Results: 1953 Mille Miglia Results / Dates: April 25-26, 1953 / Winner: Marzotto G. – Crosara – Rolfo / Winning Speed: 88.96 mph / Starters: 481 / Finishers: 286
In 1953 the FIA inaugurated the World Sports Car Championship for cars conforming to Appendix C of the International Sporting Code. It comprised seven qualifying events, five of these on circuits; the Sebring 12 hours, the Le Mans 24 hours,the Spa-Francorchamps 24hours, the Nurburgring 1000km and the Tourist trophy at Dundrod in Northern Ireland, and two on public roads, the Mille Miglia and the Carrera Panamericana. The points scale was the same as that of the World Drivers’ Championship: points were awarded to the first six places overall [8-6-4-3-2-1]. Points would be awarded only to the single leading car of each individual marque in each race and the four best results for each Marque in the seven qualifying events would count toward the Championship.
After scoring a number of important wins after their Mille Miglia failure Mercedes decided to pull out of racing for the time being. Alfa Romeo on the other hand returned in force with three new cars, the Type 6C 30000CM to be driven by Fangio, Kling and Sanesi. Lancia had assembled a veteran team consisting of Taruffi, four-time winner Biondetti, Maglioli, Bonetto and Bornigia with the first four driving their new D20 2900. Ferrari for their part countered with four 300 bhp 4.1 roadsters for Villoresi, Farina, Giannino Marzotto and American Tom Cole who tragically would crash fatally only two months later in the 24-Hours of Le Mans.
Marzotto had originally planned on driving one of the new Alfas but upon returning from a business trip to Lebanon found that the car had been assigned to another driver. A quick call to Gianni Lancia found that team was also fully committed and he was forced to turn to Ferrari, with whom he had developed a strained relationship for a car. At Maranello he was taken to a storage building and shown Villoresi’s car a 340MM that had recently won the the Giro di Sicilia. The car had not been touched since its last race and had suffered a loss of brakes towards the end of the race but without any other option marzotto decide to take a gamble. Restoring the car to racing trim meant that it was not delivered to it’s new crew until a few hours before the start of the race. Unable to do any pre-race testing they could only hope that the car would last the race. Irregardless of any animosity between their boss and Marzotto the Ferrari mechanics did their job well. Giannino’s brother Paolo with his co-driver Marino Marini entered the race under a pseudonym of X-Zignago because their father did not want the brothers to race. Smelling smoke he told Ferrari of it at Bologna but was dismissed by Ferrari as being a maniac. At Rubiera the cockpit began to fill with smoke and the “maniac” stopped the car at the side of the road and with his co-driver jumped out just before the car became fully engulfed.
This time the weather was perfect and after nine and a half hours all the cars were finally away. The Alfas rocketed into the lead. Sanesi controlled the early pace averaging 113 mph to Verona but his brilliant drive ended on the road to Rome. Farina had crashed out and Kling assumed the lead only to crash out himself. Of the 26 Ferraris that had started the race twelve had retired., among them the 340 MMs of Villoresi and the afore mentioned Farina.
Just past Siena Marzotto remembered that the team was not able to change his motor oil because they could not open his bonnet. Making a U-Turn he sped back to the Siena control where he had the mechanics cut a hole in the bonnet directly over the engines oil filler cap. Fangio’s Alfa was now in the lead but had to surrender to Marzotto when his steering started to act up on top of fading brakes. Despite two small crashes Marzotto, who was told in reference to his car by Ferrari to take it or leave it; took it all the way to Brescia for his second victory in the italian classic.