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A Classic Racing Image: Luigi Villoresi & Ferrari

This is one of the great classic Klemantaski photographs: Luigi Villoresi driving a Ferrari 375/F1 at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on September 16, 1951. The Italian Grand Prix, sometimes the final race of the season, was often the deciding event for 1950s F1 racing. In 1951 this race was a battle of titans with five entries from Ferrari and four from Alfa Romeo. Ferrari had four of their now well developed 375/F1 normally-aspirated 4.5 liter cars while Alfa Romeo had four of their dual-stage supercharged 1.5 liter tipo 159s.

The Alfettas were more powerful and faster with Juan Manuel Fangio on pole, followed by Giuseppe Farina, with the Ferraris of Alberto Ascari and Froilan González completing the four-car front row of the grid. However, the Ferraris gave far superior fuel consumption and that was to prove decisive. At the finish Ascari won ahead of Gonzalez with Farina's Alfa Romeo third ahead of Villoresi's Ferrari which was followed by Piero Taruffi's similar car.

This image was probably taken from the outside of the Porfido corner at the end of the back straight. This two-stage corner was subsequently reprofiled as a single-apex corner to become today's Parabolica. The photograph is very typical of Klemantaski who was forced to use wide apertures and relatively slow shutter speeds with the slow films then available. The result is a car and driver in perfect focus in front of a blurred background which gives a true impression of the speed involved.

Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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