Getting Ready…

Ferrari,12 Hours Sebring, Bonnier, Bianchi

Here we are in the Ferrari garage before the start of the 1962 12 Hours of Sebring which would take place on March 24th. The Ferrari these two mechanics are preparing is one of the prior year’s Scuderia Ferrari 250TRi/61s, chassis number 0792, then owned by Count Giovanni Volpi’s Scuderia Serenissima which entered its cars as Scuderia SSS Republica di Venezia. These cars were originally fitted with a high tail body due to the 1961 requirement of a high windshield, but for 1962 the windshield was lowered, as can be seen here, and the tail of the body followed suit.

It appears that Volpi has had the engine moved farther back in the chassis so as to improve weight distribution and handling, probably with the aid of mechanical wizard Giotto Bizzarrini who had modified Volpi’s earlier 250GT “Breadvan.” The large round intake to the left of the engine will be fed by a scoop in the car’s hood to direct cooler air into the driver’s footbox. A real necessity as the right side exhaust manifolds run around it!

This year-old Ferrari will be driven by Swede Joakim Bonnier and Belgian Lucien Bianchi. They would turn out to be the winners, coming in some 10 laps ahead of the second place car, also a Ferrari, but a 250GTO running in the GT class, driven by endurance specialists Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien. On the left of the photo can be seen what is probably the tail of another Ferrari 250TRi/61, this an entry of Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team to be driven by Britain’s Stirling Moss and Innes Ireland. They would take an early lead but would be disqualified for being refueled at 18 laps instead of 20 during a stop to check the brakes, caused in part by an over-anxious pit steward who went ahead and clipped the seal of the fuel tank – too early as it turned out.

Photo by Chuck Rogers ©The Klemantaski Collection

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