14 April 2023
Probably the most important racing driver of all time.
Tazio Nuvolari: The racing genius who let his driving do the talking.
A man of 5’2” diminutive stature, born. Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari was born in Castel d’Ario, near Mantua.
Ferdinand Porsche once said, ‘He was the best racing driver in the world. The greatest of the past, the present and the future.’
He raced in the notoriously dangerous Mille Miglia in 1930, the 1933 Le Mans 24-hour race, where he broke the lap record nine times.
He entered the Vanderbilt Cup and led the race for every lap except one, and that was only because of a pit stop. In front of 50,000 spectators, he won by a full three laps, 12 minutes ahead of his nearest challenger.
In the 1930 Mille Miglia, whilst racing his arch-rival, Achille Varzi, during the night, Tazio switched off his headlights of his Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Spider Zagato and travelled at speeds of over 93mph to the complete surprise of Varzi.
In the 1947 Mille Miglia, driving a car that was slowly disintegrating when the race passed through Florence less than 200 miles from the finish, the 56-year-old Nuvolari was a full half hour ahead of the rest. He finally admitted defeat only when the brakes began to fail.
The Flying Mantuan was afraid of nothing.
He died in 1953 of a stroke at age 60.
His coffin was placed on a car chassis and pushed through the streets by Luigi Villoresi, Alberto Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio.
On his tomb, the inscription. ‘You will race even faster along the roads of heaven.’
When driving for the military in the war, this is the Man who was told ‘to forget driving because he ‘wasn’t cut out for it’.