Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Road to Le Mans, 1955

In the spring of 1955 Phil Hill arrived in Modena, capital city of Italian racing, after an all-night train ride from Barcelona. He waited bleary eyed in a dingy cubicle. The door opened. Standing over Hill the formidable bulk of Enzo Ferrari, his silver hair swept back and his drooping eyelids cloaked behind thick sunglasses. Ferrari led Hill to the factory floor where mechanics were readying a Ferrari 121 LM for Le Mans. It was a long, swoopy car with a muscled up engine built to compete with the new Mercedes. Ferrari asked Hill what he thought of it. Beautiful, Hill said.
"Then how would you like to drive it at Le Mans," Ferrari said, "with your great protagonist from Mexico, Umberto Maglioli?"

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