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A Family Celebration: The Chinettis at 24 Hours of Spa

Luigi Chinetti, in the dark leather jacket and sitting directly behind the flowers, seems well tired after winning the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on July 10, 1949. On his right is his co-driver Jean Lucas while his wife Marion is to his left and his young son Luigi (later on known as “Coco”) sits admiringly in front of his mother. Chinetti and Lucas drove a Ferrari 166MM “barchetta.” 1949 was quite an endurance racing year for Ferrari and for Chinetti who had won the Le Mans 24 Hours only two weeks before with a different Ferrari 166MM.

For Spa Chinetti had slightly detuned his Ferrari, perhaps most because of expected low grade fuel. As a very experienced long distance race driver, Chinetti let others set the pace in the early hours. However, even in the immediate postwar years Spa was primarily a narrow country road and far less a real racing circuit than Le Mans, even though it had seen Grand Prix races before the War.

Therefore, it was not unusual that a farmer could be found crossing the circuit during the race. This in fact occurred not long before the finish as Chinetti approached. In avoiding the rather unexpected pedestrian, Chinetti skidded off the road and half overturned in the ditch with a fencepost jammed transversely under the car’s hood. Chinetti was able to get the car back on its wheels and drive onto the road and slowly completed the last two laps with the post protruding from under the Ferrari’s hood.

Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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