Luigi Villoresi

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Luigi Villoresi
Luigi Villoresi.png
Born (1909-05-16)16 May 1909
Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Died 24 August 1997(1997-08-24) (aged 88)
Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Italy Italian
Active years 19501956
Teams Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, Scuderia Centro Sud
Races 34 (31 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 8
Career points 46 (49)[1]
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 1
First race 1950 Monaco Grand Prix
Last race 1956 Italian Grand Prix

Luigi Villoresi (16 May 1909 – 24 August 1997) was an Italian Grand Prix motor racing driver who continued racing on the Formula One circuit at the time of its inception.

Biography[edit]

Born in Milan, Lombardy, and nicknamed "Gigi", he was the older brother of race car driver Emilio Villoresi who co-piloted with him in several races at the beginning of their careers. From a prosperous family, Villoresi could afford to buy a car and began competing in local rallies at the age of twenty-two with a Lancia Lambda and a few years later acquired a Fiat Balilla with which he and his brother Emilio competed in the Mille Miglia. In 1935, he raced in the Coppa Ciano, finishing third and went on to capture the Italian driving championship in the 1100 cc sports car class. The following year he and his brother purchased a Maserati which they drove individually in different races. Emilio was so successful that he was signed to drive an Alfa Romeo for Scuderia Ferrari in the 1937 season. Unfortunately, Emilio died while testing an Alfa Romeo factory racer at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

In 1938, Luigi Villoresi became part of the Maserati team, driving the 8CTF model that Maserati had designed to compete with the dominant German Silver Arrows. In 1939 he won the South African Grand Prix, introduced the Maserati 4CL and took the car to victory,[2] but the onset of World War II interrupted his racing career. At war's end, he returned to race for Maserati until 1949 when he signed again with Ferrari debuting in Formula One on 21 May 1950.

1949[edit]

Villoresi finished second in the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix-President Juan Peron Grand Prix. Alberto Ascari was the winner with a time of 1 hour, 30 minutes, 23.9 seconds, for an average speed of 70.6 miles per hour (113.6 km/h).[3] Villoresi won the first Grand Prix de Bruxelles, beating Alexander Orley of the United States. The winning time was 85 mph (137 km/h) over 188-mile (303 km) distance. Orley was six seconds behind.[4] Louis Rosier was victorious in a blue Talbot, in a 500-kilometre (311 mi) Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, in June 1949. He took the lead following 23 laps and came across the finish line in front of Villoresi.[5] Villoresi was third in a 60-mile (97 km) international race at Silverstone in September 1949. Italian drivers made a clean sweep of the first three positions with Ascari first and Giuseppe Farina second as 100,000 fans looked on. English driver St. John Horsfall died when his car crashed at a turn.[6]

1950–1951[edit]

Villoresi skidded on oil, penetrated a barrier, and killed three spectators at the Grand Prix des Nations race in Geneva (Switzerland). Nino Farina impacted Villoresi's car at high speed but was uninjured. Villoresi broke his left leg and suffered head injuries which were treated at a hospital. The Grand Prix of 272 kilometres was won by Juan Manuel Fangio.[7] The 1951 British Grand Prix was taken by José Froilán González of Argentina. Villoresi finished third, two laps behind the winner, with an average speed of 95.39 miles per hour (153.52 km/h). Villoresi completed 88 laps, 2 behind Gonzalez.[8]

1952[edit]

In July 1952 Villoresi won the French Grand Prix at Les Sables d'Olonne, driving a Ferrari. He captured the three hour, 208-mile (335 km) race, with an average speed of 69.3 miles per hour (111.5 km/h).[9] Ferrari achieved a 1,2,3 sweep at the Grand Prix d'France in La Baule, in August 1952. Alberto Ascari was first, followed by Villoresi and Rosier. Ascari had already clinched the Formula One World Championship before this event.[10] Villoresi drove a Ferrari to win the 1952 Grand Prix of Modena in 1:5:21 over a distance of 100 laps, 230.6-kilometre (143 mi). His average speed was 124.236 km/h (77.197 mph).[11]

1953–1954[edit]

Villoresi displayed his agility as a driver in the 1953 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Giuseppe Farina made contact with the Maserati driven by Onofre Marimón as he was approaching the finish line. Villoresi made a brilliant manoeuvre while racing at 100 mph (160 km/h) The crowd came to its feet to witness his quick thinking in pulling his car off the track at great speed. Villoresi then finished third after winner Fangio and Farina, who was two seconds behind at the end. The race marked the first time a Ferrari did not win an event in races counting toward the Formula One World Championship. Fangio drove a Maserati to an average speed of 110 mph (180 km/h) over the 313-mile (504 km) grand prix.[12]

Already 41 years old, Villoresi served as an elder statesman for the Formula One team, notably as Alberto Ascari's mentor who became his closest friend. In 1954, he and Ascari joined the new Lancia racing team but Ascari's death in the spring of the following year profoundly affected Villoresi and his career went into steep decline.

