Our new database page will launch shortly.
Alfonso Thiele was an Italian/American sports car driver who had one unexpected Formula 1 opportunity. The 1960 Italian Grand Prix was beset by dispute and acrimony after organisers announced it would be run on the full banked Monza circuit. The British entrants argued that the bumpy surface was dangerous for modern 2.5-litre F1 cars and withdrew.
Less qualified replacements including Thiele’s Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper T51-Maserati were invited to fill the void. It was his first single-seater race of any note. Ninth in qualifying, Thiele retired after half distance with a box full of neutrals.
He had made New York his home while Benito Mussolini was in power in Italy. Dividing his time between the two countries during the 1950s, Thiele competed in European road racing and SCCA events in America. He raced in the 1953 Mille Miglia and enjoyed some success with a 750cc Fiat Abarth.
Thiele was second in class on the 1956 Mille Miglia and went one better a year later to score his first class victory in a world championship event. His Fiat-Abarth then won the 750 GT class on his debut in the 1958 Sebring 12 Hours.
A Ferrari 250GT was acquired for 1959 and Thiele won the inaugural Monza Lotteria. His GP distraction over, he raced in sports car and GT events with a Scuderia Sant Ambroeus Fiat-Abarth 1000 during 1961. He won the Coppa Inter-Europa GT race that supported the Italian GP at Monza.
Thiele’s last season was 1964 and his final major sports car race also resulted in the best overall finish of his career – his Sant Ambroeus Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ finishing fourth in the Targa Florio.
He continued to live on the East Coast of America before retiring in Italy.