Featured: The Bernina Gran Turismo Is The Swiss Alp Hillclimb You’ve Never Heard Of

The Bernina Gran Turismo Is The Swiss Alp Hillclimb You’ve Never Heard Of

By Michael Banovsky
October 6, 2016

Photography by Rosario Liberti

In the late 1920s, the Engadine alpine valley region of Switzerland was treated to a number of annual hillclimb events, with drivers like Hans Stuck and Louis Chiron taking overall triumphs. Recently, our photographer Rosario Liberti was on hand to capture this reborn event that keeps gaining steam each year—this is the Bernina Gran Turismo, and it’s an enviable blend of both new and old.

Switzerland itself is an idyllic place, but as you can see, this particular stretch of tarmac from the La Rösa Hotel (a hub for race events) to the finish at Albergo Ospizio Bernina roughly 3.4 miles (5.6 km) away is breathtaking. Generally speaking, with the elevation changes and twists, it takes between four and six minutes to complete the journey at racing speeds.

Unlike its past that ended in the ’30s, all types of cars are now eligible for entry; Formula cars share space with Pre-War machines, and a number of other interesting vehicles show up to compete—as if the original race had never been cancelled. This means there’s something for everyone—if you’re not into Gulf Oil-sponsored Porsche 908s, perhaps you’d be happy to watch Lancia Fulvias, Ford GT40s, or Simca-Abarths run the course.

We’ll soon have more from this event, but what would be your choice of car to run the event in next year?

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Harv Falkenstine
Harv Falkenstine
7 years ago

I want to echo the comments on the excellent pictures. Having grown up in Europe and attending the 1000k at the Nurburgring, they capture the cold and wet feelings. But, the engines sounded so great in that environment, the echos off the forest, the cars were much “happier” in that thin air. Great shots – I am sure many are “googling” the photographer as we type…

Michael Ackermann
Michael Ackermann
7 years ago

The pictures are outstanding! To me, they capture the feeling of the setting and show the beauty of the cars, without being stylish. Thank you, for the inspiration!

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
7 years ago

Exceptional photography.

Car of choice to run? Don’t matter to me. I’d give any one of them a go.

Thanks for sharing. Looks like tons of fun.