Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sports Car Racing History

In-depth history lesson of the sports car industry at the Gutenberg project.

Hint: Italy features prominently.

Excerpts:

"...In the 1920s, the cars used in endurance racing and Grand Prix were still basically identical, with fenders and two seats, to carry a mechanic if necessary or permitted. Cars such as the Bugatti Type 35 were almost equally at home in Grands Prix and endurance events, but specialisation gradually started to differentiate the sports-racer from the Grand Prix car. The legendary Alfa Romeo Tipo A Monoposto started the evolution of the true single-seater in the early 1930s; the Grand Prix racer and its miniature voiturette offspring rapidly evolved into high performance single seaters optimised for relatively short races, by dropping fenders and the second seat..."

"...In open-road endurance races across Europe such as the Mille Miglia, Tour de France and Targa Florio, which were often run on dusty roads, the need for fenders and a mechanic or navigator was still there. As mainly Italian cars and races defined the genre, the category was called Gran Turismo, as long distances had to be travelled, rather than running around on short circuits only..."

"...Italy found itself with both grassroots racing with a plethora of Fiat based specials (often termed "etceterinis") and small Alfa Romeos, and exotica such as Maserati and Ferrari – who also sold cars to domestic customers as well as racing on the world stage. Road races such as the Mille Miglia included everything from stock touring cars to World Championship contenders. The Mille Miglia was the largest sporting event in Italy until a fatal accident caused its demise in 1957. The Targa Florio, another tough road race, remained part of the world championship until the 1970s and remained as a local race for many years afterwards..."

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