The 1951 running of the British Grand Prix marked the first time that Scuderia Ferrari took home a race victory in Formula 1. The Prancing Horse celebrated the 70th anniversary of this milestone last weekend at Silverstone, restoring the very 375 F1 racer which saw the podium that day. Now, we have a chance to watch Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc get behind the wheel of the team’s first race day winner.
The Ferrari 375 F1 is a glorious reminder of the early days of Grand Prix racing. The controls seem almost ancient by today’s standards, with a central-mounted gas pedal and a right-side brake. Its big 4.5-liter Lampredi V-12 is also a blast from the past, capable of producing a stout 350 hp. Not a huge amount of power by today’s standards, but the 375 F1 weighs in at just 1230 pounds. Combine the big V-12 with those skinny tires and giant steering wheel, and it’s no surprise the 375 F1 is a bit of a handful. Regardless, the 375 F1 proved capable enough to give Ferrari its first pole position and race victory, both with José Froilán González strapped inside. Following the monumental showing at Silverstone, the 375 F1 would go on to take wins at both the Nürburgring and Monza in 1951. Ferrari had officially arrived as a dominant contender in motorsports.
After a bit of a shakedown, Leclerc was treated to a few laps of Silverstone in this piece of automotive history. The laps themselves don’t look particularly spirited, but Leclerc was adamant that he pushed the car to some extent. The racer would later note how psychical the experience was, explaining that his hands were already sore after a few laps. Leclerc also explained that despite the lower speeds involved, the sense of danger inside the 375 F1 was front and center to the experience. Of course, right alongside that glorious exhaust note.
The last time the Ferrari 375 came out to play at Silverstone was in 2011. Fernando Alonso was behind the wheel that time around, and it proved to be a bit of a good luck charm. Following the stint in the 375, Alonso went on to win the British Grand Prix. Leclerc looked poised to repeat history this past weekend, but alas it wasn’t in the cards. Lewis Hamilton passed Leclerc with two laps to go, leaving Ferrari as the runner-up on the podium. Not exactly the 70th anniversary Ferrari was hoping for, but at least we got some awesome clips of the 375 F1 in action.
From: Road & Track
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