Piero Taruffi

Not exactly a regular, in fact Piero only drove a 500 race once, at Brands Hatch in May 1951 but an amusing aside. Taruffi had constructed the twin-torpedo Tarf in record attempts in 1948 and was very interested in the technical aspects of driving so a small motorcycle engined car that out handled the GP cars would undoubtedly interest him. One of the Coopers, probably John, was a huge fan. Quite how the idea of a race came about is unclear but Raymond Sommer had already "tried-and-buyed" and Coopers were making an impression on the continent.

A Cooper Mk V was  provided by Charles Cooper and Piero finished third in his heat of the Open Challenge Race and fourth in his heat for the International Trophy. Very respectable performances for a newcomer to 500cc racing, in a quality field, which included Don Parker, Alan Brown, Eric Brandon and Bernie Ecclestone.

Taruffi was also down to drive two days later in the International Trophy at Goodwood. Probably in John Cooper's car. The blazer boys of the BARC decided that having never driven at the circuit, and failing to complete his mandatory rookie laps, Taruffi was not experienced enough to race so that was that!

In October 1953, Piero used the twin boom Tarf-Gilera to set a series of 500cc Class I records. Unfortunately for him, Arnott's record attempts at Montlhéry were delayed until the end of the month so both Piero's and John Cooper's records were short lived.

Piero with 'Arry and Spike

Piero Taruffi was born in Rome in October 1906. He won his first race on two wheels at the age of 19 years and continued to achieve another twenty two wins out of forty one starts. Among these were the 1928 Royal GP of Rome on a Norton 500. As well as racing, he broke a total of thirty eight world records. His record on four wheels is even greater with forty four wins in one hundred and thirty six races, including sharing with Stirling Moss, Jean Behra and Harry Schell to take the 100K at the Nürburgring and also the 1957 Mille Miglia. At various times he was a member of the Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Mercedes works teams.

Off the circuit, Taruffi was technical director for Gilera prior to the war and Racing Director for Cisitalia post war before returning to Gilera. In 1958, he published "The Technique of Motor Racing" still the definitive work on the skills and abilities required to successfully race cars.

Piero Taruffi died in 1988.

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