trailers with three of this year's Spyders, known as RS60 models, one with a 1,585-c.c. engine and two with larger-bore cylinders giving 1,630 c.c., thus putting them in the 2-litre class, and an old RSK for practice, while following came Engineer Hild in a new Reutter-Carrera, completely standard, even to interior trim and floor carpets. Their team of drivers comprised Barth and Graham Hill in the 1,600-c.c. car and Bonnier, Herrmann and Gendebien to share the two larger cars between them, while von Hanstein and Pucci were to race the Carrera. Supporting the Porsche team, but running independently, was Paul Strahle and his two Carreras, one a brand new Abarth-bodied car to be driven by himself and Linge and the other his old Reutter-Carrera, which finished fourth last year, to be driven by himself and "Keinz," another German driver.

In spite of the strength of these two teams the lone Maserati in the over-2,000-c.c. class could not be overlooked, remembering how the Tipo 61 had gone in Buenos Aires, Cuba and Sebring, and it had just come from Modena after being fitted with all the latest modifications to suspension and transmission. With Maglioli, a noted Targa Florio performer, as number-one driver it represented a serious threat, while the second driver was not to be ignored, being Nino Vaccarella from Palermo, who had raced Maseratis and knew the Targa Florio circuit well. The owner of the 2,890-c.c. Maserati, Lloyd Casner, was leaving the preparation and running of the car to Guerino Bertocchi and having fun himself driving his Porsche Carrera in the race, partnered by a Sicilian driver, Todaro.

As is customary, the week before the race saw drivers trying to learn the 72-kilometre circuit, or at least get into the spirit of mountain driving, twisting and turning round fast bends, slow bends, hairpins, uphill, downhill, through villages, over narrow stone bridges, accelerating, braking, changing gear, winding away on the steering wheel and putting more concentration and work into one lap than most Club drivers put into a whole season of racing. On the Friday before the race the roads were closed for a few hours for official practice, but for the rest of the time the roads were open to the peasants, buses, lorries and tourists, and the pre-race period took its usual toll of machinery. Gendebien crashed the hack Porsche, Ginther crashed the Monza Ferrari, while Allison had a tyre burst on the new 3-litre V12 Ferrari and crashed heavily, writing off the car but escaping unhurt. One of the Mexican boys bent the tail of their Dino 196, Cahier overturned Laureau's Le Mans D.B. coupé, Boffa bent the tail of the W.R.E. Maserati, and many others came within inches of disaster as they fought and slithered their way round the "Piccolo Circuito della Madonie" most of them thankful that Cav. Florio stopped using the "Grande Circuito" many years ago. Most of the damaged cars were repaired by Sunday morning, except for Allison's Ferrari, and altogether 69 cars lined up on the road leading to Cerda. Although Bonnier had made fastest time in the official practice, this had no effect on the starting order, for cars left at 20-second intervals and raced against the timekeepers' clocks rather than each other.

At 8 a.m. the first man was due away, but No. 2 being a nonstarter, it was No. 4 that left first, at 8 hr. 00 min. 20 sec. The small G.T. cars opened the day and as the seconds ticked by the cars became more exciting. Laureau set off in the crackling two-cylinder D.B. with a new Perspex screen fitted, followed by the tiniest front-engined sports car imaginable, fitted with an Abarth 750-c.c, twin overhead camshaft engine; so small was this car that its F.I.A. regulation luggage space sat on the tail like a carbuncle. A long line of Alfa-Romeo Giuliettas set off, ranging from normal Sprint Veloce to the latest Sprint Speciale and Zagato-bodied cars, while following them went the 1,100-c.c. sports class, containing many OSCAs, including the Italian girl Ada Pace in an 850-c.c. OSCA, and Munaron in the Conrero, a nicely-built "special" based on Giulietta components and fitted with a body that was a very honest attempt to comply with the 1960 sports-car regulations and not an adaptation of a stark G.P. racer. The Gran Turismo scene got livelier as the various Porsche Carreras went off, accompanied by old 8V Fiats, Super Sprint 1900 Alfas and Lancia Aurelias, and then Scarlatti in a 250GT Ferrari. He should have been accompanied by three new 1960 Ferrari coupés, with the short chassis and disc brakes, but at the last moment these were transferred to the over-2,000-c.c. sports class. Barth went away in the 1600 Porsche Spyder amidst a classful of 1,500-c.c. OSCAs, and then followed in succession Ricardo Rodriguez in the Dino 196 Ferrari, Gendebien (Porsche), Govoni (Tipo 60 Maserati 2-litre), Pisano (Maserati A6G), Bonnier (Porsche), Boffa (W.R.E. Maserati) and Colin Davis (Cooper-Monaco-Maserati).

