Upside Down

Ferrari, Nurburgring, klemcoll

Standing above the inverted Ferrari 250GTO he has been driving is American Tommy Hitchcock III. The race was the May 19, 1963 running of the Nürburgring 1000 Kms. and the Ferrari is lying in the “ditch” of the famous Karussell. Hitchcock had been going too fast and had spun entering the banked inner section, mounted the steep inside bank and then rolled off upside down.

Actually, Hitchcock did not own the GTO which was the property of his friend and co-driver Prince Zourab Tchkotoua whose father had been a Russian émigré and whose mother was the daughter of the founder of the Marmon Motor Car Company. Tommy Hitchcock also came from an important family. His father had been a famous 10-goal handicap polo player in the 1930s who had married a daughter of the Mellon banking family from Pittsburgh which had also held a majority interest in Gulf Oil.

Their Ferrari GTO had earlier suffered various adverse indignities and would do so again.  It had been brought to England by British Ferrari importer Maranello Concessionaires for John Surtees to drive. In August 1962 Surtees was driving it at Goodwood during the Tourist Trophy when he and Jim Clark, driving an Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, left the track together at Madgwick Corner and ended up in the earth banking, seriously damaging both cars. after having been repaired, the GTO was purchased by Tchkotoua and after a few uneventful race outings came its Nürburgring crash.

The fearless co-drivers repaired the GTO again and brought it back to Goodwood for the 1963 Tourist Trophy. Hitchcock managed to crash it once more into Madgwick’s earth banking, damaging it even more than Surtees had the year before. Sold after repairs in Italy, it raced there for the next two years before being sold to America.

Hitchcock continued to race for a couple of years, primarily with a Cobra and a Brabham BT8 sports car. Tchkotoua co-drove the Cobra a few times as well.

This rather oft-damaged Ferrari 250GTO has been the love of a well known American collector for the past 50 years, and is still used on occasion in historic racing!

Photo by Yves Debraine ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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