Piero Taruffi

Piero Taruffi was born in Rome in 1906 and grew up in comfortable circumstances, becoming an accomplished sportsman in his teens, while studying for a doctorate in industrial engineering, and racing motorcycles. He began racing cars in 1923 with a Fiat but stayed mainly in motorcycles for much of the 1920s. He spent many years dovetailing his racing with his role as manager of the Gilera motorcycle team. In the 1930s he raced on a regular basis but did not achieve much in terms of results until after the war. This followed a period in which he took part in many record breaking attempts with his hair-raising TAF twin-torpedo cars.

When the official Formula 1 World Championship began in 1950 he drove an Alfa Romeo 158 at the Italian Grand Prix and then switched to Ferrari the following year. He won his only Grand Prix victory in the Swiss Grand Prix of 1952, driving a Formula 2 Ferrari 500 and finished third in the overall Championship rankings, but thereafter he concentrated on racing sportscars with Lancia, capitalising on his success in the 1951 Carrera Panamericana with Luigi Chinetti in 1951.

In 1954 he won the Targa Florio for Lancia and he followed this up with a win - at the age of 51 - in the Mille Miglia in 1957. The Silver Fox (his nickname because of his premature grey hair) then retired from the sport but in the 1960s wrote the much acclaimed book "The Technique of Motor Racing". Taruffi lived to be 81, dying in Rome in January 1988.