If you could go back in time to see just one great motor racing event, which would it be? For me, there’d be no hesitation. It would be Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1957 Grand Prix win at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a Maserati 250F.
It was 50 years ago this month, on 4th August 1957, that ‘The Maestro’ won this epic victory on his way to winning that year’s F1 World Championship – his fifth world title, secured at the age of 46. It remains one of the greatest races of all time, a race in which Fangio – having lost time during a pit stop when a wheel nut ended up under his car – made up more than 40 seconds in seven laps on Hawthorn’s and Collins’ Ferraris.
Fangio lowered the track record, lap after lap, as he gradually caught and overtook the two leaders. At the end of the race, the Argentinean struggled to take in what he had achieved: “I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don't think I will ever be able to do it again.” Nor, I think, would he have wanted to try.
Maserati is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Fangio’s 1957 F1 world title with a series of special events. This includes the presentation of a trophy to the highest-placed 250F competing in the OldTimer Grand Prix classic to be held at the Nürburgring on 12th August; and an interactive Maserati website recalling the unforgettable season of 1957. See www.maseraticelebratesfangio.com.
The actual 250F that Fangio drove at the Nürburgring will be on show on the Maserati stand at the upcoming Frankfurt Motorshow. It will appear alongside models from the current range, including the new GranTurismo and the Quattroporte.
Another example of the Giulio Alfieri-designed single-seater will be on display together with classic Trident cars at the ‘Maserati 1957-2007: 50 anni dal mondiale di F1’ (50 years of F1) exhibition at the Bonfanti-VIMAR Automobile Museum. The show began on 5th May and runs until 21st October 2007.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
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