Villoresi was critically injured while testing a Lancia Aurelia near Rimini, Italy in April 1954. He was riding with his mechanic when he skidded while attempting to avoid a Fiat driving in the opposite direction. Both Villoresi and his mechanic were pinned beneath the Lancia. A group of farmers came to their aid, using oxen to lift the car. Both men remained conscious. Villoresi sustained a number of deep head wounds, facial lacerations, and bruises all over his body. He was listed in serious, but not critical condition.[13]

1955–1958[edit]

Villoresi was third after Ascari and Luigi Musso in the May 1955 Naples Grand Prix, a 153.5 miles (247.0 km) event. Villoresi was in a Lancia.[14]

He wrecked his car in the 1956 Grand Prix of Rome, a 2-Litre sports car event. The race was won by Jean Behra in a Maserati.[15]

Villoresi was one of nine drivers, from a starting field of 303, in a January 1958 Monte Carlo auto rally, who completed the first leg of the rigorous touring car event, without incurring a penalty. The 1,900-mile (3,060 km) endurance event featured cars from eight different European starting locales. Of the starters, 72 entrants crossed the finish line but 13 were disqualified because of lateness. The 59 who remained from the opening round faced a 655-mile (1,054 km), 22 hour portion, extending from Monte Carlo through the maritime Alps. Villoresi drove a Lancia.[16]

Villoresi retired from Grand Prix racing in 1957 after 31 Formula One championship starts without a victory but made it to the podium eight times while scoring a total of 49 championship points. Villoresi continued rally racing and won the Acropolis Rally in Greece in 1958 before retiring to a home in Modena.

Villoresi died in 1997 at the age of eighty-eight.

Major victories[edit]

Complete Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points[1]
1950 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 GBR
MON
Ret
500
SUI
Ret
BEL
6
FRA
DNS
ITA
NC 0
1951 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 SUI
Ret
500
BEL
3
FRA
3
GBR
3
GER
4
ITA
4
ESP
Ret
5th 15 (18)
1952 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 SUI
500
BEL
FRA
GBR
GER
NED
3
ITA
3
8th 8
1953 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 ARG
2
500
NED
Ret
BEL
2
FRA
6
GBR
Ret
GER
8 *
SUI
6
ITA
3
5th 17
1954 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati
Straight-6
ARG
500
BEL
FRA
5
GBR
Ret *
GER
DNS
SUI
ITA
Ret
20th 2
Scuderia Lancia Lancia D50 Lancia V8 ESP
Ret
1955 Scuderia Lancia Lancia D50 Lancia V8 ARG
Ret
MON
5
500
BEL
DNA
NED
GBR
ITA
DNS
20th 2
1956 Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati
250F
Maserati
Straight-6
ARG
MON
500
BEL
5
22nd 2
Luigi Piotti FRA
Ret
GBR
6
GER
Ret
Officini Alfieri Maserati ITA
Ret †
* Indicates shared drive with Alberto Ascari
† Indicates shared drive with Joakim Bonnier

Non-Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
1950 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 PAU
2
RIC SRM
2
PAR EMP BAR
Ret
JER ALB
Ret
NED
2
NAT
Ret
NOT ULS STT INT GOO PEN
DNA
Ferrari 375 PES
DNA
1951 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 SYR
1
PAU
1
RIC SRM
Ret
BOR INT
DNA
PAR ULS SCO NED
DNA
ALB PES
Ret
BAR
Ret
GOO
1952 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 RIO SYR
Ret
PAU
Ret
IBS MAR
Ret
AST INT
DNA
ELÄ NAP EIF PAR
DSQ†
ALB FRO ULS MNZ
Ret
LAC ESS MAR
3*
SAB
1
CAE COM
ALT
NAT BAU
2
MOD
1
CAD SKA MAD AVU JOE NEW RIO
Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 VAL
1
RIC LAV DAI
1
1953 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 SYR
Ret
PAU LAV AST BOR
2
INT ELÄ NAP
4
ULS WIN FRO COR EIF ALB PRI GRE ESS MID ROU STR CRY AVU USF LAC DRE BRI CHE SAB NEW CAD SAC RED SKA LON MOD MAD BER JOE CUR
1955 Scuderia Lancia Lancia D50 Lancia V8 NZL BUE VAL
3
PAU
4
GLO BOR INT NAP
3
ALB CUR COR LON DAR RED DAT OUT AVO SYR
3
1956 Luigi Villoresi Maserati
250F
Maserati
Straight-6
NZL BUE GLO SYR
4
BAR INT NAP
Ret
AIN VAN CAE SUS BRS AUS
* Indicates shared drive with Alberto Ascari
† Indicates shared drive with Giuseppe Farina

Indy 500 results[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Up until 1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of points scoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  2. ^ https://www.academia.edu/7961209/Villoresi_old_charm
  3. ^ Peron Race To Italian Driver, New York Times, January 31, 1949, p. 25.
  4. ^ Villoresi Beats Orley In Brussels Auto Race, New York Times, May 22, 1949, p. S10.
  5. ^ Rosier Captures Auto Race, New York Times, June 20, 1949, p. 24.
  6. ^ Italians Win Auto Race; British Pilot Is Killed, New York Times, August 21, 1949, p. S3.
  7. ^ 3 Auto Race Fans Killed, New York Times, July 31, 1950, p. 23.
  8. ^ Gonzales Home First, New York Times, July 15, 1951, p. S3.
  9. ^ Italian Cops Grand Prix, Los Angeles Times, July 14, 1952, p. C14.
  10. ^ Ascari Triumphs in Final Grand Prix, Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1952, p. C2.
  11. ^ Villoresi Captures Grand Prix of Modena, Los Angeles Times, September 15, 1952, p. C4.
  12. ^ Fangio Captures Italian Auto Race, New York Times, September 14, 1953, p. 33.
  13. ^ Racing Driver Injured, New York Times, April 21, 1954, p. 37.
  14. ^ Naples Race To Ascari, May 9, 1955, p. 30.
  15. ^ Frenchman Wins Rome Grand Prix, Los Angeles Times, October 22, 1956, p. C5.
  16. ^ Nine Drivers Avoid Penalties In Rally, New York Times, January 25, 1958, p. 23.