The vintage motor racing world of northern Italy mobilized itself impressively on June 11 to commemorate Enzo Ferrari’s last victory as a driver 75 years ago. Ferrari won the 13-kilometre 1931 Bobbio-Passo del Penice hillclimb in an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 MM at an average speed of 66 km/h.
The commemorative event was originally the idea of the late Michele Alboreto, the ex-Ferrari factory driver, and was promoted by Luigi Tura and Club Italia, the country’s top vintage car organization.
Some of the great names and cars of the past assembled in the town of Bobbio, just over 40 miles south of Milan, to watch Ferrari’s son Piero drive the same route in an identical Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 MM. A task made much easier on today’s asphalted hairpins to the top, than for Enzo Ferrari, who had to contend with a simple, unsurfaced, dusty track in his victorious climb to the Mount Penice pass. Piero Ferrari was later presented with the Targa Count Gughi Zanon di Valgiurata to mark the anniversary. The count after whom the plaque was named and who died recently, was influential in motor racing circles and helped many drivers with their careers. For instance, he eased Ayrton Senna’s move from Toleman to Lotus and supported Alboreto as he establish himself in F1 and then in his transfer to Maranello.
The Alfa Romeo Museum joined in the fun and displayed some of its ’30s-era cars at the hillclimb’s end, and the second Giulietta Sprint ever built, which rolled off the Alfa production line in 1954, was driven from Bobbio to the pass by ex-Ferrari F1 world championship-winning designer, Mauro Forghieri. Mario Casoni, who was the last winner of the Bobbio-Passo del Penice hillclimb in 1963 at the wheel of a Brabham Formula Junior, drove the route in a De Tomaso Pantera for the 75th anniversary, followed by another 40 vintage cars. They included a unique Fiat 8V Vignale, a Lancia Stratos, a string of Ferrari barchettas and Grand Tourers, among them a California and a 250 SWB.
Those also attending the event included Tonino Ascari, son of the great 1952/1953 World Champion Alberto, Gino Munaron, the ’50s Ferrari factory driver, and Michele Alboreto’s widow, Nadia.