Thursday, February 21, 2013

Return Of The Sharknose (& The 1961 Belgian GP)

Three videos here on two of my favorite subjects: old Ferraris and Spa-Francorchamps.  Each runs 10-12 minutes:

1) Re-creation build of the Ferrari Dino 156 used by Olivier Gendebien at the 1961 Belgian G.P.
2) The re-created car being warmed up in the garages at Spa in 2012, and a bit of on-track footage.
3) Film of the 1961 Belgian Grand Prix.

Enzo Ferrari famously said that he wanted his cars to look the part, not just act the part.  The Dino 156 was surely one of the most badass-looking 1.5 liter race cars ever made.  At Spa in '61, Gendebien used the old 65-degree V-6, not the new (more powerful) 120-degree engine used by Phil Hill, Wolfgang Von Trips, and Richie Ginther.  Enzo had the sharknoses destroyed after the 1962 season.

Finding 1.5 heads (which would have been useless without modern laser welding technology to repair them) and, separately, a usable 1.5 short-block is astounding.  This is an amazing build: not a "tribute," but as close to the Real Deal as documentation and craftsmanship can make it.  A true re-creation.

As for the Belgian GP of '61: the re-creation video says the Dino 156's 9500 r.p.m. rev limit was good for 149 m.p.h.  The race video says Richie Ginther set the fastest lap at 131 m.p.h. and Hill's winning speed was 128 m.p.h.  Close enough to flat-out all the way around, except for the La Source hairpin.

Thanks to The Chicane Blog for bringing the build video to my attention.

Olivier Gendebien in his Ferrari Dino 156 at Spa in 1961.  He came 4th behind the Ferrari team cars.  Gendebien was a
factory driver for Ferrari in sports cars but was never given a regular Grand Prix ride.  Ferrari "lent" him the old version
of the '61 GP car for his home Grand Prix, and did him the favor of painting it in Belgian national colors.

The Gendebien Ferrari Dino 156 re-creation at the Goodwood Revival in 2009.

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