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The Magic of Fifty

18 marzo 2021

The Official Ferrari Magazine marks its 50th edition. In order to celebrate, we decided to retrace the Prancing Horse’s history, enjoying ‘encounters’ with fascinating stories and people – all linked to the number 50.

A 50-year legacy – From the Daytona to the 812 GTS

When, in 1969, Ferrari launched its 365 GTS4 – the convertible version of the legendary ‘Daytona’ – little did the world know that this would be the last V12 front-engined convertible from Maranello for fully 50 years. The spirit of the ‘Daytona’ Spider was gloriously reawakened when, in 2019, the 812 GTS took up its historic mantle.

The 50th Ferrari victory – Giannino Marzotto, on 16 October 1949

In 1949, just a couple of short years after Ferrari had entered its very first race, the Prancing Horse passed a golden milestone: its fiftieth racing victory. The event was the Vermicino-Rocca di Papa hill climb, the car was a Ferrari 166 MM and the driver was Giannino Marzotto.  

D50 – The car that took Fangio to the 1956 World Championship

The glorious D50 Grand Prix car was originally designed by Vittorio Jano for Lancia. But when the Turin car maker withdrew from racing in 1955, the D50 devolved to Ferrari for the 1956 Formula 1 season. The design of the V8-powered racer was somewhat alien to Ferrari and was quickly remodelled at Maranello. The legendary Argentinian racer Juan Manuel Fangio signed for the Ferrari team in 1956 and took three wins in the D50 in what was a golden year that saw five Grand Prix victories for Ferrari in all. The season ended with Fangio securing his fourth world championship, and the manufacturers’ title returning to Ferrari once again.

The 50th Ferrari F1 Car – The extraordinary F2004

Fittingly, the fiftieth Formula 1 car built by Ferrari – the F2004 – as a golden child in every sense. In the 2004 season, Michael Schumacher took 13 wins, whilst teammate Rubens Barrichello won a further two. That tally of 15 wins from 18 races ranks the F2004 as the most successful Ferrari F1 car of all time. Schumacher secured his historic seventh title that year, his fifth in a row for Ferrari.

J50 – A unique Ferrari for Japan

In 2016, Ferrari of Japan celebrated its 50th anniversary in spectacular style with a limited-edition car reserved exclusively for Japanese clients: the Ferrari J50. Designed by Ferrari’s Centro Stile in Maranello, just ten examples of the J50 were built, each one tailored specifically to clients’ requirements in the spirit of Ferrari’s fuoriserie custom-built tradition.

Ferrari’s 50th Formula 1 victory – Lauda’s first win for the Scuderia

Ferrari’s new signing for 1974, Niki Lauda, had looked like a front runner all season but had yet to take a win in the 312 B3-74. In April 1974, at the fourth race of the F1 season, in Madrid, Spain, Lauda drove an exceptional race from pole position in very wet conditions to secure his first victory for Ferrari. Equally historic, it was the Scuderia’s 50th F1 win. 

Ferrari 330 P #50 – a debut win

The first of Ferrari’s legendary dynasty of sports racers bearing the 330 P designation hit the race tracks in 1964, taking its place at the start line of the Trofeo Bettoia at Monza on 25 October. Behind the wheel was the Italian driver Ludovico Scarfiotti and his racing number was the auspicious 50. Over the course of the three-hour race, the 330 P put in a dominant performance to secure a famous maiden victory.

Ferrari 156 #50 – another debut win

Giancarlo Baghetti was the first – and to date the only – Formula 1 driver ever to win his debut race in a championship round. The event was the French Grand Prix at Reims on 6 July 1961 and his steed was the ‘Sharknose’ Ferrari 156. After a 52-lap battle in suffocating heat, Baghetti in car 50 lunged past Dan Gurney’s Porsche on the very final corner to cross the finish line one tenth of a second ahead.

Ferrari F333 SP #50 – back after 20 years, and first again

After Ferrari won the 1972 World Sports Car Championship with the 312 PB, it would be two decades before the Prancing Horse would return to closed-wheel racing. At its very first outing, the new F333 SP demonstrated its absolute dominance. On 17 April 1994 at the Road Atlanta 2 Hours race in the USA, Jay Cochran in car number 50 tasted sweet victory. This was the first of many wins for the F333 SP, its most celebrated undoubtedly the 1998 Daytona 24 Hours.

#50 – on a Ferrari for the first time

British-born racing driver Tony Brooks signed for Scuderia Ferrari for the 1959 Formula 1 season. The racing number attached to the side of his Ferrari 246 F1 was 50, making him the first Ferrari driver ever to carry this number. At the first race of the 1959 season, Monaco, Brooks drove exceptionally well and finished second. The second step of the podium would also await him at the season’s end, as he secured the runner-up spot overall in the drivers’ championship that year, with two notable wins behind the wheel of his Ferrari 246 F1 in France and Germany.

F50 – The Anniversary Model  

What better way to celebrate 50 years of the founding of Ferrari than a spectacular new V12-engined GT? Using Formula 1-style construction technology and aerodynamics, this was as pure and uncompromising as it was possible to get in a road car in 1995: a virtual F1 car in GT garb.

This article is an extract from the 50th issue of The Official Ferrari Magazine, available now