by Gauk
Thu, Nov 24, 2016 1:52 AM

Piero Taruffi (12 October 1906, Albano Laziale – 12 January 1988), was a racing driver from Italy, and also the father of lady racer Prisca Taruffi.

Piero Taruffi
Piero Taruffi.jpg
Born 12 October 1906
Died 12 January 1988 (aged 81)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Italy Italian
Active years 1950 – 1956
Teams Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Vanwall
Entries 19 (18 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 1
Podiums 5
Career points 41
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 1
First entry 1950 Italian Grand Prix
Last entry 1956 Italian Grand Prix

Sports car career

Taruffi began his motorsport career racing motorcycles. He won the 1932 500cc European Championship on a Norton and in 1937 set the motorcycle land speed record at 279.503 km/h (173.68 mph).

Taruffi drove a newly introduced 2-litre, 4-cylinder Ferrari, which placed third in the 360 kilometre race Grand Prix de Bari at Bari, Italy, in September 1951. He finished behind Juan Manuel Fangio and Froilán González with a time of 2 hours 58 minutes 40 3/5 seconds. Taruffi and Alberto Ascari participated in the Carrera Panamericana in the mountains of Mexico in November 1951. They placed first and third respectively over the course from Mexico City to León, Guanajuato, a 267-mile (430 km) leg. Taruffi led second-placed Troy Ruttman by more than four minutes. Taruffi trimmed 15 minutes on the Mexico City-Leon leg and another 21 minutes between Leon and Durango. In the process he climbed from 12th to third overall. Taruffi won the race on 25 November, with a time of 21:57:52, over mountains and plains of the southeastern tip of Mexico. He had an average speed of 87.6 mph (140.97 km/h).

Taruffi set a world record for 50 miles (80 km) in an auto of 22 cubic centimetre (1.3 in3) displacement in January 1952. He attempted a 100-mile (160 km) record but his motor burned out after 98 miles (158 km). Taruffi was in a two-litre Ferrari for the running of the third Grand Prix de France, in Paris in May 1952. He captured first place with a time of three hours over a distance of 285 miles (459 km). His average speed was 95 mph (153 km/h). Taruffi placed second to Fangio in the 1953 Carrera Panamericana, with a time of 18:18:51 in a Lancia. His time was better than the previous year when he was victorious. In March 1954, Taruffi lost the Florida International Grand Prix with an hour to go, after having led the first three hours, when his Lancia stopped. He pushed it to the pits and team mechanics began working on it with diligence. Taruffi was still out of the car when the O.S.C.A. shared by Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd crossed the finish line. Taruffi had averaged 81.1 miles per hour (130.5 km/h) before he retired. Taruffi won the 1,080-kilometre (670 mi) Tour of Sicily in April 1954. His time of 10 hours 24 minutes 37 seconds established a record for an event which opened Italy's sports car racing season. It was 14 years old at the time. He averaged 64.4 miles per hour (103.6 km/h) in a Lancia 3300.

Taruffi and Harry Schell placed fifth overall in the 1955 Florida Grand Prix, driving a Ferrari. Taruffi claimed first place in a Ferrari, at the 1955 Tour of Sicily, with an overall time of 10 hours 11 minutes 19.4 seconds, with an average speed of 105.998 kilometres per hour (65.864 mph). Taruffi dropped out of the 1955 Mille Miglia, when he encountered a broken oil pump on the course north of Rome. He and eventual winner, Stirling Moss, were vying for the lead in the early stages of the race. Cesare Perdisa won by 22 seconds in the 1955 Grand Prix of Imola, driving a two-litre Maserati. Taruffi spun his car into a straw bale at the edge of the track on the first lap. He was uninjured, though his car was damaged, and he was forced to retire from the race. Jean Behraand Taruffi teamed to secure a fifth-place finish in a Maserati at the 1956 12 Hours of Sebring. Taruffi established a world record for Class E cars in June 1956. He raced 100 miles (160 km) in 46 minutes 27.2 seconds, an average of 129.9 miles per hour (209.04 km/h). Also at Monza, Taruffi broke the one-hour mark of 212.543 kilometres per hour (132.074 mph). A third record he performed was for 200 kilometres. His time was 53 minutes 14.5 seconds. In the 17th running of the Tour of Sicily, in 1957, Taruffi had a small crash while in pursuit of leader Olivier Gendebien. He touched the wall in Gioiosa Marea but continued in his Maserati. Gendebien won in a Ferrari. The event was marred by the death of J. Olivari who was burned to death when his Maserati hit the a wall in one of the course's 11,000 curves.

Taruffi's final triumph was at the 1957 Mille Miglia, the last competitive edition of the famous Italian race. At this tragic race, Alfonso de Portago crashed his car into the crowd, with great loss of life. Taruffi won in a Ferrari 315S. Following the race he pledged to his wife, Isabella, that he would never race again. He was 50 years of age.

Author and patent holder

Taruffi was the author of the book, The Technique of Motor Racing. In November 1957 the Saturday Evening Post published Taruffi's article, Stop us before we kill again. The former racer discussed the 1955 Le Mans and 1957 Mille Miglia races in which drivers and numerous spectators died.

In August 1952 Taruffi protected a racing car design under patent 2,608, 264. The patent had three torpedo-shaped parallel bodies joined together. Independent twin motors and wheels were in the two larger bodies, at left and right. The driver and the passengers sit in the car's central part. The central portion is both higher and smaller than the others. Taruffi commented on the low wind resistance and low centre of gravity of his design.

Formula One

He participated in 18 World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 3 September 1950. He won one race and scored a total of 41 championship points. He also participated in numerous non-championship Formula One races.

Taruffi drove a Ferrari to victory in the May 1952 Swiss Grand Prix. He led from the start, with the Ferrari of Rudolf Fischer coming in second.


The Piero Taruffi museum is in Bagnoregio, a small town between Viterbo and Orvieto in Central Italy. It has vintage cars and motorbikes of his era.

Stock cars

Taruffi drove a Ford stock car owned by Floyd Clymer of Los Angeles in the 2,000-mile (3,200 km) Pan-American race held in November 1954.


Complete World Championship Grand Prix results

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points
1950 SA Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 158 Alfa Romeo Straight-8 GBR MON 500 SUI BEL FRA ITA
Ret *
    NC 0
1951 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 F1 Ferrari V12 SUI
500 BEL
  6th 10
1952 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 SUI
500 BEL
  3rd 22
1954 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 625 Ferrari Straight-4 ARG 500 BEL FRA GBR GER
1955 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 555 Ferrari Straight-4 ARG MON
8 †
500 BEL
NED         6th 9
Daimler Benz AG Mercedes-Benz W196 Mercedes-Benz
1956 Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati Straight-6 ARG MON 500 BEL FRA
GBR GER     NC 0
Vandervell Products Ltd. Vanwall Vanwall Straight-4               ITA
* Indicates shared drive with Juan Manuel Fangio
† Indicates shared drive with Paul Frère
published by Gauk