Luigi Villoresi

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Luigi Villoresi
FIA Super Licence Flag of Italy Italy
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1950 Formula One season - 1956 Formula One season
TeamsFerrari, Maserati, Lancia in Formula One, Scuderia Centro Sud
Races34 (31 starts)
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions0
Career points46 (49)[1]
Pole position0
Fastest lap1
First race1950 Monaco Grand Prix
Last race1956 Italian Grand Prix

Luigi Villoresi (May 16, 1909 - August 24, 1997) was an Italian Grand Prix motor racing driver who continued racing on the Formula One circuit at the time of its inception.



Born in Milan, Lombardy, and nicknamed "Gigi", he was the older brother of race car driver Emilio Villoresi who co-piloted with him in several races at the beginning of their careers. From a prosperous family, Villoresi could afford to buy a car and began competing in local rallies at the age of twenty-two with a Lancia and a few years later acquired a Fiat with which he and his brother Emilio competed in the Mille Miglia. In 1935, he raced in the Coppa Ciano, finishing third and went on to capture the Italian driving championship in the 1100 cc sports car class. The following year he and his brother purchased a Maserati which they drove individually in different races. Emilio was so successful that he was signed to drive an Alfa Romeo in motorsport for Scuderia Ferrari in the 1937 season. Unfortunately, Emilio died while testing an Alfa Romeo factory racer at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

In 1938, Luigi Villoresi became part of the Maserati team, driving the 8CTF model that Maserati had designed to compete with the dominant Germany Silver Arrows. In 1939 he won the South African Grand Prix but the onset of World War II interrupted his racing career. At war's end, he returned to race for Maserati until 1949 when he signed again with Ferrari debuting in Formula One on May 21, 1950.


Villoresi finished 2nd in the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix (motor racing)-President Juan Peron Grand Prix. Alberto Ascari was the winner with a time of 1 hour, 30 minutes, 23.9 seconds, for an average speed of 70.6 miles per hour (113.6 km/h).[2] Villoresi won the first Grand Prix de Bruxelles, beating Alexander Orley of the United States. The winning time was 85 mph (137 km/h) over 188-mile (303 km) distance. Orley was six seconds behind.[3] Louis Rosier was victorious in a blue Talbot, in a 500-kilometre (311 mi) Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, in June 1949. He took the lead following 23 laps and came across the finish line in front of Villoresi.[4] Villoresi was 3rd in a 60-mile (97 km) international race at Silverstone Circuit in September 1949. Italian drivers made a clean sweep of the first three positions with Ascari 1st and Giuseppe Farina 2nd. 100,000 fans looked on. English driver St. John Horsfall died when his car crashed at a turn.[5]

1950 - 1951

Villoresi skidded on oil, penetrated a barrier, and killed three spectators at the Circuit des Nations race in Geneva (Switzerland). Nino Farina impacted Villoresi's car at high speed but was uninjured. Villoresi broke his left leg and suffered head injuries which were treated at a hospital. The Grand Prix of 272 kilometres was won by Juan Manuel Fangio.[6] The 1951 British Grand Prix was taken by Jose Froilan Gonzalez of Argentina. Villoresi finished two laps behind the winner, with an average speed of 95.39 miles per hour (153.52 km/h). Villoresi completed 88 laps, 2 behind Gonzalez.[7]


In July 1952 Villoresi won the 6th Grand Prix de France, at Les Sables d'Olonne, driving a Ferrari. He captured the three hour, 208-mile (335 km) race, with an average speed of 69.3 miles per hour (111.5 km/h).[8] Ferrari achieved a 1,2,3 sweep at the Grand Prix d'France in La Baule, in August 1952. Alberto Ascari was 1st, followed by Villoresi and Rosier. Ascari had already clinched the Formula One World Championship before this event.[9] Villoresi drove a Ferrari to capture the 1952 Grand Prix of Modena in 1:5:21 over a distance of 100 laps, 230.6-kilometre (143 mi) . His average speed was 124.236 km/h (77.197 mph)[10]

