1970 Targa Florio

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The 1970 Targa Florio was an endurance race that took place on May 3, 1970. It was held on a 44.6 mi (71.8 km) anti-clockwise circuit made up entirely of public roads on the mountainous Italian island of Sicily. It was the fifth round of the 1970 International Championship for Makes.[1]

Pre-race[edit]

The Targa Florio was in 1970 the oldest motor race in the world, even older than the Isle of Man TT and the Indianapolis 500. First run in 1906, it was run on narrow public mountain roads that went up and down, and twisted and turned around the Sicilian countryside. The race was run on a number of variants over the years- from 1932 to 1936 and 1951 to 1977 it was run on the 45 mile Piccolo (Italian for small) course- by far the longest circuit on the 1970 World Sportscar Championship calendar. It was one of, if not the last of the genuine road races still run in the world. The previous courses were 67 and 92 miles long; and there were 680 mile Island tour versions run in the early 1910s and the late 1940s. The Piccolo course went through 4 to 5 towns in the island of Sicily. The circuit was extremely demanding and very difficult to learn- over the 45 mile course, there were between 800 and 900 corners- 16 to 20 corners for every mile, and the circuit had about 2,000 feet of elevation change- twice that of the Nurburgring. There was also a number of straights joined together by a number of fast corners at the top of the circuit that measured out to about 6 miles- but the circuit was so twisty and had so many corners, average speeds never went past even 80 mph (128 km/h)- which in racing terms is very slow. The circuit was also very dangerous- although the roads and streets were closed off to the public for the race (but not for practice and test sessions- this caused all sorts of problems) the circuit was identical to every day civilian use, so it had no safety features of any kind and a crash often meant tumbling down a mountain slope or when in a town, crashing into a stone building, trees, and even groups of spectators. Although the Targa was a race where over its history very few people died in relation to other races like the Mille Miglia and the Carrera Panamericana, it was still a risky affair.

The Targa Florio, was unusual in that it was a time trial race against the clock as opposed to a race for physical position. Like most races that take place on extremely long courses such as the Isle of Man TT, the Mille Miglia and some other Italian public road races, each car was started one at a time on the road at timed intervals, much like how a rally-type race is started instead of the cars starting alongside each other, which is almost always the case in general circuit racing and on every other race on the sportscar championship calendar in 1970. So, for example, Car A would be started at 10 minutes before Car B. Once Car B starts and as more race distance would be covered, if Car B was then 9 minutes behind Car A on the road, then Car B would actually be 1 minute in front of Car A. So it was really a driving challenge to see what car could cover the 11-lap distance the quickest- this is almost identical to how a rally works; the Madonie Piccolo course used roads that would be suited for a rally. Most drivers only knew what their position was every 35–50 minutes, and that was when they reached the start-finish line in the town of Cerda; or in more organized team's cases, in another town or on some part of the isolated section of the track, where members of teams would wait for their team's car to come by and they would show pitboards showing their position and how much time their opponents are in front or behind them, which was sometimes out of date; communication in those days was very limited (compared to now).

For this event, Porsche introduced their new car, the light and nimble 908/03, which was better suited to the twisty and demanding circuit than the big and powerful 917 (although Vic Elford managed to post the fifth fastest overall time with a spare 917K on Friday practice). Porsche motorsports chief Ferdinand Piëch (a grandson of founder Ferdinand Porsche) and his team brought 4 908/03's to the island; 3 were given to John Wyer and his factory-supported team and 1 was run as an official works car. The 908/03, unlike the 917K, was of exclusive use for the factory teams.

Race distance was lengthened to 11 laps as opposed to 10 in the years previous.

Pole position went to the Wyer 908/03 of Jo Siffert/Brian Redman, followed by the official works 908/03 of Vic Elford/Hans Herrmann, the sole works Ferrari 512S of Sicilian Nino Vaccarella/Ignazio Giunti, a works Alfa Romeo T33/3 of Piers Courage/Andrea De Adamich and then another Wyer 908/03 of Leo Kinnunen/Pedro Rodriguez.

The 908/03's had a 3-liter Flat-8 engine; so they were entered in the 3-liter prototype class; as opposed to the big-engined Flat-12 917's and V12 Ferrari 512's which were competing in the 5-liter prototype class.

There were 12 different classes of racing- more than any other race on the calendar.

Race[edit]

The turnout for the race exceeded 400,000 people; the large amount of area the circuit covered helped to spread people out.

Rodriguez was ill on raceday, so his co-driver, ex-rally driver Kinnunen took over as #1 and, in the rally-type event, sprinted into the lead in front of the Siffert/Redman 908/03. Once the car was handed off to Rodriguez, he lost the lead to Vaccarella in the lone works Ferrari. While out on the course, Redman caught up to Vaccarella, and attempted to pass him. Vaccarella blocked Redman and in doing so, nearly ran him off the road. This happened multiple times, and knowing Vaccarella knew the course extremely well, Redman decided to stay behind the Sicilian, cleverly deciding to wait for the next pit stop, knowing that the Wyer team was better at pitstops than Ferrari. And sure enough, when he came in after his 3-lap stint on the 6th lap, he handed the car off to Siffert, and Siffert got past the Ferrari while it was still in the pits, and Siffert sprinted off and went into the lead on the 7th lap, going ahead of the Kinnunen/Rodriguez car while Rodriguez was driving; Kinnunen had retaken the lead from Giunti sometime earlier in the race.

Once Kinnunen was back in, he set the fastest ever lap of the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie circuit- 33 minutes, 36.0 seconds on the last lap; and he managed to finish second to the Siffert/Redman car. There was some consolation for the Italian fans- homeland hero Nino Vaccarella in the sole works Ferrari 512 finished 3rd, the works Alfa of Courage/De Adamich crashed on the 8th lap and Elford also crashed the official works 908/03 on the first lap.

This was the 10th time a Porsche had won the Targa outright, a Porsche's first victory was in 1956. A final victory would come in 1973, when a Porsche 911 won outright. Porsche, on a track generally suited to their general design philosophy, hold the record for most victories at the Targa, a race which dated back to 1906.

Official results[edit]

The Madonie Piccolo course in 1970
Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
1 P
3.0
12 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Switzerland Jo Siffert
United Kingdom Brian Redman
Porsche 908/03 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 11
2 P
3.0
40 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Finland Leo Kinnunen
Mexico Pedro Rodríguez
Porsche 908/03 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 11
3 S
5.0
4 Italy SpA Ferrari SEFAC Italy Nino Vaccarella
Italy Ignazio Giunti
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 11
4 P
3.0
18 Finland Racing Team AAW Netherlands Gijs Van Lennep
Finland Hans Laine
Porsche 908/02 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 11
5 P
3.0
36 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Sweden Björn Waldegård
United Kingdom Richard Attwood
Porsche 908/03 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 11
6 S
5.0
4 Switzerland Scuderia Filipinetti Switzerland Herbert Müller
United Kingdom Mike Parkes
Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 10
7 P
2.0
56 Italy Scuderia Madunina United Kingdom Jonathan Williams
Italy Giovanni Alberti
Alfa Romeo T33/2 Alfa Romeo 2.0L V8 10
8 S
2.0
94 Italy Scuderia Brescia Corse Italy "Pam"
Italy "Gibi"
Abarth 2000S Abarth 2.0L I4 10
9 GT
1.6
174 Italy HF Squadra Corse Italy Sandro Munari
Italy Claudio Maglioli
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.6L V4 10
10 S
2.0
98 Italy Etna Italy Giuseppe Virgilio
Italy Luigi Taramazzo
Abarth 2000S Abarth 2.0L I4 10
11 P
2.0
58 Italy Pegaso Italy Pietro Lo Piccolo
Italy Salvatore Calascibetta
Ferrari Dino 206S Spyder Ferrari 2.0L V6 10
12 P
2.0
60 Italy Antonio Nicodemi Italy Antonio Nicodemi
Italy Gianpiero Moretti
Porsche 907 Porsche 1.9L Flat-6 10
13 P
3.0
26 Germany Martini International France Gerard Larrousse
Austria Rudi Lins
Porsche 908/02 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 9
14 GT
2.0
140 Italy Liber Marchiolo Italy Liber Marchiolo
Italy Antonio de Castro
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 9
15 GT
2.0
138 United Kingdom David Weir United Kingdom Alain de Cadenet
United Kingdom Mike Ogier
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 9
16 P
1.0
262 Italy Nord-Oest Italy Pier Giorgio Pellegrin
Italy Renzo Ruspa
Fiat-Abarth 1000SP Abarth 1.0L I4 9
17 GT
2.0
120 Switzerland Andre Wicky Racing Team France Sylvain Garant
Switzerland Bernard Cheneviére
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 9
18 GT
1.6
190 Italy Jolly Club Italy Raffaele Restivo
Italy Alfonso Merendino
Lancia Fulvia HF Zagato Lancia 1.6L V4 9
19 P
1.0
260 Italy Scuderia Brescia Corse Italy Ugo Locatelli
Italy Paolo Gargano
AMS SP Ford 1.0L I4 9
20 GT
1.3
278 Italy Romano Ramoino Italy Giuseppe Gaicomini
Italy Romano Ramoino
Alpine A110 Renault 1.3L I4 9
21 GT
1.3
286 Italy Scuderia Brescia Corse Italy Giovanni Arcovito
Italy Angelo Rizzo
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.3L V4 9
22 GT
1.6
172 Italy Monzeglio Italy Gianpaolo Benedini
Italy Cesare Poretti
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 9
23 GT
1.6
178 Italy Giancarlo Galimberti Italy Giancarlo Galimberti
Italy Domenico Cedrati
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.6L V4 9
24 S
1.6
154 Italy Pasquale de Francisci Italy Pasquale de Francisci
Italy Settimino Balistreri
Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Alfa Romeo 1.6 I4 9
25 P
1.3
218 Italy Monzeglio Italy Maurizio Zanetti
Italy Giorgio Pianta
AMS Alfa Romeo 1.3L I4 8
26 P
1.3
214 Italy Aretusa Italy Matteo Scarlata
Italy Giuseppe Marotta
Lancia Fulvia TS Lancia 1.3L V4 8
27 S
1.6
152 Italy Nissena Italy Carmelo Guigno
Italy Salvatore Sutera
Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Alfa Romeo 1.6 I4 8
28 GT
+2.0
82 France Patrice Sanson France Patrice Sanson
France J. Claude Peramone
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6 8
29 GT
2.0
136 Switzerland Jean Selz
Switzerland Pierre Greub
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 8
30 S
1.6
162 Italy Nissena Italy Antonio Ferraro
Italy Giuseppe Valenza
Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Alfa Romeo 1.6 I4 8
31 GT
1.3
274 Italy Jolly Club Italy Franco Lisitano
Italy "Zerimar"
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.3L V4 8
32 GT
1.6
184 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy Giulio Pucci
Italy Vincenzo Mirto Randazzo
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6L V4 8
33 GT
2.0
142 Italy Fiorenzo Genta
Italy Piero Monticone
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 8
34 S
1.3
236 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy "Black & White"
Italy Guido Garufi
Abarth 1300 OT Abarth 1.3L I4 8
35 P
2.0
64 Italy Scuderia Pescara Italy Turillo Barbuscia
Italy Leandro Terra
Ferrari Dino 206S Ferrari 2.0L V6 8
36 GT
2.0
112 Italy Franco Berruto Italy Franco Berruto
Italy Michele Licheri
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 8
37 GT
1.3
292 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy Sergio Mantia
Italy Gaetano Lo Jacono
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.3L V4 8
38 S
2.0
96 Italy Etna Italy Alfio Nicolosi
Italy Angelo Bonaccorsi
Porsche 910 Porsche 1.9L Flat-6 8
39 P
3.0
44 United Kingdom John Chatham United Kingdom John Chatham
United Kingdom Alan Harvey
MGC BMC 3.0L I6 8
40 GT
1.3
282 Italy Jolly Club Italy Cristiano Rattazzi
Italy Pasquale Anastasio
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.3L V4 8
41 P
3.0
28 Italy Autodelta SpA United Kingdom Piers Courage
Italy Andrea de Adamich
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 7
42 S
2.0
90 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy Ferdinando Latteri
Italy Nino Todaro
Porsche 906 Porsche 1.9L Flat-6 7
43 GT
1.6
200 Italy HF Squadra Corse Italy Amilcare Ballestrieri
Italy Raffaele Pinto
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.6L V4 7
44 GT
+2.0
86 Switzerland Porsche Club Romand Switzerland Claude Haldi
Switzerland "Mirage"
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6 7
45 GT
1.6
62 United Kingdom Ed Negus United Kingdom Edward Negus
United Kingdom Peter Hanson
Chevron B16 Ford 1.6L I4 7
46 GT
1.6
200 Italy Sport Trid Italy Salvatore Cucinotta
Italy Domenico Patti
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.6L V4 7
47 GT
1.6
194 Italy Franco Sebastiani Italy Stefano Sebastiani
Italy Roberto Nardini
Lotus Europa Renault 1.6L I4 7
48 P
1.0
252 Italy Mario Spataro Italy Mario Spataro
Italy Claudio Bruschi
Osca S1000 Maserati 1.0L I4 7
49 GT
2.0
122 Italy Scuderia Brescia Corse Italy Giuseppe Schenetti
Italy Sergio Zerbini
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 7

Did Not Finish[edit]

Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
S
1.6
160 Italy Silvestre Semilia Italy Silvestre Semilia
Italy Giuseppe Crescenti
Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Alfa Romeo 1.6 I4 6
GT
1.6
186 Italy Luigi Rinaldi Italy Luigi Rinaldi
Italy Mario Radicella
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6 I4 6
P
3.0
14 Italy Autodelta SpA Netherlands Toine Hezemans
United States Masten Gregory
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 5
P
2.0
52 Italy Etna Italy "Peter von Serzawa"
Italy Santo Scigliano
Fiat 124 Spider Fiat 2.0L I4 5
GT
1.6
188 Italy Etna Italy Checco D'Angelo
Italy "Jimmy"
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 5
GT
1.3
288 Germany V10 Kleber Germany Ferdi Bökmann
Germany Hans E. Böhm
Simca 1300 Simca 1.3L I4 5
GT
2.0
128 Italy Ignazio Capuano
Italy Giancarlo Barba
Porsche 911S Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 4
GT
1.6
180 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy Paolo de Luca
Italy Giuseppe Vassallo
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 4
S
1.6
156 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy Salvatore Barraco
Italy "Amphicar"
Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 3
S
1.6
156 Italy Etna Italy Giuseppe D'Amico
Italy Girolamo Perniciaro
Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 3
GT
1.6
192 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy Giovanni Dell'Olio
Italy Vincenzo Virgilio
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 3
GT
1.6
198 Italy Salvatore Gagliano Italy Salvatore Gagliano
Italy Alfonso di Garbo
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 3
GT
1.6
204 Italy Gianluigi Verna Italy Francesco Cosentino
Italy Gianluigi Verna
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 3
P
1.0
254 Italy Romano Martini Italy Francesco Patané
Italy "Oras"
Fiat-Abarth 1000SP Abarth 1.0L I4 3
GT
1.6
264 Italy Romano Martini Italy Romano Martini
Italy Alessandro Federico
ATS 1000 SP Ford 1.0L I4 3
P
3.0
38 Italy Abarth-Osella Italy Arturo Merzario
Austria Johannes Ortner
Abarth 3000SP Abarth 3.0L V8 2
P
1.0
256 Italy Scuderia Brescia Corse Italy Luigi Moreschi
Italy "Patrizia"
AMS SP Ford 1.0L I4 2
P
1.0
266 Italy "Gero" Italy "Gero"
Italy "Roger"
De Sanctis Ford 1.0L I4 2
GT
1.6
276 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy Antonio Catalano
Italy Marco de Bartoli
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.6L V4 2
GT
2.0
124 Italy Giampaolo Baruffi Italy Giancarlo Sala
Italy Giampaolo Baruffi
Porsche 911 Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 1
GT
1.6
196 Italy Giovanni Rizzo Italy Giovanni Rizzo
Italy Stefano Alongi
Alfa Romeo GTA Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 1
S
1.3
232 Italy Aldo Bersano Italy Aldo Bersano
Belgium William Scheeren
Abarth 1300S Abarth 1.3L I4 1
GT
1.3
272 Italy Jolly Club Italy Antonio Trenti
Italy Alberto Fasce
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.6L V4 1
P
3.0
20 Germany Porsche System United Kingdom Vic Elford
Germany Hans Herrmann
Porsche 908/03 Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 0
P
3.0
32 Italy Autodelta SpA Italy Umberto Maglioli
Italy Nanni Galli
Alfa Romeo T33/3 Alfa Romeo 3.0L V8 0
GT
1.6
204 Italy Antonio Guagliardo Italy Antonio La Luce
Italy Antonio Guagliardo
Abarth 2000S Alfa Romeo 1.6L I4 0
P
1.3
220 United Kingdom Jack Wheeler United Kingdom Jack Wheeler
United Kingdom Martin Davidson
Jerboa SP BMC 1.3L I4 0
S
1.3
234 Italy Settecolli Italy Enzo Buzzetti
Italy Gianni Marini
Abarth 1300S Abarth 1.6L I4 0
GT
1.3
280 Italy Scuderia Pegaso Italy Giuseppe Chiaramonte
Italy Giuseppe Spatafora
Lancia Fulvia HF Lancia 1.6L V4 0

Statistics[edit]

  • Pole position: #12 John Wyer Automotive Engineering Porsche 908/03 (Jo Siffert/Brian Redman) - 34:10.0 (78.321 mph/126.087 km/h)
  • Fastest lap: #40 John Wyer Automotive Engineering Porsche 908/03 (Leo Kinnunen)- 33:36.0 (79.890 mph/128.571 km/h)
  • Distance covered by cars on leading lap: 789.8 km
  • Time taken for winning car to cover distance: 6 hours, 35 minutes and 30 seconds
  • Average Speed: 120.152 km/h (74.659 mph)
  • Weather conditions: Sunny, dry, clear skies

References[edit]

  1. ^ "World Championship 1970". WSPR Racing. classiccars.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 


World Sportscar Championship
Previous race:
1000km of Monza
1970 season Next race:
1000km of Spa