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Luigi Villoresi

Luigi Villoresi Biography

Luigi Villoresi was born in Milan, Italy on May 16th, 1909. Nicknamed “Gigi” he came from a prosperous family and began competing in local rallies at the age of twenty-two with a Lancia Lambda and a few years later acquired a Fiat Balilla, which was very popular with aspiring Italian racers. Villoresi and his brother Emilio competed in the Mille Miglia where they finished in the 1100cc sportscar class.

He continued to race the Fiat and came in third at the 1935 Coppa Ciano. He would go on to become the Italian champion in the 1100cc sports car class. Villoresi bought an ex-factory 4CM and continued to race in various events and by 1938 Villoresi was a full member of the Maserati team. After the war he again raced Maseratis, winning the Italian Championship in 1946 and 47 before joining his good friend Alberto Ascari at Ferrari in 1949, winning that season’s Dutch Grand Prix.

Luigi VilloresiFor the 1951 Inter Europa Cup meeting at Monza, Enzo Ferrari entered him in a Ferrari 340 Coupé. Not only did he win the race but he enjoyed it so much he asked Ferrari it he could race the Coupé in the Mille Miglia. Ferrari refused, saying he would have a Barchetta like Ascari, but Villoresi persisted. Eventually he was allowed to race the Coupé, and won the event. “Enzo Ferrari didn’t understand that the Coupé was actually a better car for the Mille Miglia. The race was wet, but I felt comfortable and was very happy to win.”

In 1954, Villoresi switched to Lancia together with Ascari but was deeply affected by Alberto’s fatal accident at Monza in the spring of 1955. He retired from Grand Prix racing in 1957 but continued rally racing and won the Acropolis Rally in Greece in 1958 before retiring. Luigi Villoresi died in 1997 at the age of eighty-eight.