1953 - 1954

Villoresi displayed his agility as a driver in the 1953 Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Giuseppe Farina made contact with the Maserati driven by Onofre Marimón as he was approaching the finish line. Villoresi made a brilliant manoeuvre while racing at 100 mph (160 km/h) The crowd came to its feet to witness his quick thinking in pulling his car off the track at great speed. Villoresi then finished 3rd after winner Fangio and Farina, who was two seconds behind at the end. The race marked the first time a Ferrari did not win an event in races counting toward the Formula One World Championship. Fangio drove a Maserati to an average speed of 110 mph (180 km/h) over the 313-mile (504 km) grand prix.[11]

Already 41 years old, Villoresi served as an elder statesman for the F1 team, notably as Alberto Ascari's mentor who became his closest friend. In 1954, he and Ascari joined the new Lancia in Formula One racing team but Ascari's death in the spring of the following year profoundly affected Villoresi and his career went into steep decline.

Villoresi was critically injured while testing a Lancia Aurelia near Rimini, Italy in April 1954. He was riding with his mechanic when he skidded while attempting to avoid a Fiat driving in the opposite direction. Both Villoresi and his mechanic were pinned beneath the Lancia. A group of farmers came to their aid, using oxen to lift the car. Both men remained conscious. Villoresi sustained a number of deep head wounds, facial lacerations, and bruises all over his body. He was listed in serious, but not critical condition.[12]

1955 - 1958

Villoresi was 3rd after Ascari and Luigi Musso in the May 1955 Naples Grand Prix, a 153.5 miles (247.0 km) event. Villoresi was in a Lancia.[13]

He wrecked his car in the 1956 Grand Prix of Rome, a 2-Litre sports car event. The race was won by Jean Behra in a Maserati.[14]

Villoresi was one of 9 drivers, from a starting field of 303, in a January 1958 Monte Carlo auto rally, who completed the first leg of the rigorous touring car event, without incurring a penalty. The 1,900-mile (3,060 km) endurance event featured cars from 8 different European starting locales. 72 survivors crossed the finish line but 13 were disqualified because of lateness. The 59 who remained from the opening round faced a 655-mile (1,054 km), 22 hour portion, extending from Monte Carlo through the maritime Alps. Villoresi drove a Lancia.[15]

Villoresi retired from Grand Prix racing in 1957 after 31 Formula One championship starts without a victory but made it to the podium eight times while scoring a total of 49 championship points. Villoresi continued rally racing and won the Acropolis Rally in Greece in 1958 before retiring to a home in Modena.

Luigi Villoresi died in 1997 at the age of eighty-eight.

Major victories

  • Alsace Grand Prix 1947
  • British Grand Prix 1948
  • Coppa Acerbo 1938
  • Coppa Edda Ciano 1938
  • Dutch Grand Prix 1949
  • Grand Prix d'Albigeois 1938, 1948
  • Grand Prix de Bruxelles 1949
  • Grand Prix du Comminges 1948
  • Grand Prix de Marseilles 1950, 1951
  • Gran Premio de Modena 1952
  • Grand Prix de Nice 1946, 1947
  • Grand Prix de Nîmes 1947
  • Grand Prix de Pau 1951
  • Grand Prix of Naples 1948
  • Gran Premio del Valentino 1952
  • Interlagos Grand Prix 1949
  • Lausanne Grand Prix 1947
  • Mille Miglia 1951
  • Penya Rhin Grand Prix 1948
  • Buenos Aires Grand Prix (motor racing)-General Juan Perón Grand Prix 1947, 1948
  • Buenos Aires Grand Prix (motor racing)-Eva Duarte Perón Grand Prix 1947, 1948
  • Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix 1949
  • Giro de Sicilia 1953
  • Syracuse Grand Prix 1951
  • South African Grand Prix 1939
  • Targa Florio 1939, 1940
  • Tripoli Grand Prix 1937
  • Zandvoort Grand Prix 1949

