Giancarlo Baghetti

Giancarlo Baghetti had the great misfortune to be born lucky. His grandfather had established a very successful foundry in Milan and so money was never really an issue. He started his career by borrowing his fatherís car and had a local tuner called Angelo Dagrada work on it each evening, preparing it for the Mille Miglia rally. Baghetti and his brother finished second.

A friend of Baghetti then mentioned his name to Carlo Abarth and Giancarlo was signed to race touring cars in 1959. For 1960, however, Dagrada convinced him to buy a new Formula Junior car he had built around a much modified Lancia engine. Giancarlo won several races and at the end of the year was picked out by the Federazione Italiana Scuderie Automobilistiche, a group of teams which got together to give a young Italian the chance to drive in F1. The car, on loan from Ferrari to Eugenio Dragoniís Scuderia SantíAmbroeus, was a much-modified 1960 Formula 2 Ferrari car, which had been the prototype for the 156.

Baghetti first raced for Ferrari at Sebring where the 246 SP he was sharing with Willy Mairesse was taken over by Wolfgang von Trips and Richie Ginther and finished second. His first F1 race was the non-championship event at Syracuse in April 1960 where he used the superior straightline speed of the Ferrari engine to blow away stars like Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Jo Bonnier, Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori and Dan Gurney. The car was then entered for the Naples GP at Posillipo and as most of the top names were racing elsewhere Baghetti won again.

Then fate took a hand again. Olivier Gendebien decided to leave Ferrari and return to Ecurie Nationale Belge. This freed up one of the new Ferrari 156s which was painted red and given to Baghetti to run at the French GP. All the big names went off or broke down and in the end Baghetti was left to slipstream past Gurney on the run to the flag to win the first World Championship event he had entered - a feat never equalled before nor since.

He went on to race in Britain and Italy but failed to win again. In 1962 the Ferraris were overshadowed, though he scored points in three of the four races in which he competed. He then decided to follow Phil Hill and a group of Ferrari engineers to the new ATS team. This was a disaster and the only drive he could get in 1964 was with Scuderia Centro Sud with a two-year old BRM. He reappeared in F1 at the Italian GP in 1965, 1966 and 1967 in different machines (all uncompetitive) but enjoyed some success in sports and touring car racing with Ferrari, Alfa, Abarth and Porsche machinery.

He retired from racing in 1968 and started a new career as a photographer working for Playboy. He then became the publisher of a new weekly magazine called Auto Oggi. He died of cancer in 1995.