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Rome 1947: the first 100% Ferrari victory

24 aprile 2019

1947 proves to be a key year in the history of Scuderia Ferrari. The team founded by Enzo in 1929 becomes a car manufacturer, thus ending its partnership with Alfa Romeo, which had even been incorporated in the company statute. Ferrari lines up its Maranello-built cars under the Prancing Horse emblem, and leading the pack is the 125 S. Ferrari commissioned its first project just after the war in mid-1945, when Enzo asked Gioachino Colombo to design a totally innovative car. Why did he do that? To beat Alfa Romeo, of course.

Enzo Ferrari considered the engine the beating heart of a vehicle. So, utmost attention has always been given to the engine, starting from this first project where a 12-cylinder architecture was chosen to guarantee the highest level of performance. The name of the engine, 125, stems from the unit displacement: multiplying 125 by 12 gives the actual cubic capacity of the engine, nearly 1,500 cubic centimetres. On 12 March 1947, a roar shakes the countryside positioned between Maranello and Formigine: although there is still no bodywork, the 125 engine springs to life and the great Ferrari adventure begins.

Two months later, on 11 May 1947, the car makes its track debut at the Piacenza Circuit. The 125 S ‒ the "S" stands for the Sports bodywork ‒ is in the lead when a broken fuel pump forces it to retire. "A promising failure" is what Enzo Ferrari calls it. He doesn't have to wait long for the first 100% Ferrari victory however, which comes just a few days later. On 25 May 1947, the Rome Grand Prix is held on the streets surrounding the Baths of Caracalla. Franco Cortese drives the 125 S to victory, completing 40 laps for a total of 137.6 kilometres at an average speed of 88.5 km/h. Ferrari beats Guido Barbieri's Maserati by more than 10 seconds and Guido Scagliarini's Stanguellini by one lap.

That year sees six more victories for Ferrari, one of which is at the Parma race with Tazio Nuvolari at the wheel.