Phil Hill brings the winning Ferrari 250TRi/61 back to the podium in front of the crowd after the finish of the 1961 LeMans 24 Hours on June 11, 1961. Hill co-drove the winning Ferrari with Belgian long distance specialist Olivier Gendebien, their second win together at this classic race.
The Ferrari 250TRi/61, the “TR” standing for Testa Rossa and the “i” standing for independente, referring to the all independent suspension, was a new version of the three liter Testa Rossa designed by Carlo Chiti’s team at Ferrari. It was in effect a sports car chassis development from the 1960 Ferrari 246F1 grand prix car. The TRi used coil spring suspension all around with the rear suspension being a copy of the double a-arm so-called “Cooper suspension” as used on the then latest Cooper grand prix car. The motor was offset to the left, as can be seen in this photo, to provide more even weight distribution. Two of the new TRi’s were constructed in 1961, but this was the Le Mans winner’s only race before it was sold to Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team with a lowered tail and windshield for U.S. racing.
The Le Mans winning TRi/61 was raced by NART in the fall and winter of 1961 and again in 1962 before being sold to owners on the West Coast who raced it for the next two years. Subsequently, after the end of its racing career, it was in American, British and Swiss collections before returning to the United States where it was restored to its 1961 Le Mans configuration.
A further development of the same TRi chassis, but with a more powerful four-liter motor, was assigned to the Hill/Gendebien team to use in 1962 with which they would achieve their third Le Mans victory.
Photo by Yves Debraine ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com