WEC / Monza - Ferrari to honour its history
The legend of a circuit known as the ‘Temple of Speed’ has been built up over a 101-year history thanks to a long tradition of endurance racing, starting from the 1000 Kilometres, which saw a Ferrari on the top step of the podium on five occasions between the 1960s and 1970s (1965–67, 1972–73). The Monza Circuit awaits the 499Ps for the fifth round of the FIA WEC 2023 on the weekend of 9 July, when the public will once again be able to admire Prancing Horse cars in the top class of endurance racing, half a century after the last appearance of Maranello prototypes on the 5.793 kilometres of the track in Brianza.
Built in 110 days within the Villa Reale Park in Monza, the Autodromo Nazionale was inaugurated in 1922, becoming the most famous circuit in Italy over the years. From the beginning, the facility in Lombardy, a few kilometres from Milan, has hosted a number of endurance events. The golden age is to be found in the post-WWII period when the 1000 Kilometre race was born, a test that attracted the strongest manufacturers and drivers. The main attractions were the courage of the drivers and the reliability of the cars, put to the test in a long race characterised by high speeds.
The next two editions, like the inaugural one, were contested on the 10-kilometre track that combined the road track and high-speed ring. In 1966 John Surtees and Mike Parkes toasted to victory in the Ferrari 330 P3 in 6 hours 9’11’’6, at an average speed of 165.939 km/h, in the race that saw the British driver born in 1934 set the fastest time (3’26’’7) once again. In 1967, on the other hand, the top step of the podium went to Lorenzo Bandini and Chris Amon in the Ferrari 330 P4, after a race that lasted 5 hours 7’43’’, at an average speed of 196.934 km/h, in which the Italian driver set the best time of 2’55’’8.
Ferrari was also recorded on the roll of honour in 1972-73 – on the 5.750-kilometre track – with the last prototype entered in the top class of endurance, the 312 PB, before its return this season. The wins came courtesy of Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni respectively, in 5 hours 52’05’’6, at an average speed of 170.494 km/h, in the 1972 edition that ended with Ronnie Peterson’s fastest lap (1’46’’1). One year later, Ickx and Brian Redman gave an encore in a 1000 Kilometre race that lasted 174 laps, completed in 4 hours 7’34’’4, at an average speed of 242.473 km/h.
In recent years, the Monza Circuit has returned to the spotlight with the FIA World Endurance Championship. After hosting the Prologue in 2017, the Italian venue has been home to the Monza 6 Hours since 2021, which runs on the 5.793-kilometre, 11-turn road circuit.
In 2022, the Prancing Horse’s 488 GTEs finished second and third, in LMGTE Pro, with Antonio Fuoco and Daniel Serra, and Alessandro Pier Guidi paired with James Calado. The British-Italian pair were second in 2021.