American Tracks Have Been Very Good to Ferrari
Ferrari has been racing in the United States since the early 1950s. Among their first races was the 1952 Indianapolis 500, then part of the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship, in which Mr. Alberto Ascari drove the Ferrari Tipo 500 until retiring only forty laps in. And although Ferrari has usually figured prominently in Formula racing, throughout the 1950s and ‘60s they were also mainstays of sports car and endurance racing in the United States.
While Ferrari cars were prominent in many races, they were usually raced and set-up by Mr. Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team or other well-heeled privateers (Mr. John von Neumann, for one), rather than Scuderia Ferrari proper. As a result, some race teams stuck to more local tracks, like Riverside, Pomona, and Palm Springs while those with larger budgets (and more successful Ferraris) along with the factory teams could afford traveling further abroad to major event tracks like Daytona (where Ferrari went first, second, and third in 1967 with the legendary 330 P4), Laguna Seca (where Mr. Pete Lovely won the first race ever driving a Ferrari), Sebring (where the Scuderia holds the record for most team wins in the 12Hour race), and Watkins Glen (where they held the record for fastest lap on the first permanent course).
And it’s important to remember that even though the age of privateers is long gone, racing is not. And those new race teams have brought Ferraris with them to new tracks like Road Atlanta (built in 1970) and its earthen red clay.
Photography courtesy of Ferrari North America