In 1961, following an internal upraising, the infamous Laura Affair, Enzo Ferrari fired the entire management team of his company, including top engineers Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini who promptly set up what they hoped to be a rival teo Ferrari, Automobili Turismo e Sport (ATS). They build not only a formula car but also a car for the road helped with financing by Scuderia Serenissima's Count Giovanni Volpi. Mauro Forghieri was then a 27-year-old trainee engineer at Maranello, fresh from his studies at Bologna University. Almost overnight, he found himself appointed the new technical director. "I was scared," Forghieri remembers. "And I told Ferrari so, but he reassured me by saying he was behind me. He taught me that you never have to feel defeated before-hand." The relationship with the Commendatore had its ups and downs, but the string never broke: "We were both from Emilia, same passionate personality and warm blood. Of course, sometimes he shouted at me and vice-versa, but there was a great deal of respect between us. It is fair to say that he 'created' me and never destroyed me, contrarily to others…"
1961 was a year marked with triumph and tragedy for Ferrari and it's founder. During the 1957 Mille Miglia, near the town of Guidizzolo, a 4.0-litre Ferrari 335S driven by Alfonso de Portago was traveling at 250 km/h when it blew a tyre and crashed into the roadside crowd, killing de Portago, his co-driver and nine spectators, five of whom were children. In response, Enzo Ferrari and Englebert, the tyre manufacturer, were charged with manslaughter in a lengthy criminal prosecution that was finally dismissed in 1961. Ferrari was leading in the World Championship eventually won by Phil Hill but tragedy struck again when on the 10th of September Wolfgang von Tripps was killed along with 10 spectators at Monza. Some now claimed that the legend of Ferrari was built upon dead people. The walkout/purge could not have happened at a worse time for Ferrari.
Forghieri was born on the 13th of January 1935 in Modena, Italy. An only child of Reclus and Afra Forghieri, his father, was an expert in metallurgy and metal casting who worked with Alfa Romeo and Enzo Ferrari prior to World War II. He headed Ferrari’s machine department after the war. Mauro attended the University of Bologna and during that time was invited to Ferrari as an intern. He finally graduated in 1959 with a degree in engineering. He was eyeing a move to California, hoping to work in aircraft manufacturing and engineering with a firm such as Northrop when Enzo Ferrari called and offered a job while he was waiting for the call from America. Forghieri accepted with some encouragement from his father and began working for the company in 1960. He started in the engine department, performing calculations on the 1.5-liter engines and acting as liaison between chief engineer Carlo Chiti and the engine testing room. Shortly afterwards another young engineer would join Ferrari, Gian Paolo Dallara who would later build his own racing car business, Dallara Automobili in Parma, Italy.
Forghieri would remember the lessons he learned from long time Ferrari associate Luigi Bazzi and the famous Vittorio Jano, men who's practical experience were unmatched. Chiti on the other hand took no advise from his junior engineer. While Forghieri was tasked to the engine department, Dallara worked in the chassis section.
When the purge came the racing department had 170 people working there including Ferrari, his secretary, and his drivers, their time was split between F1, hillclimbs, and prototype racing for Le Mans, the Targa Florio, and the Nurburgring endurance races. Forghieri would lead the department as part of a troika with engine man Franco Rocchi and fellow engineer Giancarlo Bussi. The racing world wouldn't stop while Forghieri learned his job which at the end he would considered one of Ferrari’s greatest engineers, the last of a breed that could design an entire car, rather than just a section or component, though it was the design of engines that he enjoyed most.
Something that must be remembered when discussing Ferrari is that while managers and even top engineers may come and go through the cauldron of working at Ferrari there remains a tremendous dept of talent from the 1st and 2nd generation employees and the automotive diaspora that exists in the region of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy. 1962 would be a rebuilding year and Ferrari's best finish for the year was Phil Hill's 2nd place at Monaco. The following year John Surtees joined the team as a driver and the team would go on and win the German Grand Prix for their sole victory of the team. 1964 saw a tight battle between BRM, Lotus and ferrari driven by Graham Hill, Jim Clark and John Surtees respectivly. At the final race in Mexico, Surtees came in 2nd which was enough to win the World Championship. 1965 was dominated by Jim Clark and his Lotus 33, winning every race that he finished.
