PieroTaruffi was an Italian racing driver who has competed in motorcycle racing before World War 2 and sports cars and Formula 1 after WW2.
Engineer who drives both motorcycles and cars
He was born on 12th of October 1906 in Albano Laziale, near the city of Rome. As a student, he was a successful sportsman, especially in rowing and was part of the eight men crew which won European Championship in 1928. However, since his teenage years, he was a huge fan of motorcycles and over the year won many races in Italy. At the same time, Taruffi earned a degree in engineering what helped him a lot during racing career.
Taruffi was successful in both cars and motorcycles racing
He also entered many cars events and was pretty successful but motorcycles were his first choice. Driving a Norton, Piero won 1932 European Championship in the 500cc class and five years later he set motorcycle speed record at 279.5 km/h. In a meantime, he survived a huge crash during the race in Tripoli. Driving a Maserati V.5, Taruffi slid off the road and was ejected from the car. His left hand was so badly injured that after recovery he barely could tie a knot but could hold the steering wheel.
New beginning after WW2
After the World War 2, Taruffi renewed his racing career with Cisitalia team. He won some big races like Tour de Sicily. From 1949 to 1952 he drove for many teams, including Ferrari and Maserati, and became famous worldwide. In 1953, driving a Lancia, he finished 2nd in the Carrera Panamericana and was nicknamed ’Silver Fox’.
Taruffi driving a Lancian in 1954 Targa Florio
Winner of the 'last' Mille Miglia
The following year again was very successful for the Italian driver who won in Tour de Sicily and in Targa Florio, one of the most dangerous races of all time. Finally, in 1957, Taruffi fulfilled his dream to win famous Mille Miglia race, driving a Ferrari 315S. That was the last Mille Miglia in its original format and was remembered as the race in which was killed Spanish driver Alfonso de Portago. Following the race, Taruffi who was 50 years of age, pledged to his wife that he would never race again.
Taruffi wins 1957 Mille Miglia
Piero Taruffi had a solid Formula 1 career
Taruffi also competed in the Formula 1 World championship from 1950 to 1956. He was driving for Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes, and Maserati and had a considerable success. His best year was 1952 when he was driving for Ferrari. That year Taruffi scored his only F1 win, in the Swiss Grand Prix. He also finished 2nd at Silverstone and 3rd at Rouen before taking 3rd place in the Drivers’ championship, behind his compatriots and teammates Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina.
Driving a Ferrari at 1952 Formula 1 German Grand Prix
Taruffi also was patent holder and track designer
Except for his racing skills, Taruffi was respected as and excellent engineer and patent holder, as well the track designer. He was involved racing circuits in Japan (Funabashi and Suzuka) and in Italy (Misano and Vallelunga).
He also wrote a book ’The Technique of Motor Racing’ while in 1957 wrote an article for the American magazine the Saturday Evening Post with an interesting headline – Stop us before we kill again in which he was discussing the future of racing after tragedies in 1955 Le Mans 24h and 1957 Mille Miglia.
The Piero Taruffi Museum
The Piero Taruffi Museum was opened in 2002 in the small town of Bagnoregio, near Viterbo in Central Italy. It has vintage cars and motorbikes of Taruffi’s era and an interesting itinerary that shows the scientific and technical progress in the field of motorsport in the last century.
Exhibits in the Piero Taruffi museum
Alongside the technical capabilities, the determination, the will, and the courage to continuously test his skills, have played a decisive role in transforming Taruffi’s aspiration in real conquests and, after all, he deserves a special place in the history of the Italian motorsport.