TAKING A LOOK AT THE TRACK -IN FERRARI- BEFORE THE START OF LE MANS CLASSIC

For its 10th edition, Le Mans Classic will be held from June 30th to July 3rd, 2022. As promised, here is a new focus, this time on two Ferraris -one in grid 3 (1957/1961) and the other in grid 6 (1972-1981).

GRID 3

Ferrari 250 GT “Breadvan” – Martin Halusa – n°16

Ferrai 250 GT “Breadvan” – Copyright : ACO

Martin Halusa’s Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan made its first appearance in 1962 at Le Mans. What a shape! What extravagance! And why Breadvan? The story goes that an English journalist nicknamed it that way because of the shape giving it the appearance of a “bakery van”.

To understand the origin of this Ferrari, it is important to know the reason why: a conflict between Enzo Ferrari’s wife, Laura Domenica, and a handful of Maranello’s engineers. But not just any engineers, we talk about Carlo Chiti, Scuderia’s technical director of the, Romolo Tavoni, sporting director and … Giotto Bizzarrini!

The three of them left to found ATS (Automobili Turismo e Sport). To finance the project, they appeal to Count Volpi, owner of the Scuderia Serenissima and a loyal Ferrari customer. Infuriated, the Commendatore refused to deliver the 2 GTOs ordered by the count. So, the deal was done: Bizzarrini would design a car from a Ferrari SWB and Drogo would dress it.

The car raced at Le Mans in 1962 where it had to retire in the fourth hour. One could think that this defeat would have sounded the death knell for the Breadvan, which was to be seen in a few races in 1962 and 1963 before ending up as Count Volpi’s “everyday car”!

An eventful life followed for this car. Livery changes, impounded cars, tests by James Garner and Steve McQueen who finally did not buy it, and then repeated changes of ownership in the 70s and 80s when it was seen from time to time in historic races. In 2005, it was presented at Christie’s auction but did not find any buyer. It then was sent back to Modena where it underwent a complete restoration to its 1962 Le Mans configuration.

In 2013, after a few more changes of hand, the Breadvan found its ideal owner in Martin Halusa, a lover of beautiful things and meticulous in their care. This has allowed this unique car to regain its right place in the world of classic cars, often participating -among others- in the events by Peter Auto such as Le Mans Classic where it was seen again in 2018, and at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille Concours in 2017.

GRID 6

Alexander Rittweger’s Ferrari 512 BBLM – n°4

Ferrari 512 BB LM – Copyright : ACO

Alexander Rittweger, who has owned this car for 6 years, will compete in his third Le Mans Classic after 2016 and 2018. This 512 BBLM Ferrari is certainly one of the most “American” of all those built ever.

Its particularity is that it has never raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans even though it was originally designed for this event. Why? The answer is simple, the history of this car is intimately linked to that of its owners and mainly to Ron Spangler.

This American, passionate about Ferraris – he has owned more than 100 of them throughout his life – has long been a senior judge at the Ferrari Club of America and has never raced anywhere else than on his native territory, three times at the 24 Hours of Daytona and once at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The last versions of the 512 BB in which Ferrari saw racing potential, some BBLMs were prepared by dealers according to the Cavallino workshop’s instructions. The Pininfarina bodywork for exceptional aerodynamics and the 500hp 12-cylinder flat engine in a center-rear position allowed the car to reach speeds of up to 325 km/h. Although designed for the Le Mans 24 Hours, none of the 512 BBLMs ever won on the Sarthe layout. One of them did still manage to rank 5th in 1981 with French Charles Pozzi Team.

Alexander Rittweger: “It’s a rather easy Ferrari to drive, more so than you might imagine. On the Le Mans circuit I can reach speeds of 320 km/h. For me it’s one of the coolest Ferraris built ever. You could light a barbecue with your friends and have lunch next to it. On the technical side, I never made any modifications. Ron Spangler was the second owner. I am the third one and to my knowledge no other modifications have been made. You can see all the original stickers on the car, they are all genuine. I own a lot of cars, but this one is certainly my favourite. The sound of the V12 is just fabulous. I love the shape and the burgundy red colour with the gold and black stripes. For me it’s a very enjoyable car, a delight to drive if you’re not afraid of it.”

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