Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Chasing Ferraris at a wet Monza

You know there are a few cars I'd love to track down one day, and the infamous Mini Marcos built by Jean-Claude Hrubon and raced at Le Mans in 1966 is one of them. The car is still missing, but maybe one day... Anyway: we know it was shaken down at Montlhery on 2 April 1966 and tested at Le Mans on 4 April, but before making it to the 24-hour race in France, it went to Italy, too. On 23 May of 1966 it was entered in the Monza 1000 kilometres race with Jean-Louis Marnat and Jean-Pierre Jabouille as drivers. In fact the tiny little team was invited to go there by ex-Scuderia Ferrari man Romolo Tavoni, who'd seen the little blue racer at Montlhery. Prior to the race the Mini Marcos received an extra big home made radiator to cope with the hot Italian weather, but when race day came there was no sun to be seen. In fact a torrential rain started just before the flag fell, making it really hard to see where to go. The car set a lap time of 4:08.700 and had to start from the 39th place on the grid. Certainly not the best spot and with many big Ferraris, Cobras, Porsches, GT40s and Corvettes in front spraying water all over the tiny Mini Marcos it must have been a pretty scary drive. Marnat and Jabouille never the less coped well, despite leaving the track a few times. But unfortunately they didn't class and went home with empty hands. There aren't too many pictures around of the Mini Marcos in this race, but Richard Heseltine found one recently. And what a gorgeous shot it is. Thanks Richard!

Chasing Ferraris at a wet Monza track. Unfortunately the Mini Marcos doesn't finish 
Picture courtesy Richard Heseltine archive

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what layout was used... picture seems to be taken from end of finish straight, but the entrance to banking does not make sense, unless they have already driven the road circuit until Curva Ascari (Variante Ascari is now placed on same spot.) and then taking "shortcut" by racing anti-clock wise Monza Junior Layout and then reaching the banking in main straight and taking banking clockwise returing back to finish line.

    Or then they used the 10km layout (running mainstraight twice) but there has been extra chicane built just before the banking. I have never seen such modification though.