Ferrari's Formula 1 fortunes would continue to take and up and down nature. In 1965 John Surtees was injured at a Can Am race in September and would be out for the rest of the year. Surtees came back to win the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa but reliability issues doomed his chance at any championship.
But all was not well with Surtees at Ferrari. Ever since 1963 Surtees had been at odds with team manager Eugenio Dragoni. Ferrari for their part was suspicious of Surtees' relationship with Lola's Eric Broadley whose Lola T70 competed with Ferrari's sports cars. At Le Mans in 1966 Surtees was omitted from the line-up and when Surtees questioned Ferrari team manager as to why, Dragoni told Surtees that he did not feel that he was fully fit to drive in a 24-hour endurance race. This may have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back and his estrangement from the team became permanent. Eventually, Surtees agreed along with Enzo Ferrari that their split was a disastrous mistake for both parties. "I could probably have won another two or three world championships if I had stayed with Ferrari," Surtees later admitted.
Many of the Ferrari single seaters and sports racers that won world championships were born of the imagination of Mauro Forghieri and designed by him. That was the case with the John Surtees 1964 158 F1 and the unbeatable Ts of the Lauda-Regazzoni era. The same can be said of the 250 P, the 330 P3 and P4, as well, naturally, as the 312 ‘PB’, the unquestioned protagonists among the sports racing cars of the 1960s and 1970s. The life of the outstanding Mauro Forghieri is told in this book, in which noted stories, especially those that have remained unpublished for years, intertwine in an riveting narrative, supported by a wealth of absolutely unpublished illustrations, a large portion of which come from the publisher’s archives.
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Sports Car Racing
For Ferrari, sports car racing victories translated to increased car sales more than victories in Formula 1 ever could. This would prove to be a double edged sword. In order to sustain their racing efforts in so many categories required Ferrari to utilize as many common parts as possible parts which would always require some compromise.
In sports car endurance racing Ferrari continued to see success on the track. The legendary Ferrari 250 GTO was produced from 1962 to 1964 for homologation into the FIA's Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. The 250 GTO, stared under the auspices of Giotto Bizzarrini, with further development overseen by new engineer Mauro Forghieri and Carrozzeria Scaglietti, an Italian automobile design and coachbuilding company who built the body from a Pininfarina design. The mechanical aspects of 250 GTO were relatively conservative at the time of its introduction, using engine and chassis components that were proven in earlier competition cars. The chassis of the car was based on that of the 250 GT SWB, with minor differences in frame structure and geometry to reduce weight, stiffen and lower the chassis. Early development of the new model was shrouded in secrecy, with Giotto Bizzarrini charged with developing a car to take on and beat the Jaguar E Type. The 250 GTO would be the last front-engined car to win the Le Mans 24hr race. Ferrari would make a belated but successful switch to mid-engined cars in attempt to withstand the onslaught of the Ford Company and it GT40s. The 330 and 512 series would be their answer.
Ferrari at the Targa Florio
Ferrari has been racing at the Targa Floria race since 1920, first as a driver for Alfa Romeo then as a constructor winning the first post-war edition of the race in 1948 with Clemente Biondetti driving a Ferrari 166S, the first of 7 victories in the Sicilian classic. In 1965 Ferrari won with their Forghieri resigned mid-engined 275P driven by Lorenzo Bandini and local hero Nino Vaccarella who would later remark that: "when it came to the Targa, others would come to practice a day or two before the race, but I went all the time. With the Targa, there was endless gear shifting, and I drove most of it one-handed. At the end of the race I would have blisters on my hand." His 1965 win was all the more heroic because Porsche had a strong team, taking the next four places behind him. It was a sign of things to come, Porsche would win the next five Targas in a row. Not till 1972 would another Ferrari win the Targa Florio.
In 1971, Ferrari focused on a new 3.0L prototype based on the 180° flat-12 boxer from the 312B F1 car. Officially this design was known as 312P, the motorsports press appending the B to avoid confusion with the earlier 312P V12 cars. In 1972 a Ferrari 312PB would win with Arturo Merzario and Sandro Munari driving. The Ferrari 312PB was Ferrari’s last sports prototype before they exited sports car racing to focus their efforts solely on Formula One.