As things were now really warming up there was a pause of two minutes before the big sports cars started, these being led by Tramontana in an old Monza Ferrari, followed by von Trips in the all-independently-sprung Dino 246 Ferrari, Mairesse with the other Dino 246, then Maglioli in the white-and-blue 2.8-litre Maserati, followed by Allison in the hack V12 Ferrari 3-litre, and finally the three demoted G.T. Ferraris.

Now the 44th Targa Florio was well and truly under way and as the sound of the last of the Ferraris died away into the hills the vast throng around the pits area sat back for a brief rest. Just over three-quarters of an hour after the first car had started a rocket exploded behind a neighbouring hill to indicate that a car had been sighted on the far hill, heading towards the pit area to complete its first lap. It was the ugly little D.B. coupé, going strongly and finishing the first of the ten laps in 54 min. 15 sec.; after that there was a veritable tirade of rockets exploding, each one signalling an approaching car, and competitors came streaming through, some stopping at their pits, but most going on strongly. The leading Giulietta, driven by an Italian hiding behind the name "Kim," lapped in 51 min. 25 sec., Munaron had taken the Conrero round in exactly 51 min. and Ada Pace was only 55 sec. slower in the little OSCA. Pucci was leading the Porsche Carreras with a standing lap in 49 min. 50 sec. but Scarlatti was the leading G.T. driver with 49 min. 05 sec. Barth arrived after 49 min. but shortly after Bonnier went by at a terrific rate, having lapped in 45 min. 49 sec., and made up nearly 1-1/2 min. on Gendebien. He had also passed Rodriguez and Govoni, but the 2-litre Maserati only completed one lap as the clutch gave out. The Cooper and the W.R.E. both went by and then, amidst waving and cheering on the part of the Sicilians, Maglioli thundered round the bend by the pits in a series of slides, having slaughtered the Ferrari team, leaving Allison behind him and passing von Trips and Mairesse. The Maserati time was 46 min. 22 sec., sufficient to lead the big sports-car class but 23 sec. behind Bonnier's Porsche. Already the difficult mountain circuit had taken its toll, three cars falling by the wayside; von Trips had locked a wheel on some loose gravel and bent the front of the Ferrari against some rocks, while a 1900 Alfa had obviously gone head-on into a tree, but was still racing. Although weather conditions at the start were good, up in the mountains there was drizzling rain and mist and already the cars were looking muddy and travel-stained.

There was no catching Bonnier on the second lap as he increased his lead to 33 sec. over the Maserati, and with Gendebien in third place the Ferrari team were looking a bit sick, bring fourth, fifth and sixth in the order Allison, Mairesse, von Trips, with Colin Davis close behind, followed by Barth leading the 2,600-c.c. sports class. The Cooper-Monaco-Maserati stopped at the pits, which put it out of the running, letting Barth up into seventh place, and Strahle took over eighth place, a lap in 47 min. 04 sec. in his old Carrera having put him ahead of the G.T. class. Ricardo Rodriguez had been off the road and bent both ends of his Ferrari, and was now running just behind the works team on the road, and all four Ferraris went by in close formation. At the end of the next lap he was still with them, the four cars still being bunched, although von Trips had passed Allison, and their respective lap times were, von Trips 45/49, Allison 46/15, Mairesse 46/12 and Rodriguez 46/33 in the 2-litre car. Bonnier had done 45/02 and Maglioli 46/34, so the Porsche now had a lead of 2 min. 05 sec., but Allison had moved up to third place, in spite of making the slowest third lap of the Ferrari team, for von Trips still had to make up for time lost on lap one. Linge was now leading the G.T. class with the Abarth-Carrera as a result of consistent lapping in 48/32 and 48/29. Casualties were appearing fast, Munaron abandoning the Conrero by the roadside after leading his class, and an Abarth-Fiat creeping back to the pits to expire in a very bent and battered state, having been on its roof; while a lap later two OSCAs and an Alfa-Romeo were seen trying to stop at corners with little or no brakes.

