FERRARI’S 60 YEARS IN THE USA
Luigi Chinetti opens the first Ferrari
dealership in the U.S. in midtown
Manhattan. More than a showroom, it’s a
bridgehead and a catalyst for Ferrari to
become involved in American motorsports.
The rest is living, breathing history...
Images Ferrari archive & LAT archive
Illustrations Paul Laguette
Ferrari makes its first appearance
at the 12 Hours of Sebring. F1
stars Juan Manuel Fangio and
Eugenio Castellotti combine to
lead a 1-2 in their 860 Monza.
Ferrari begins a streak of six Sebring wins in
seven years. (BELOW) Phil Hill and Peter Collins
celebrate success for their 250 TR58 in ’ 58.
l North American Racing Team (NART) founded.
(TOP LEFT) Eugenio Castellotti and Juan
Manuel Fangio – Ferrari’s first Sebring winners.
(ABOVE MIDDLE) Hill and Gendebien look
tired after winning the ’ 61 Sebring 12 Hours,
in which they led a Ferrari 1-2- 3-4! (ABOVE
RIGHT) A race-long charge at Le Mans in ’ 65
made NART and Ferrari’s 250 LM famous.
Team (NART), a privateer effort that would
become one of the most important in
Ferrari history. Even though the Italian cars
missed the top step of the podium, they
still made their presence felt: Pete Lovely
and Jack Nethercutt were third, topping a
roster of seven Ferraris in the top 10.
Regular service soon resumed with 1-2
finishes between 1961 and ’ 63 led by Hill
and Gendebien, Jo Bonnier and Lucien
Bianchi, and John Surtees and Ludovico
Scarfiotti, respectively. (The first two were
achieved in the 250 TR1/61; the latter in
a rear-engined 250P). Ferrari swept the
podium in ’ 64, Parkes and Umberto
Maglioli leading the way in their 275P.
These successes must have helped
Chinetti’s job of selling Ferraris in America,
and he played his own part in keeping that
momentum going via NART. Blessed by Il
Commendatore and backed by well-heeled
racers Jan de Vroom and George Arents,
NART’s first big success came at the 1963
Daytona Continental (a three-hour race,
forerunner to the Daytona 24 Hours),
when Pedro Rodriguez steered a 250 GTO
to victory ahead of a similar car driven by
one Roger Penske. When the race was
extended to 2,000km the following year,
Ferrari celebrated the occasion with a
1-2-3 for its 250 GTOs.
Ford emerged as a new threat during
the mid-1960s with its GT40, so Ferrari
needed to respond. It did so with one of
the most famous victories in sports car
history. At the now-24-hour Daytona race,
Ferrari arrived with a pair of factory
330 P4s, while a pair of 412Ps entered by
NART and Ecurie Francorchamps provided
extra muscle against the six GT40 Mk.IIs
entered by Ford. The defeat of Ford on its
home turf was immortalized in a shot of
the two 330 P4s and the NART 412P
crossing the line in formation.
NART had remained busy through this
period, and the victory it’s best known for
came in 1965 at Le Mans. There, with a
Ferrari 250LM shared by Masten Gregory,
Jochen Rindt and (briefly) reserve driver
Ed Hugus, NART led a Ferrari 1-2-3. Private
entries from Pierre Dumay and Ecurie
Francorchamps completed the podium.
The sun was beginning to set on the
first of Ferrari’s golden eras in the U.S.,
but not before a final, extraordinary day
at Sebring in 1970. Andretti had streaked
away to an early lead in a 512S Spyder, only
to suffer gearbox problems with two hours
to go. Team manager Mauro Forghieri
made the snap decision to switch Andretti
into the No. 21 512S coupe at the expense
of the less-experienced Ignazio Giunti with
just 55 minutes left on the clock. At that
point the car was a lap down, but Andretti
put in what he’s come to regard as one of
“NART’s first big success
came in the 1963 Daytona
steering a GTO to victory”