Passion

The famous Le Mans 24 Hours race start. As the flag falls, the drivers sprint to their cars, watched on by spectators and photographers<em>Photo: Getty Images</em>

Scuderia Ferrari's Sportscar success

The Scuderia was very successful in the 1961 World Sportscar Championship, which brought great satisfaction to the team from Maranello

Heading into the 1961 World Sportscar Championship, the Scuderia Ferrari was the team to beat. The Ferrari cars were the most eagerly-awaited when the race season began in late March with the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The 250 Testa Rossa cars excelled on this challenging US track, which was so gruelling it was said any car that manages to finish the 12-hour race is ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Olivier Gendebien, in his Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, at the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans  <em>Photo: Getty Images</em>
Olivier Gendebien, in his Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, at the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans Photo: Getty Images

Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien were the drivers who came in fastest, ahead of teammates Wolfgang von Trips, Willy Mairesse, Giancarlo Baghetti and Richie Ginther. Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez took third with the North American Racing Team's 250 Testa Rossa.

Von Trips and Gendebien prevailed at the Targa Florio race in an official Dino 246 SP, beating their Porsche and Maserati competitors. However, the Maserati driven by the Camoradi International Team triumphed in the third race of the season.

The winning Ferrari Dino 246 SP of Olivier Gendebien and Wolfgang von Trips in the 1961 Targa Florio  <em>Photo: Getty Images</em>
The winning Ferrari Dino 246 SP of Olivier Gendebien and Wolfgang von Trips in the 1961 Targa Florio Photo: Getty Images

Then, the Ferraris pulled a hat-trick in the fourth and most prestigious race of the season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Hill and Gendebien took top podium as everyone expected after the race in Sebring. This meant Ferrari and the Scuderia were one step away from the World Championship title.

The title was in the bag with the success of Lorenzo Bandini and Giorgio Scarlatti, who competed in the Pescara race for the Scuderia Centro Sud. This, however, was just a formality.

Ferrari