Testing at Modena – April 1961

Ferrari, Modena, Enzo Ferrari, Richie Ginther

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

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3 comments

  1. Jim Sitz · · Reply

    Quite a Year for Ferrari, and for Ginther too. First round in Monaco, the ” new boy”
    proved how good it really was,,(Many European Fans did not know who he was,)

    Many Years later, sitting in his motor home, the gypsy Richie came close to bragging
    when he told me how the lap record of his was listed in ’62 program; Seems he set his time
    in the Battle with Moss, but Stirling could only equal it,!

    Tavoni was terrible driver, 1957 he drove us out to Maranello, while engaged with Phil Hill
    about chance of Phil getting Formula 1 drive next year–Tavoni kept telling him to be
    patient, and trying to keep car in straight line and avoiding many bicyclist, Hill quiped
    in testy manner how other teams like BRM would trying to sign him on.

    Hill would not wait and borrowed friends Maserati for French GP, bringing threats
    from Enzo Ferrari to drop him from the team, Letter from Phil at Albergo Reale Hotel
    mentioned that he had promised to drive Maser and was still going to do so,!
    letter sent just after his 1958 Le Mans victory,

    Jim Sitz

    Like

  2. Parker Hall · · Reply

    Hi Peter: Great to have a chance to visit with you in Naples. I have always wondered about the overnight stay at Manerbo prior to the 1957 MM. Did they drive the cars to Manerbo or were they hauled there in trucks. I have seen the photos of driving the cars from Manerbo to Brescia, but don’t know about the Maranello to Manerbo leg. I looked for the Jolly hotel and couldn’t find it. I found only one hotel in Manerbo and it easily could be the same one but it could just as easily have been torn down. I really do enjoy these series of newsletters and hope that you will continue with them.

    Best Wishes,

    Parker Hall

    Like

  3. Dear Parker,

    The hotel in question was owned by the Marzotto family and was located in Manerbio which is about 12 km south of Brescia on the road to Cremona. In the 1950s the cars were driven there from Brescia after scrutineering.

    Peter

    Like

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