The Nine Hour Race

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The Goodwood Nine Hour Race was a sports car endurance event held at the Goodwood circuit in Sussex for three years in the 1950s. Here is the Le Mans start of the third Nine Hour Race on August 20, 1955 with the Ferrari 750 Monza of Mike Hawthorn sliding sideways has he accelerates from his lead spot on the starting lineup of cars. Hawthorn would share this Monza, the fourth one produced, with Alfonso de Portago who was the actual owner, although the car had full Ferrari factory support.

There were three Ferraris entered in this Nine Hour Race. The two others were a 1954 750 Sport (a 3 liter-engined car, but with a different motor from the later Monza, and built on the earlier Mondial chassis) which was driven by Harry Schell and Jean Lucas who was probably the owner. The third car was the ex-Scuderia Ferrari  750 Monza prototype which was driven by Jacques Jonneret, the car’s owner, and Ken Wharton. Both these two cars retired.

Hawthorn and Portago had a very competitive race versus the Aston Martin and Jaguar works teams until their car’s transaxle seized after six hours. Of this Monza Hawthorn remembered in his autobiography Challenge Me the Race, “The car was magnificent while it lasted and I always think the 3-litre was one of the best sports cars ever built.” A works Aston Martin DB3S, driven by Peter Walker and Dennis Poore, was the race winner.

After Goodwood, Hawthorn had another race with the Portago Monza at Oulton Park, finishing second to Masten Gregory’s similar Ferrari. Portago then raced his Monza several times in 1955, then painted in his preferred black, before leaving it for sale after the December races in Nassau. It was then acquired by an American driver from Texas who continued to race it in the States. Today it is in Spain.

Photo by Louis Klemantaski  ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

To see more photos from our archive go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx

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