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1963 Targa Florio

Sunday, May 5, 1963
Fastest Lap:
Parkes, 40m04.1
1963 season:

From the Motor Sport Archive

The Targa Florio is a form of motor racing that at one time was the normal thing but is now unique, and drivers and spectators either like it or hate it. If you like it then you return to Sicily every year in the spring for Targa Florio time; if you hate it then you go on running in your sprint races round an aerodrome or in a park. I am happy to be one of those who likes the Targa Florio for I think there is nothing to beat racing on public roads; I like races to be difficult and arduous, and I think a racing driver should have to use more than just skill and judgment in order to win races. For me the Targa Florio is more than just a motor race, for it involves motoring the whole length of Italy to get to it and once you get south of Pescara or Rome the motoring becomes of a different world and you can really enjoy a car that has good cornering, a good gearbox and good 2nd and 3rd gear acceleration.

When the Targa Florio was in its early days Palermo was the centre of activity for competitors, even though it was an hour's drive out to the starting area just below the village of Cerda, but in recent years competitors have taken over the seaside village of Cefalu, which is only 15 minutes from the starting area. Cefalu has but two hotels and the Ferrari team were centred on one and the Porsche team on the other, with a sprinkling of private-owners at both, so that lunch at one hotel and you came away convinced that Ferrari would win the 47th Targa Florio and supper at the other and you felt certain Porsche would win. To be unbiased one should have put up a tent between the two hotels, but the fever and excitement of Targa Florio week is such that you cannot stay unbiased and you just have to join in on one side or the other. You might be standing about outside the hotel when "Yeooww" and a Ferrari goes up the road dodging in and out of the Lambretta three-wheeled carts and Fiats, and as the sound of the V12 engine disappears a shattering noise comes from the garage under the hotel as an 8-cylinder Porsche is started up, while standing in the car park are GTO Ferraris, Porsche Carreras, Giuliettas and Abarths. Targa Florio week is for motoring enthusiasts, of that there is no question.