Photo: Gherardo Benfenati

Anyone who is Italian or likes « things » Italian knows about one of Italy’s, and the world’s most renowned names, Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari created a mystique around his creations, almost as if they were from another world. Each “creation” with the “Prancing Horse” logo on it was the ultimate machine, with many hours of craftsmanship, design and engineering. Art and science, alchemically coming together to elevate Ferrari beyond exceptional; they were true works of art. It is with this premise in mind that the Ferrari 312B came into the world.

Paolo Barilla, who is heir to the Barilla family of the wellknown and most sold pasta in the world had a few dollars to spare and, having had a short career as a Formula One driver, bought himself a 1970 Ferrari 312B F1 race car designed and engineered by Mauro Forghieri, the Scuderia’s chief engineer for the longest time back in the sixties and seventies. For Paolo, this became a project in itself; to reunite the car and its creator for the ultimate ride; a chance to drive the 312B at the Historics Grand Prix in Monaco. To record the journey of the restoration and eventual race of this historic GP, Barilla hired Andrea Marini to direct a documentary for posterity, but mostly to be enjoyed and shared with those passionate about racing and the appreciation of the creative process behind such an endeavour.

It is an extraordinary story and it situates Formula One in a time, “where the revolution begins”, because of the innovative “flat engine” that was used in this car. The power unit, later to be badged a “boxer’ engine was actually developed for military use in the wings of U.S. Air Force planes. No one had even made an engine of the sort, and being flat (opposed pistons), it didn’t take up much vertical space, hence the true beginnings of aerodynamics in F1. In 1968, Formula One cars grew wings but it wasn’t until the Ferrari 312B that the whole car became an aerodynamic entity in itself.

The film cast includes past F1 drivers and champions such as Jacky Ickx, Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart, Damon Hill, Grehard Berger along with engineer Mauro Forghieri and F1 experts Nigel Roebuck, Bob Costanduros and Giorgio Terruzzi. The film was shown for only one day in Montreal and only three days in Italy. For those who saw it, it was a wonderful drive down memory lane and we can only hope that the producers will be coming out with the DVD version. On top of a story well told this would make for a great Christmas gift for all lovers of Ferrari and Italian ingenuity.