As you settle in to enjoy a glorious day of motorsport, this week on The Last Lap I look at the legendary Targa Florio, two motorsport mysteries that occurred at Monaco and the Brickyard, pre-war race cars lapping the Nürburgring and more. Happy Sunday!
A Trip Back in Time: Targa Florio
Last week I posted an article that looked at the Mulsanne Straight, a feature of a track that is still with us (although in altered form). This week I look at a race that is still technically with us, but not as it was in its heyday. Motorsport Magazine looks at the storied history of the Targa Florio in Targa Florio: Lap of the Godfathers. “The Targa Florio. An epic race steeped in lore, where men pushed their limits of endurance, bravery… foolhardiness, to the edge and over it. Nazzaro, Nuvolari, Moss… Vaccarella, Elford, Siffert… Ferrari, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz – so many names, so many stories, so much history. And so many miles. To grapple with the Targa – nearly 70 years of myth and legend, a race that is hard to relate to from the safety of our homogenised, modern world of infinite run-offs, carbon composite construction and the HANS device – is daunting in the extreme.”
Motorsport Mystery #1: The Lost Diamond
As we get ready to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, let’s look back to the mystery of the missing diamond that was mounted in the nose cone of an F1 car, and then lost after the car hit the wall. The Drive has all the details. “As it happened, Jaguar driver Christian Klien crashed out on the very first lap, getting caught up in traffic, losing his front wing and spearing into the wall on a hairpin turn. Klien was ok; his car was craned off the track and the race continued. But the button-sized diamond previously affixed to the car’s nose? It vanished, never to be seen again, sparking a mystery that remains unsolved today. How’s that for PR?“
Motorsport Mystery #2: The Death of Indy 500 Racer Pete Kreis
IndyCar driver Pete Kreis was 34 and riding mechanic Robert Hahn was 21 when they died in a single-car accident in Turn 1 during practice for the 1934 Indianapolis 500. Autoweek looks into whether the crash at the Brickyard was an accident or a suicide. “An examination of the remains of the car found no mechanical failure that might have caused the crash. Kreis’s autopsy revealed no pre-existing medical conditions that might have been a factor. It was agreed he appeared alert and healthy shortly before going out for the last time. It is difficult if not impossible to know his emotional state of mind at the time.”
A Lap of Monaco with Dan Collins
Here is video of Dan Collins driving a 1961 Lotus 21 Formula One car at the 13th Monaco Historique 2022. This is the Serie B race for rear engined Formula One cars from 1961 to 1965. This particular chassis won the first Grand Prix for Team Lotus when Innes Ireland won the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in 1961.
Formula Drift Pre-War Style
A new video by the Auto Addiction channel on YouTube takes us to the Nürburgring to show us a selection of vintage cars lapping the legendary track. The video creates a lovely mixture of sounds and pictures and shows some of the best machines from a century ago in action. Or, put alternatively, from the times when the passenger was required for ballast.
Ferrari’s ‘Spaghetti’ Exhaust: A Musical Masterpiece
CPX looks at the glorious exhaust system in 1967 Ferrari 312 Formula One car. “Without a doubt, the most famous exhaust system is the so-called “spaghetti exhaust” that appeared on the 1967 Ferrari 312 Formula One car. The sinuous pipes sat prominently on the V12 engine, and one could not help but notice them because of their bright white coating.” You can listen to it in the video above.