Soon after Ferrari launched their limited-run Enzo back in 2002, it did not take long for Maserati to show interest towards the massive V12 monster and use it as a base to develop their own MC12. With the aim of entering a racing version of the MC12 in the FIA GT competition, only 55 of them were made; making it far more exclusive than the 400-unit Enzo.
There might be a lot of great looking cars on the roads today, but the one that will always be catching our attention is Maserati’s elegant GranTurismo. But somehow Maserati got into a re-think as recently, although the MC Stradale was designed to be a more powerful and lighter version of the GranTurismo, they somehow thought that the move is a bit selfish, and the joy of riding the Trident Grand Tourer should be shared with others.
Emilia-Romagna, located in the northern region of Italia where Bologna resides; home to the likes of Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, De Tomaso and Ducati; an area that fills machinery to the brim with racing heritage that stirs the soul and wonderful food products for those who appreciate Italian cuisine.
Forget everything you know about modern motorsports for a while. Forget Mclaren, Renault, BMW, Red Bull. Forget Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinnen, Clark, Stewart, Hamilton and Alonso. Go back about 60 years, to a time where some of the names above didn’t even exist as yet.
Motorsports was a vastly different game back then, one that was a constant gamble with life at the wheels of machines so powerful, so unsafe, so barren, so frightening and just so wrong, that it made gods out of men that win races in them, let alone entire championships. And just like how we have our Senna’s and Schumacher’s to worship today, race fans back then had their Fangio and only Juan Manuel Fangio.
Born to two Italian immigrants in Argentina, Fangio first spent time racing around Argentina and was the Argentine National Champion in 1940 and 1941. Unlike other Formula One drivers who start young, it was only in 1948 at the ripe old age of 39 did he join his first Grand Prix in Europe; the French Grand Prix.
In the post World War 2 era, the automotive era was just coming out of a period of constant bombardment and the loss of projects, factories and more importantly money. But the era is also widely considered to be the start of the golden age of motorsport with such names as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Gordini, and Veritas-BMW. I could go on and on about these teams and drivers and bore you out of your wits, so lets just stick to the topic at hand here, Fangio.
Dubbed The Great Argentinian or El Maestro (The Master), Fangio started of his career racing a Simca Gordini (yes Gordini, the Renault tuner), and went on to race for Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Alfa Romeo. And though Schumacher may have surpassed Fangio’s record of five World Championships, The Master is still the only racer ever to win a World Championship at every team he has raced for! Fangio also holds the record for the highest winning percentage of 47.06%, for comparison Michael Schumacher’s winning percentage stands at 35.8% and we all saw how he dominated.
Fangio is most famous for his drive at the 1957 German GP. Winning that race meant he would win the World Champion as well. But a disastrous pit stop left him trailing the leaders by over 50 seconds. Ready for the race of his life Fangio held his own and chased the leaders through the race and at one point was lapping a full 11 seconds faster than what the leading Ferrari’s could do. At the penultimate lap, he out drove and out maneuvered the entire pack and took the checkered flag and the Championship. This drive is widely regarded to be the greatest drive in Formula One history and is detailed below in the two part black and white video series of the 1957 German GP.
Fangio said after the race, “I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don’t think I will ever be able to do it again.” That race was the last race Fangio won as he retired from the sport in 1958 following the French Grand Prix.
Life after racing was not that much different for Fangio as he still dealt with cars but instead of racing them, he sold them. Fangio had the Argentine concession to sell Mercedes-Benz cars even before he started racing so he continued to do that and drive his former cars in demonstrations.
Besides his drive, one of the high points in Fangio’s life came when he was kidnapped by Cuban rebels led by Che Guevera and Fidel Castro at the 1958 Cuban GP, he was released soon after unharmed and well taken care of but missed the race. The incident gave Castro all the international attention he needed and led to his eventual take over of Cuba in 1959.
After a long and illustrious life and having etched his name forever in the books of motorsports history, Juan Manuel Fangio passed on in 1995 aged 84.
It’s easy to overlook his accomplishments today, but in days where it really was man first and then machine, it’s impossible to emulate his performance. After winning his sixth title in 2003 Schumacher said, “Fangio is on a level much higher than I see myself. What he did stands alone and what we have achieved is also unique. I have such respect for what he achieved. You can’t take a personality like Fangio and compare him with what has happened today. There is not even the slightest comparison.”
So today, for no particular reason at all, I just felt like putting together something in memory of the greatest driver of all time, and here are four videos of the man in action. The top one was shot in Monaco on a normal day (note the bystanders and parked cars), the video shows in great detail what it takes to actually drive an early race car, for obvious reasons the video later got the crew in trouble with the authorities. The second above is an excellent on board camera of Fangio all out at Fiorano in 1957. The bottom two are highlights of his epic charge to 1st place at the ’57 German GP (rather slow and very blur but a great insight into what it was like back then and gets really interesting at the end of Part 2). Make some time because this is great.
The car market has been strange ever since the inception of the Porsche Cayenne. The fact that a Porsche had suddenly grown into a ugly four-door SUV was hard to swallow but it sold in the millions and Porsche raked in the money. Other carmakers, taking note of this also followed suit with Maserati currently working on its own version of a SUV dubbed the Kubang, Aston Martin is set to officially introduce Rapide and Lamborghini is toying with the idea of commercialising the Estoque. If you haven’t noticed, all these car makers are also makers of some of the world’s most desirable supercars. Read the rest of this entry »
The perks of joining the most successful Formula One team in the history of the sport include being helicoptered around to exotic ski destinations in the Italian hills and being presented with the keys to one of the most beautiful Italian cars for a while. Among others of course. Fernando Alonso, Formula One’s top driver, has just been gifted a Maserati GranCabrio by his new employer Ferrari. Read the rest of this entry »
Here at Zerotohundred.com we are advocates of everything spectacularly fast, insanely loud and of course, racing (on track that is).And that’s exactly what the Ford GT40 is all about as well. First built in the 60s to whoop some European butt – namely Ferrari and Porsche – and successfully doing so four years in a row (66-69), the GT40 was resurrected in 2003 and was known simply as the Ford GT. It has since gone on to multiple victories namely in the European GT3 Class.
Enter Matech Competition, a Swiss racing team who has taken the GT to numerous GT3 class wins and is all set to do so again in GT1. The team ran a prototype model in the same series in 2009 and based on the lessons learnt, the team has gone on to build it’s newest GT1 competitor with upgraded everything. The team says that the two cars share nothing in common whatsoever. The new car is shown in the short video clip above, and for more information, we have posted the official press release after the jump. This evil looking and sounding GT1 Ford GT will be racing against the likes of the Nissan GTR, Lamborghini Murcielago’s, Aston Martin DB9R’s, Maserati MC12s, Ferrari F430′s, Porsche GT32′s and Chevrolet Corvette’s. Read the rest of this entry »
You just can’t really drink and drive at the same time, an interesting video feature by Bacardi Limited. Watch Schumacher as he trashes the Gran Turismo and the Bartender. There is also an extended version
The Maserati GranCabrio, the first four-seater convertible in the Trident carmaker’s history, will make its world wide debut on September 15 at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The introduction of the GranCabrio – the Trident’s third prong – completes Maserati’s product line-up that now consists of three different families of models: Quattroporte, GranTurismo, GranCabrio. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the fun things to do during TIMETOATTACK is to take a stroll around the parking lots and you can spot quite a few nice cars parked there like this line up of a Nissan Skyline R32, Honda Integra DC5 and a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo