Enzo's Ferraris

The Early Years

Enzo Ferrari's racing career began around 1919, primarily driving for the Italian manufacturer, Alfa Romeo. In 1920 he finished second at the Targio Florio road race in Sicily, and through 1931 he had competed in at least 21 events.

However, Ferrari's success would be as a builder and race team owner. In 1929, he left Alfa Romeo and formed Scuderia Ferrari, with a black prancing horse inside a yellow shield as the team emblem. Scuderia Ferrari gained its first victory in 1935, when Tazio Nuvolari won the German Grand Prix driving a Ferrari-owned Alfa Romeo P3.

[Almost all photos in this section are from Fifty Years of Ferrari
by Alan Henry. Haynes Publishing. Somerset, UK: 1997]

1935 Alfa Romeo P3
Nuvolari at the wheel of Scuderia Ferrari's
Alfa Romeo P3

The name Ferrari would go on to become legendary in the world of Grand Prix racing, winning more than 110 Formula One World Championship races through 1997. However, this history is about Ferrari's sports car racing efforts.

By 1940, Ferrari had manufacturer two 8-cylinder sports cars and they competed in the Mille Miglia street race that year. Ferrari's first sports car victory came at a race in Rome, which was won by a Ferrari 125 cycle-fendered racer. The following year, Clemente Biondetti drove a Ferrari 166 Berlinetta (Ferrari's first true sports car) to victory at the Mille Miglia.

1948 Ferrari 166
Biondetti wins the Mille Miglia in a
Ferrari 166 Berlinetta

The very next year, Ferrari won its first Le Mans 24-hour race, with Luigi Chinetti and Lord Selsdon driving an open cockpit Ferrari 166MM to victory.

1949 Ferrari 166MM
Chinetti in the Le Mans winning Ferrari 166MM

The 1950s saw a fierce rivaly develop, particularly at the premiere race at Le Mans, between Ferrari and the British Jaguar racing team. Jaguar reigned supreme until 1954, when Maurice Trintignant and Froilan Gonzalez drove a Ferrari 375 to victory over the D-type Jaguar.

1954 Ferrari 375
This Ferrari 375 beat the D-type Jaguars at Le Mans

By 1956, Ferrari was building streamined GT cars, and one of the more successful was the Ferrari 250GT. "Fon" de Portago drove one to victory in the 1956 Tour de France. During the decade of the 1950s, Ferrari won 19 World Sports Car Championship races, winning the Championship itself in 1953, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959.

1956 Ferrari 250GT
de Portago drove this Ferrari 250GT to victory at
the Tour de France

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Last Updated: January 1, 2003