In the Spring of the year in the 1950s and 1960s there was usually a kind of warm-up for the Grand Prix season, a non-championship Formula 1 race in Sicily on the Syracuse circuit near the town of Syracusa which is located near the southeast corner of the island. The Syracuse circuit, using public roads, was approximately 3.5 miles in length and was in the shape of a narrow triangle with two right angle corners at its western end making the base of the triangle and a hairpin at the eastern end. The last such race was in 1967, the second year of the three liter F1 formula, but run later than usual on May 21st, resulting in a limited entry due to being in conflict with an important F2 race at Zolder and qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.
Nevertheless, Ferrari which normally participated at Syracuse sent two of its year-old 312F1s for Ludovico Scarfiotti and Mike Parkes, with the Englishman having a new engine with its exhausts between the cylinder heads. The strongest competition for the Ferraris would be from Jo Siffert in Rob Walker’s Cooper 81 with its V12 Maserati and a privately-entered BRM 61 with a two liter BRM motor being driven by coming man Mike Spence. The introduction of what would become the all-conquering Lotus 49 with the Ford DFV was but two weeks away, with Dan Gurney’s Eagle and its new Weslake V12 yet to be seen.
In qualifying the outcome was almost certain as the two Ferraris were three seconds faster than Siffert’s Cooper and almost five seconds up on Spence’s BRM. In fact, during the race they lapped Siffert twice and then as they slowly approached the finish line, seen above with Scarfiotti’s car closest, they finished in an exact and carefully-arranged dead heat.
Photo by Peter Coltrin ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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