For many years, before Enzo Ferrari built the Fiorano test track at Maranello on some land he owned, the Scuderia Ferrari conducted their formal testing on the Modena Aerautodromo which was almost in the town of Modena itself. Less formal testing, as today, was conducted on the public roads around Maranello, including on the nearby autostrada.
The Aerautodromo was in fact a small airport with a racing circuit which used the access roads and taxiways around the airport. Races were sometimes held there as well. The turns were all to the left, other than at a small chicane after the pits.
The test seen here was of a new Ferrari 156F1 with an experimental 120º V6 which was both more powerful than the older 65° motor and lowered the car’s center of gravity as well. In the unpainted F1 car sits American Richie Ginther who did a lot of test work for Ferrari, as well as being a member of the F1 team. Among the other Ferrari stalwarts gathered around is Luigi Bazzi who is leaning over the right front wheel. Bazzi was one of Enzo Ferrari’s oldest and most valued technicians whose career with the Scuderia began in the 1930s. Next to Bazzi is the somewhat corpulent Merado Fantuzzi who built the bodies for all Ferrari sports racing and formula cars in these years. Bending over the cockpit in the dark suit is Ferrari’s head engineer Carlo Chiti while standing behind the car with a hat and dark shirt is Scuderia director Romulo Tavoni. Finally, on the right leaning against the Commendatore’s 250GT 2+2 is Phil Hill and the boss himself.
Ginther would get the assignment to race the 120° motor at the Monaco Grand Prix a couple of weeks later in May where he would finish second just three seconds adrift from the Lotus of Stirling Moss who had perhaps his finest win ever. Nevertheless, Ferrari had the opposition covered in 1961 with Phil Hill winning the Championship at a tragic Monza finale.
Photo by Peter Colton ©The Klemantaski Collection