Ferrari at Indianapolis
Mutual love unanswered
- Henri Greuter
- December 5, 2012
- March-Porsche 90P - The last oddball at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, by Henri Greuter
- March-Alfa Romeo 90CA - Fiasco Italo-Brittanico, by Henri Greuter
- The Race of Two Worlds - The 1958 "Monzanapolis" bash, by Darren Galpin
1952 Indy 500
It is stating the obvious. Name a circuit in the world that held races for sportscars, Grand Prix cars or GTs on more than a single occasion and most likely a Ferrari has won there at least once.
This means that there are very few categories and venues of worldwide importance for which Ferrari was eligible that have remained unwon by the marque. For instance, NASCAR rules will secure that Ferrari will never win a Daytona 500. What about the real Big One? The Indianapolis 500 is the one event in which Ferrari had the opportunity to participate, but failed to convert the opportunity into victory. Granted: they never tried that often, even when rules enabled them to take part. A few attempts were made but less is known about the secret projects, the plans that never materialized.
These, combined with the projects that did take place make an interesting story, all the more when we take a closer look at the situation at Indianapolis to see how a Ferrari project could have blended in, and take a deeper view into the situation at Maranello to see what kind of hardware they could have started with and what else was going on at the same time. It's that story that we'd like to tell here.
- 1951: Ferrari and Indianapolis
- 1952: Ferrari at Indianapolis
- 1956: A 'hybrid' against one of Indy's most persistent jinxes
- 1958: At home against Indycars
- 1961-1968: Of phantoms and enfants terribles
- 1971-1973: 'Meet my uncle Franco'
- Intermezzo: Ferrari and turbocharging
- 1986: Projects 034 and 637, mere blackmail tools?
- 2000-2007: It's Indy, Gino, but not as we know it
- Appendix: The cars
I want to express my sincere thanks to my friend, Hein de Groot who generously allowed me to use his Ferrari archives to tell this story.
Thanks to Walter Goodwin and Aaron Lewis for the correspondence that enabled me to get a better view on some often told facts about early-seventies engines. Also many thanks to Aaron Lewis for providing pictures of his fearsome 1973 Eagle-Offy.
Thank you to the men from First Turn Productions LLC for providing the pictures of the Indy Ferraris and a few others that I felt were needed for this series. Also many thanks to Mike George, Rich Harman and Ralph Colmar for supplying additional pictures. Pictures listed as 'photo HG' are from my own collection.
- Alan Henry, Ferrari: The Grand Prix Cars, Hazleton Publishing Richmond, Surrey (England), ISBN 0 905138 30 9 (1984)
- Anthony (Andy) Granatelli, They Call Me Mister 500, Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, IL (USA) (1969)
- Antoine Prunet, Ferrari Sports Racing and Prototype Competition Cars, Haynes Publishing Group, Sparkville Yeovil Sommerset (England), ISBN 0 85429 338 0 (1983)
- Autocourse annuals, 2000 to 2007, Hazleton Publishing Richmond, Surrey (England)
- Bob Gates, Vukovich, Witness Productions, Marshall, IN (USA) ISBN 1-891390-16-3 (2007)
- Daryl E. Murphy, Carrera Panamericana, Motorbooks International, Osceola, WI (USA) ISBN 0-87938-734-3 (1993)
- Floyd Clymer, Indianapolis 1952 Yearbook, Floyd Clymer Publishing, Los Angeles, USA (1952)
- Floyd Clymer, Indianapolis 1954 Yearbook, Floyd Clymer Publishing, Los Angeles, USA (1954)
- Floyd Clymer, Indianapolis 1956 Yearbook, Floyd Clymer Publishing, Los Angeles, USA (1956)
- Floyd Clymer, Indianapolis 1958 Yearbook, Floyd Clymer Publishing, Los Angeles, USA (1958)
- George Peters & Henri Greuter, Novi, The Legendary Indianapolis Race Car, Bar Jean Enterprises, Hazelwood, MO (USA) ISBN 0-9630227-0-9 (1991)
- Gerard Crombac, Turbine Grand Prix, Automobilia, Milano, (Italy), ISBN 88-85880-02-9 (1989)
- Gordon Eliot White, Indianapolis Racing Cars of Frank Kurtis, Iconografix, Hudson Wisconsin (USA), ISBN 1-58388-026-7 (2000)
- Heinz Prüller, Grand Prix Story 1973, Dutch translation, Peters' Uitgeversmij. b.v. Deventer (The Netherlands) ISBN 90 6127 079 0
- Jack Fox, The Illustrated History of the Indianapolis 500, Fourth Edition, Carl Hungness Publishing, Speedway, IN (USA) ISBN 0-915088-05-3 (1994)
- Karl Ludvigsen, Prime Movers, Transport Bookman Publications, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 7BG (England) (1995)
- Mark L. Dees, The Miller Dynasty, Revised and expanded second edition, The Hippodrome Publishing Company, Moorpark, CA, (USA) ISBN 0-9638084-0-0 (1994)
- Roger Huntington, Design & Development of the Indy Car, HPBooks, Tucson AZ (USA) ISBN 0-89586-103-8 (1981)
A full set of Clymer yearbooks as well as Hungness yearbooks was available and several of those have been consulted for additional research.
- Darren Galpin, The Race of Two Worlds, 8W Special, Nov 16, 1999
- Arjan de Roos & Henri Greuter, The Indy project that became a blackmail project, 8W, Feb 16, 2009 (Part 3 of Fiasco Italo-Brittanico: the March-Alfa Romeo 90CA)
- Peter Windsor website
- William Edgar, The beast, Forza, Edition 104, August 1, 2010
- I have also made use of info that can be found on the Autosport.com Nostalgia Forum as well as Eagle104's Nostalgia forum at TrackForum.
- 'Men of Modena', Auto Speed and Sport, May 1952
- 'Italian Darkhorse', Auto Speed and Sport, May 1952
- 'It’s a wide open scramble at Indianapolis this year', Racing Wheels, April, May, June 1952
- 'Indianapolis Ferrari', Road & Track, Vol.3, No.11, July 1952
- 'Indianapolis Ferrari', Road & Track, August 1952
- 'Ferrari at Indianapolis', Road & Track, September 1952
- 'La Ferrari a Indianapolis/Ferrari and Indianapolis', FerrariStory 1996
- Brock Yates, 'How do you say revenge in Italian?', Car and Driver, September 2000
- Brock Yates, 'The new little engine that couldn't', Sports International, April 16th, 1973
- Coo Dijkman, 'Indy Formule steeds duurder', De Telegraaf, Saturday April 4,1987
- Clay Smith, 'Indy goes International', Motor Trend, June 1952
- Chuck Queener, 'Ferrari Bardahl Experimental', Road & Track, May 1981
- Damian Smith, 'Ferrari's Brickyard special', MotorSport, January 2010
- Donald Davidson, 'The Monza 500 races', Road & Track, June 1987
- Doug Nye, 'Nye's One', Fast Lane, May 1989
- George Moore, 'Speaking of Speed', The Indianapolis Star, September 1st, 1966, Sec.4 Page 7
- Harry Steele, 'The richest "500"', Speed Age, July 1952
- Mark Koense, 'The real deal', RTL GP Magazine, October 2009, (2009, No.5)
- Michael T. Lynch, 'Ferrari's journey to the New World', Forza, August 2000
- Peter de Paolo, '500 Gasoline, Glamour, Grime', Motor Trend, August 1952, Vol.4, No.8
- Stanley Novak, 'Ferrari Indy '52', Ferrarissima, 11, 1989