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(F1 driver results legend 2) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points[1]
1950 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 1950 British Grand Prix
1950 Monaco Grand Prix
1950 Indianapolis 500
1950 Swiss Grand Prix
1950 Belgian Grand Prix
1950 French Grand Prix
1950 Italian Grand Prix
NC 0
1951 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 375 Ferrari V12 1951 Swiss Grand Prix
1951 Indianapolis 500
1951 Belgian Grand Prix
1951 French Grand Prix
1951 British Grand Prix
1951 German Grand Prix
1951 Italian Grand Prix
1951 Spanish Grand Prix
5th 15 (18)
1952 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 1952 Swiss Grand Prix
1952 Indianapolis 500
1952 Belgian Grand Prix
1952 French Grand Prix
1952 British Grand Prix
1952 German Grand Prix
1952 Dutch Grand Prix
1952 Italian Grand Prix
8th 8
1953 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 500 Ferrari Straight-4 1953 Argentine Grand Prix
1953 Indianapolis 500
1953 Dutch Grand Prix
1953 Belgian Grand Prix
1953 French Grand Prix
1953 British Grand Prix
1953 German Grand Prix
8 *
1953 Swiss Grand Prix
1953 Italian Grand Prix
5th 17
1954 Formula One season Maserati Maserati Maserati 250F Maserati
1954 Argentine Grand Prix
1954 Indianapolis 500
1954 Belgian Grand Prix
1954 French Grand Prix
1954 British Grand Prix
Ret *
1954 German Grand Prix
1954 Swiss Grand Prix
1954 Italian Grand Prix
20th 2
Lancia in Formula One Lancia in Formula One Lancia D50 Lancia in Formula One V8 1954 Spanish Grand Prix
1955 Formula One season Lancia in Formula One Lancia in Formula One Lancia D50 Lancia in Formula One V8 1955 Argentine Grand Prix
1955 Monaco Grand Prix
1955 Indianapolis 500
1955 Belgian Grand Prix
1955 Dutch Grand Prix
1955 British Grand Prix
1955 Italian Grand Prix
20th 2
1956 Formula One season Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati
Maserati 250F
1956 Argentine Grand Prix
1956 Monaco Grand Prix
1956 Indianapolis 500
1956 Belgian Grand Prix
22nd 2
Luigi Piotti 1956 French Grand Prix
1956 British Grand Prix
1956 German Grand Prix
Maserati 1956 Italian Grand Prix
Ret †
* Indicates shared drive with Alberto Ascari
† Indicates shared drive with Joakim Bonnier

Indy 500 results

Year Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1946 Indianapolis 500 52 28 121.249 18 7 200 0 Running
Totals 200 0
Starts 1
Poles 0
Front Row 0
Wins 0
Top 5 0
Top 10 1
Retired 0


  1. 1.0 1.1 Up until 1990 Formula One season, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see List of Formula One World Championship pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  2. Peron Race To Italian Driver, New York Times, January 31, 1949, Page 25.
  3. Villoresi Beats Orley In Brussels Auto Race, New York Times, May 22, 1949, Page S10.
  4. Rosier Captures Auto Race, New York Times, June 20, 1949, Page 24.
  5. Italians Win Auto Race; British Pilot Is Killed, New York Times, August 21, 1949, Page S3.
  6. 3 Auto Race Fans Killed, New York Times, July 31, 1950, Page 23.
  7. Gonzales Home First, New York Times, July 15, 1951, Page S3.
  8. Italian Cops Grand Prix, Los Angeles Times, July 14, 1952, Page C14.
  9. Ascari Triumphs in Final Grand Prix, Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1952, Page C2.
  10. Villoresi Captures Grand Prix of Modena, Los Angeles Times, September 15, 1952, Page C4.
  11. Fangio Captures Italian Auto Race, New York Times, September 14, 1953, Page 33.
  12. Racing Driver Injured, New York Times, April 21, 1954, Page 37.
  13. Naples Race To Ascari, May 9, 1955, Page 30.
  14. Frenchman Wins Rome Grand Prix, Los Angeles Times, October 22, 1956, Page C5.
  15. Nine Drivers Avoid Penalties In Rally, New York Times, January 25, 1958, Page 23.
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