Maserati hails 80th anniversary of Tipo 6CM’s victory at Targa Florio
Supercar brand Maserati has been in a reflective, nostalgic mood this month as it paid tribute to the 80th anniversary of a great achievement at the wheel of the Maserati Tipo 6CM.
On May 14th 1939, Luigi ‘Gigi’ Villoresi took the helm of the single-seater racer at the Parco della Favorita circuit in the Sicilian capital Palermo and covered the race’s 40 laps in just 1:40.15.4.
Conquering the total 228km at that speed during the very early years of motor racing was certainly some feat – but the accolades didn’t end there.
Second and third places were won by Piero Taruffi and Guido Franco Barbieri respectively, both of whom were also behind the wheel of Maserati Tipo 6CM cars.
This made for an historic year for Maserati, helping it to confirm its position as the undisputed champion of the Sicilian track, having already dominated the 1937 and 1938 editions by taking all three top positions in both years.
Luigi Villoresi also finished first in the 1940 race driving a Maserati Tipo 4CL, although this run of success was then interrupted by the Second World War and an understandable hiatus in racing competitions.
The Targo Florio is one of the world’s oldest motor races, having been founded by its namesake in 1906. A total of 62 editions took place between 1906 and 1977, with the competition among the most prestigious in the world for automotive manufacturers.
It also helped the Maserati Tipo 6CM rise to a position as one of the best-loved racers ever, as well as one of the most groundbreaking.
Its success was powered by a new engine featuring a straight six cylinders cast in the same block as the head and arranged in pairs on the same electron crankcase for maximum performance.
Its chassis also marked a major leap forward in car design, thanks to innovative front suspension on a ladder frame that proved to offer a major advantage over the vehicle’s English and French counterparts.
Another clever feature was the type of suspension itself, which consisted of torsion bar springs that could be adjusted depending on the type of circuit the vehicle was racing on.
Some 27 Maserati Tipo 6CMs were built in the 1930s and the car still holds the record for the most edition wins at the Targa Florio.
And if you’re feeling nostalgic like Maserati, you can see the 1939 race winner restored to its former glory as part of the Panini Collection in Modena.
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