The author starts his book, The Monza 1000km: 1965-2008, by calling the first chapter, the years between 1965-1971, the ‘Golden Years’ and he is not the only one to do so. While the cars were rather ‘explosive’ in their performance, drivers and team personalities could also be rather explosive in character. This all added up to a splendid spectacle… which is what the spectators paid good money to come and see.
The grids were full of 12-cylinder cars from Italy, 8-cylinder cars from the USA, and 6-and 4-cylinder cars from Germany. Indeed, the resultant competition between the Ferraris, Ford GTs and the Porsches were the very battles that the enthusiasts had come to watch, and the racing was every bit as exciting as the cars and the drivers.
There can be few other locations around the world like the Monza Autodrome, where at the time, emotions would run as high as they did there. Perhaps justifiably, Ferrari regarded it as their ‘backyard’ and therefore they came to win in front of the partisan Italian crowds. But Ford and Porsche came intent on spoiling Ferrari’s fun at the first opportunity. That Monza became a steaming cauldron, a centre of such high passions, is therefore unsurprising.
The author, Aldo Zana, has done a truly admirable job of marrying the highly charged atmosphere of Monza with the charismatic drivers, the powerful cars, and the enthusiastic crowds, into one colourful and memorable publication. This book, The Monza 1000km, is certainly sizeable, because the author has packed together 43 years of highly competitive racing which includes grids, results, score sheets, and analyses of cars and drivers.
When the grid in 1965, from pole position back to seventeenth place, consisted of the likes of Ferrari 275 P2, Ferrari 330 P2, Ford GT40, Ferrari 250 LM, Daytona Cobra, Ferrari 250 GTO/64, with the odd Alfa, Iso Grifo and Ferrari Dino 166 P thrown in, then the racing was only ever going to be sensational. This was in the day when manufacturers made the best car they could which conformed to the regulations, without the meddling of the authorities who today try to balance out the cars so that despite big variations in performance capability, they should in theory all cross the finishing line abreast in the name of ‘tight racing.’ The 1960s was a time of innovation and experimentation, and if your car was faster and more powerful than the opposition, then so be it…and the crowds loved it.
The 1970s saw the fabulous Porsche 917s, Ferrari 512s, and later the screaming Matras in action together. This was what motor racing was all about, differentiation and pride. In 1980 it was the privateer team of Alain de Cadenet and Desrié Wilson who won at Monza in the De Cadenet Lola Cosworth. But in those days it was still possible for a privateer team to do this. The Group C years were of course the domain of Porsche, but Lancia was always a threat. And then came the Sauber Mercedes and the Jaguars, intent on upsetting the party. These were fantastic years, and the winners were always…, the spectators. The author brings these decades to life through a careful selection of photographs, many of which have not been published before.
Then in the Noughties it was the turn of the mighty Peugeots and Audis to do battle. Again Zana weaves the story and the images together in a most considered manner, allowing the reader to really feel the tension and atmosphere.
Zana has skilfully intertwined the character of sports car racing over the decades with the humanness of the teams and drivers. So, if you are a sports car racing enthusiast, then this superb publication, The Monza 1000km: 1965-2008, should definitely be on your bookshelf. Every so often a book comes along which stands out for reasons of the quality of the content, the way it is presented, and of course the subject matter – this is one of those books. Don’t miss it!
Author: Aldo Zana
Publisher: Giorgio NADA Editore
Dimensions: 150 x 22 x 210mm
Written by: Glen Smale