At the end of lap four there were driver changes and refuelling stops among the leading cars, and Bonnier stopped with a lead of 2 mm. 44 sec. over Maglioli, who went straight through on to lap six. Bonnier's last lap had been in 44 min. 38 sec., for the sun was now shining and the mountains were drying out fast. Maglioli could not match the Porsche's speed, his fourth lap taking 45/17, but he followed this with a fifth lap in 45/15 and then stopped to refuel and hand over to Vaccarella. Meanwhile, Herrmann had done a very slow standing lap, including the pit stop, and his fifth lap time was 49 min. 20 sec., so that the end of lap five saw the Maserati in the lead by 1 min. 21 sec. Gendebien was still driving the other 1,630-c.c. Porsche, and while von Trips had been refuelling and handing over to Phil Hill the Belgian driver had moved up into third place, so that the order at half-distance was Maglioli/Vaccarella (Maserati), Bonnier/Herrmann (Porsche), Gendebien (Porsche), Von Trips/Phil Hill (Ferrari), Mairesse/Scarfiotti (Ferrari), Allison/Ginther (Ferrari), and Barth (Porsche), while Pucci led the G.T. cars. There were still 53 cars running, some well, some badly, and Ada Pace/Castellini were leading the 1,100-c.c. sports class, Laureau/Cahier their G.T. class, and "Kim"/Thiele the Giulietta class. Colin Davis was lapping well in 46/22 with the Cooper, but was not on the leader board due to his pit stops, and later retired with a broken header tank.

The new-boy Vaccarella now had the full responsibility of the Maserati entry in his hands, starting his sixth lap with a good lead over the Porsche, and by turning 46/24, including the pit stop, he increased the lead to 1 mm. 55 sec., for although Herrmann improved to 46/58 it was not good enough. Until now Bonnier had made fastest lap of the day, in 44 min. 38 sec., but on his first flying lap Vaccarella did 44/35, and though poor Herrmann improved to 45/52 it was hopeless compared to the Maserati driver and the Porsche was now 3 min. 12 sec, behind, though still in second place, just ahead of Gendebien, who was still third. While this was going on Barth handed over the smaller Porsche to Graham Hill, and Ginther made a mistake and crashed the V12 Ferrari while Pedro Rodriguez had taken over from his young brother but had gone off the road and lost a lot of time. The Porsche team were now worried, for it had not been expected that the new Maserati driver would go so fast, so their only hope was to put Bonnier back in their leading car. As Herrmann finished his seventh lap he drew into the pits and Bonnier was into the Porsche and away, hotly followed by Vaccarella on the road, though it was in front on time. Hardly had Herrmann regained his breath than Gendebien arrived at the pits having completed his scheduled seven laps, and with Barth needing a rest after six fast laps the only solution was to put Herrmann into Gendebien's car, so that the German driver had only a few seconds' respite before starting off again. Bonnier was in terrific form and did his standing lap from the pits in 43/59 but, unbeknown to him, the Maserati was no longer hot on his heels on the road. While on lap eight a stone had punctured the Maserati's fuel tank and it had run dry, but the Sicilians were on the side of the local boy and bottles of petrol were produced which sent him on his way again, but not for long, for while descending a hill and about to change down the fuel ran out and the engine died, leaving Vaccarella going too fast in neutral. He clouted a bank and that was that; the gallant run of the big Maserati had ended. Not realising this, Bonnier was pressing on at an inspired pace and turned lap nine in 42 min. 26 sec., only 8-1/2 sec. off the absolute lap record set by Moss with a DBR1/300 Aston Martin. However, seeing the white-and-blue Maserati by the side of the road he eased off a little and completed his 10th lap, well and truly in the lead, in 43 min. exactly.

Behind this excitement there was plenty of incident; an American driver, Bauer, had crashed his OSCA and hurt himself rather badly, Pucci had hit a wall and then apparently ran short of fuel in the leading G.T. car, Casner had been confronted by a spinning Giulietta and driven off the road on to what appeared to be a reed-covered bank, only to find there was a six-foot drop under the reeds. Sicilians appeared seemingly from nowhere and manhandled the car back onto the road and sent it on its way with a flattened exhaust system and the driver with a bump on his head. Pedro Rodriguez had another accident, this time rolling over twice, practically demolishing the bodywork on the Dino 196 Ferrari. However, it landed back on its wheels so he drove the battered wreck on to the Ferrari mountain depot, where two new wheels were fitted and some hammering of the body done, and he continued at unabated speed, handing over to his brother when he got back to the pits. "Keinz" clouted a rock with Strahle's old Carrera while he was busy trying to see why Pucci had stopped, and black marks were left on the roads and trees stripped of bark as the Targa Florio continued in its role of the toughest motor race.

