This the Belgian journalist and excellent semi-professional driver Paul Frère, wearing a yellow helmet in the Belgian racing colors, as he drifts his Scuderia Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa around Tertre Rouge corner during the 1960 Le Mans 24 Hours on June 25, 1960. Frère was partnered by his countryman, the very experienced endurance driver Olivier Gendebien, himself already a Le Mans 24 Hours race winner.
In a testimony to the reliability and competitiveness of this Belgian-driven works Testa Rossa, Frère and Gendebien led for 23 of the 24 hours with no real challenge. Fastest lap was shared at 4′ 4″ between a Maserati T61 Birdcage driven by Masten Gregory and the Cunningham-entered prototype Jaguar E-Type of Dan Gurney. But both of these cars were relatively early retirements, although Gregory had led most of the early laps
Ferrari tried to make sure of a good result with a total of 13 entries between the factory and private teams. Luigi Chinetti’s North America Racing Team achieved second place, albeit four laps down to the winners, with a year old Ferrari 250TR/59 driven by the young Ricardo Rodriguez from Mexico and Belgian André Pilette. Ferrari GT cars took 4th through 7th positions, all 250GT SWBs, two being from N.A.R.T. Unfortunately, two of the works Testa Rossas retired when they ran out of fuel out on the circuit before their first pit stops, due to incorrect fuel consumption calculations, combined with their efforts to stay in touch with Gregory’s Maserati.
After his victory Frère retired from racing, as his co-driver Gendebien would do in 1962, after having achieved two more Le Mans 24 Hour wins. Paul Frère continued as a respected journalist until his detain 2008 at the age of 91. The Testa Rossa he drove at Le Mans in 1960 remains today, perfectly restored, in an American collection.
Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The KlemantaskiCollection – http://www.klemcoll.com