by Bernard Martin & Luigi Chinetti Jr.
Pittsburgh, PA - The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) is thrilled to announce that Luigi Chinetti Jr. has been named the Grand Marshal for the highly anticipated 41st running of the event. This year's PVGP will be a special celebration, as Ferrari has been named the Marque of the Year, with a focus on the remarkable history of the North American Racing Team, NART. Luigi Chinetti Jr.'s family legacy and his own racing career make his the perfect choice for this prestigious role.
His father Luigi Chinetti Sr,. played a pivotal role in developing the Ferrari marque in North America. Through his efforts and his sales abilities using an informal dealer system, he established a strong foundation for Ferrari's presence in North America. These sales significantly contributed to Ferraris financial stability, providing in part the resources necessary to support his racing activities.
Luigi Chinetti Jr. followed in his father's footsteps, not only as a prominent figure in the Ferrari world but also as a talented racing driver on his own. His biography is a testament to his dedication and passion for racing and the Ferrari Marque. He began his informal racing career in the late 1960s, building upon the foundation laid by his father.
In his first appearance at 24 hours of Daytona he finished a credible 7th overall, and in next year’s event, racing a 312P winning his class. Going on to Sebring for the 12 hour race, he was to finish in the top ten between 1970 and 1973.
However, it was at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971, at 29 years old, where he joined fellow competitors to make his first start at the Circuit de la Sarthe. He competed in the iconic endurance race three times with NART Ferrari's: in 1971 finishing 5th with Bob Grossman, behind two Porsche 917s and two Ferrari 512Ms winning his class. In 1972 with 1965 LeMans winner Masten Gregory; a retirement, and in 1973 with François Migault finishing13th.
As he is fond of saying, “My most interesting success came on the Bonneville Salt Flats, where I was aired with Graham Hill, a World Champion, Milt Minter, and most notably, Pau Newman!” He came away with a World Record that still stands.
Beyond his achievements as a driver, he also made significant contributions as a designer. In 1967, he worked with fashion illustrator Bob Peak in designing several unique Ferraris that have attained significant notoriety. These include two estate wagons, and a mid-engined Ferrari, based on a 250P which was later updated to 275P specifications after 1964. It was Michelotti-built and made the cover of Car and Driver magazine. Several others cars where penned by Chinetti,Jr. including the rather famous 1972 Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB/4 Shooting Brake "extended coupe”.
Luigi Chinetti Jr. has been an ambassador for Ferrari and the NART legacy. He has worked tirelessly to preserve and promote the rich history of NART, ensuring that future generations understand and appreciate its significance in the world of motorsport.
As the Grand Marshal of the 2023 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, Luigi Chinetti Jr. will grace the event with his presence, sharing his invaluable experiences and insights with fellow enthusiasts, fans, and participants. His involvement will undoubtedly elevate the event and make it a truly unforgettable experience.
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is honored to welcome Luigi Chinetti Jr. as the Grand Marshal, commemorating the legacy of NART and celebrating Ferrari as the Marque of the Year. This year's event promises to be a remarkable tribute to motorsport history, bringing together enthusiasts from all over the world.
For more information about the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and the 2023 event, please visit www.pvpg.org or contact Bernard Martin.
About the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is a world-class vintage racing event that takes place annually in Pittsburgh, PA. Founded in 1983, the PVGP has become one of the largest vintage racing events in the United States and the longest running Vintage Race on city Streets in North America. The event features a variety of races, car shows, and activities, attracting participants and spectators from around the globe. The PVGP is also a charitable organization, raising funds to support individuals with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
NART (North American Racing Team) was a racing team that fielded Ferrari sports cars in various racing events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team was founded by Luigi Chinetti, a former Ferrari racing driver who had established a Ferrari dealership in New York City in the 1950s.
NART's racing history at Le Mans began in 1958, when Chinetti and co-driver Olivier Gendebien won the race in a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. This was the first of four Le Mans victories for the team, which would go on to compete in the race over the next decade.
In 1961, NART entered three Ferraris in the race, including a 250 GT SWB, a 250 GT California, and a 250 TRI/61. The 250 GT SWB driven by Gendebien and Phil Hill finished second overall, while the California driven by Bob Grossman and Glenn Roberts finished fifth overall. The team also won the GT class with the 250 GT California.
In 1963, NART entered a Ferrari 250 GTO in the race, which was driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Jean Guichet. The car retired from the race due to engine problems, but it remains one of the most iconic NART Ferraris to have competed at Le Mans.
NART's 1965 Le Mans victory with a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM was a significant moment in the team's racing history. The car, driven by Jochen Rindt, Masten Gregory and Ed Hugas (from Pittsburgh PA), completed 347 laps and secured the first and only overall victory for a Ferrari 250 LM at Le Mans. This was also the first overall win for an American team at Le Mans and the seventh overall win for Ferrari at the race. The victory remains one of the most iconic moments in NART's racing history and a testament to the team's success in the world of endurance racing.
NART's final Le Mans victory came in 1972, when the team entered a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona in the GT class. The car was driven by Luigi Chinetti Jr., Bob Grossman, and Francois Migault, and it finished 9th overall and first in class.
Overall, NART's racing history at Le Mans is a testament to the team's success in the world of sports car racing, and to the enduring legacy of the Ferrari brand at one of the most challenging and prestigious racing events in the world.
Ferrari Quits LeMans
Ferrari's decision to quit Le Mans in the late 1970s was largely driven by changes in the rules and regulations of the race that made it less attractive to the company. In particular, new rules were introduced that favored the use of smaller engines with reduced fuel consumption, rather than the larger, high-performance engines that Ferrari was known for.
At the time, Ferrari was also facing financial difficulties and was struggling to compete with other manufacturers in Formula One and sports car racing. The company had also recently faced the loss of its founder, Enzo Ferrari, who passed away in 1988.
These factors, combined with the changing regulations in Le Mans, led Ferrari to shift its focus to other racing series, such as Formula One and GT racing. Despite this, Ferrari has continued to be a dominant force in sports car racing and has won multiple championships in GT and endurance racing over the years.
This is a compilation of articles from a variety of sources and contributors. Attrition and sources are always provided at the top and/or the bottom of the posting.