Sunday, November 23, 2014

El Maestro

"We had everything here, everything here inside.
All of our kit was here. Look – inside this women’s hat box was everything:  Goggles, leather gloves, t-shirt, and helmet – all here. You see?”
Juan Manuel Fangio

In the first decade of Formula One racing, before races were filmed or televised, Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio won five World Driver's Championships - a record that stood for 46 years.  In the 1950s drivers wore minimal protective equipment, racing with no harness and often on circuits with no safety features.  In the clip below (from a 1980s documentary film), Fangio is in his sixties driving a Lancia-Ferrari D50 around a "temporarily closed" Monaco street circuit.  The car's fuel tanks were housed in the side fenders (between the front and rear wheels), just in case sliding sideways around a corner wasn't spicy enough in a vintage racing car wearing just a t-shirt and open face helmet.

"When a car goes well, and the engine note is harmonious, the noise makes a form of music; the driver is like a conductor…”

And what a conductor.  I guess that's why he was nicknamed "El Maestro".

Top image taken at the 2014 Goodwood Revival event.

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