Among the Ferraris Phil Hill had continued the good work of von Trips with the all-independently-sprung Dino 246, and when Gendebien gave over to Herrmann the Ferrari passed the Porsche, so that with the Maserati retirement this Ferrari was now second. For the last two laps von Trips took over again but with Bonnier in such splendid form there was no hope of a Ferrari victory even though the German driver tried very hard, turning his last lap in 43/38.

After 7 hr. 33 min. 08.2 sec. of racing, and hard fighting-type racing it had been, the Porsche of Bonnier/Herrmann was flagged home the winner, and the organisation were so busy feting the victor that they forgot to flag-off Herrmann in Gendebien's car, so that he went on for another lap, then von Trips arrived and stopped, followed by Cabianca, who had done the last two laps in the Mairesse/Scarfiotti car, and then came Graham Hill in the class-winning 1,585-c.c. Porsche. The chequered-flag man was still a bit bewildered at having missed Herrmann and promptly missed giving the flag to Hill. Knowing he had completed the 10 laps Hill slowed down past the pits expecting the Porsche staff to wave him in, but they were so full of joy over Bonnier's victory that they also forgot about Hill, so seeing various marshals waving him on Graham carried on for another lap. On most circuits this would not have meant much, but the Targa Florio lap is 44 miles long, so it was a very sour Graham Hill that eventually got back to the pits nearly one hour later, especially as the last few laps had been done with a misfiring engine, due to one ignition system going dead.

Eventually all the class winners completed the full distance and in warm, dusty sunshine the 44th Targa Florio ended, having kept up the traditions of this great race, as being a merciless battle of man and machine against the rugged Sicilian mountains.


Targa Florio – Sports-Car Championship Event – 10 laps – 720 Kilometres – Warm

*1st: J. Bonnier/H. Herrmann (Porsche RS60 1,630 c.c) – 7 hr. 33 min. 08.2 sec. – 95.334 k.p.h. 

*2nd: W. von Trips/P. Hill (Ferrari V6 Dino 246) – 7 hr. 39 min. 11.0 sec.

3rd: O. Gendebien/H. Herrmann (Porsche RS60 1,630 c.c.) – 7 hr. 41 min. 46.0 sec.

4th: W. Mairesse/L.Scarfiotti/G. Cabianca (Ferrari V6 Dino 246) – 7 hr. 44 min. 49.0 sec.

*5th: E. Barth/G. Hill (Porsche RS60 1,585 c.c.) – 7 hr. 59 min. 11.0 sec. 

*6th: H. Linge/P. Strahle (Porsche Carrera-Abarth) – 8 hr. 10 min. 06.0 sec. 

7th: R. Rodriguez/P. Rodriguez (Ferrari V6 Dino 196) – 8 hr. 16 min. 52.0 sec.

8th: P. Strahle/"Keinz" (Porsche Carrera) – 8 hr. 19 min. 54.2 sec.

9th: Lenza/A Maglione (Ferrari 250GT) – 8 hr. 22 min. 27.0 sec.

*10th: E. Lualdi/G. Scarlatti (Ferrari 250GT) – 8 hr. 26 min. 38.0 sec. 

*11th: Ada Pace/Castellini (OSCA 850 c.c.) – 8 hr. 27 min. 27.0 sec. 

12th: G. Gerini/S. Le Pira (Ferrari 250GT) – 8 hr. 31 min. 27.3 sec.

*13th: Riolo/Federico (Alfa Romeo Giulietta S.S.) – 8 hr. 37 min. 33.4 sec. 

14th: Taormina/"Saica" (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Zagato) – 8 hr. 43 min. 31.2 sec. 

15th: Brighetti/Manfredini (OSCA 1,500 c.c.) – 8 hr. 48 min. 54.0 sec.  

*16th: G. Laureau/B. Cahier (D.B. Coupé 950 c.c.) – 8 hr. 51 min. 32.0 sec. 

17th: Siracusa/Anna Marie Peduzzi (OSCA 1,500 c.c.) – 8 hr. 52 min. 23.0 sec.

18th: Ferrara/Giampero (Ferrari 250GT – 8 hr. 54 min. 07.0 sec.

19th: Leto di Priolo/Prandoni (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Zagato) – 8 hr. 54 min. 11.0 sec.

20th: V. Coco/Sabbia (Alfa Romeo Giulietta S.V.) – 8 hr. 54 min. 41.0 sec.

Fastest lap: J. Bonnier (Porsche), in 42 min. 26 sec. – 101.807 k.p.h.

Class winners