DRIVERS: LUIGI MUSSO

Name: Luigi Musso
Nationality: Italy
Date of birth: July 28, 1924 - Rome, Italy
Date of death: July 6, 1958 - Reims, France

The youngest of three racing brothers, Musso was the son of a wealthy Italian diplomat. Luigi was a gentleman sportsman, enjoying shooting, fencing and horse riding. He was passionate about cars from an early age and was inspired by his brothers' racing activities. They would not let him race their cars and so he bought a small 750cc Giannini car and entered it in the Tour of Italy in 1950. This adventure ended when he crashed into a monument to Garibaldi. It was not until 1952 that he convinced one of his brothers to lend him a Stranguellini that he began to show his true potential and his big break came the following year when Maserati decided to offer three young drivers the chance to drive sportscars: Musso, Sergio Mantovani and Emilio Giletti were chosen and Musso became the Italian two-liter sportscar champion as a result. He had his first runs in a Maserati Grand Prix car at the end of 1953. He did international sportscar events in 1954 but raced F1 on occasion, notably in Spain where he finished second. He continued with Maserati in 1955 and became the Italian Champion but decided to switch to Ferrari in 1956 and shared victory in Argentina with Juan-Manuel Fangio. He was second in the Sebring 12 Hours and third on the Mille Miglia but then had a big accident in a sportscar race at the Nurburgring which left him weak. He recovered by the autumn and at Monza refused to hand over his car to Fangio at the Italian GP. He was on course for victory when his car failed just three laps from the finish.

He stayed with Ferrari in 1957 winning the Buenos Aires 1000 sportscar race and competing in several Grands Prix. The death of Eugenio Castellotti that year left him as the only top line Italian driver. He won the Targa Florio that year and became a regular member of the Ferrari F1 team again. At the French Grand Prix he was chasing after his team mate Mike Hawthorn when he went off into a ditch and was thrown from the car. He was seriously injured and died later that day in hospital in Reims.

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