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Nino Vaccarella, the Flying Principal

Nino Vaccarella,the Flying Principal

I am a boy who has many interests, but one of my greatest passions, which has been for years almost an obsession, is that linked to the world of racing cars. That is the reason why I want to talk to you about Nino Vaccarella.

As you know, Italy is the land of motors par excellence, and in particular Emilia-Romagna, the so-called Motor Valley, which is known all over the world for giving birth to some of the most prestigious car manufacturers, one of all Ferrari.

Just as Emilia Romagna is the hub of world sports car racing, my beloved Sicily certainly has an equally important motoring history.

Sicily, land of motor racing

Few people know that one of the oldest and most important car competitions in the world is the Targa Florio. It was organized by Vincenzo Florio, an exponent of a wealthy family of Palermo, and the first edition dates back to 1906.

The race took place between the narrow and winding roads that twisted and turned through the Madonie. There is no doubt that the scenery was beautiful from a naturalistic point of view, but for the drivers, it was a dangerous and nerve-racking path. Only a few big names, among the biggest in motoring of all time, managed to conquer it.

Nino Vaccarella

Nino Vaccarella during a race driving a Ferrari
Nino Vaccarella during a race driving a Ferrari

Among all the great drivers who won at the Targa Florio stands out the name of a Sicilian one, that of Nino Vaccarella. Vaccarella, who was born in Palermo in 1933, is considered one of the strongest Italian road racer drivers in the history of sports car racing. Beloved by the Sicilian public, he won three editions of the Targa Florio: in 1965 on Ferrari, in 1971 and 1975 on Alfa Romeo.

From a very young age, as soon as he graduated in Law, he started to play some uphill races on the national territory and then became an official driver of the Ferrari team. Yes, the engineer Enzo Ferrari, who could easily recognize the best talents of the time, noticed the young Sicilian and entrusted him with his prestigious cars. During the years spent in Ferrari, he disputed and won some of the most significant car competitions in the world, including the 12 hours of Sebring and the 1000 km Nürburgring, which he won paired with Scarfiotti.

In the 60s, he tried to win four Formula 1 Grand Prix races, but he didn’t obtain any significant results. He will also race with other important car manufacturers, such as Alfa Romeo, De Tommaso, Lotus, and Porsche.

Consecration and duty of the Principal

In 1964 the world consecration arrived with the absolute victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964 on Ferrari 275 P, paired with the French driver Jean Guichet. Vaccarella considers this race one of his favorites, and a very particular anecdote is linked to this victory. Nino Vaccarella was not only a talented driver, but he reconciled his job on the track with that of Principal in the private family school, the Oriani Institute. After winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, he had to turn down the celebrations since he had to go back to Sicily immediately. The Institute was waiting for him.

In the same year, he won the world sport-prototypes with Ferrari.

We will probably never see racers like him on our circuits. Nino Vaccarella defied death, exalted himself, and savored glory on the roofs of the world. The next day he returned to school as a mere mortal.

I leave you with an interview published by MOTORCULT.TV and I disclose that I will write other articles related to the world of motors. For the moment, enjoy the video! (You can activate subtitles)

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