Heading into the 1961 World Sportscar Championship, the Scuderia Ferrari was the team to beat. The Ferrari cars were the most eagerly-awaited when the race season began in late March with the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The 250 Testa Rossa cars excelled on this challenging US track, which was so gruelling it was said any car that manages to finish the 12-hour race is ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien were the drivers who came in fastest, ahead of teammates Wolfgang von Trips, Willy Mairesse, Giancarlo Baghetti and Richie Ginther. Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez took third with the North American Racing Team's 250 Testa Rossa.
Von Trips and Gendebien prevailed at the Targa Florio race in an official Dino 246 SP, beating their Porsche and Maserati competitors. However, the Maserati driven by the Camoradi International Team triumphed in the third race of the season.
Then, the Ferraris pulled a hat-trick in the fourth and most prestigious race of the season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Hill and Gendebien took top podium as everyone expected after the race in Sebring. This meant Ferrari and the Scuderia were one step away from the World Championship title.
The title was in the bag with the success of Lorenzo Bandini and Giorgio Scarlatti, who competed in the Pescara race for the Scuderia Centro Sud. This, however, was just a formality.