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  Ferrari 250 TR59/60

  Article Image gallery (35) Chassis (2) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1959 - 1960
Numbers built:3 (converted from TR59s)
Designed by:Pinin Farina / Fantuzzi
Predecessor:Ferrari 250 TR59
Successor:Ferrari 250 TRI61
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 08, 2011
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe new racer was announced at the company's traditional November press conference. Following Ferrari's naming policy the 250 TR name was not a surprise; the 250 indicated the unitary displacement and the Testa Rossa, or red (cylinder) head, suffix was carried over from the previous series of customer racers. The British press had a field day bashing the 250 TR for being too elaborate and obsolete from the start with its heavy chassis, ancient engine and drum brakes. Although it might not have been as advanced as Britain's racers, there was little doubt in Maranello that the sturdy 250 TR would be running long after the fragile Coopers and Lotuses had retired. The few remaining critics were quickly silenced after Ferrari started off the 1958 season in dominating fashion with victories in the Buenos Aires and Sebring rounds of the season. The lengthy preparation and development had paid off and the reliability was bullet proof. Sadly Ferrari was the only manufacturer with a racer built specifically for the new regulations and the only competition came from an aging and privately entered Maserati 300 S. The fierce battle of 1957 had proven too much for Ferrari's arch rival who had withdrawn after the devastating season's finale in Caracas, Venezuela.

Back in Europe stronger opposition was expected in the upcoming championship rounds from works and customer Aston Martins. The new 3 litre DBR1 racer in particular proved to be a worthy adversary at the hands of Stirling Moss, for as long as its fragile David Brown gearbox would allow for. A genuine season hat-trick was scored at the Targa Florio where the Musso and Gendebien entered TR scored the third victory. At the fourth round of the season, the Nürburgring 1000 km, Ferrari was forced by the organizers to run an inferior brand of fuel. Despite threats from Enzo to withdraw his racers, the Germans did not change their minds and the mechanics were forced to make last minute modifications to the seven 250 TRs present. Despite the changes the V12 engines did not cope with the fuel mixture effectively, leaving the victory for Aston Martin. A second place finish for the fastest Ferrari was however sufficient to clinch the world championship once more. All eyes were now on Le Mans where works and customer racers were aiming to score Ferrari's third victory in the legendary endurance race. Easily identifiable by the enveloping body, the works racers were referred to as TR58 to distinguish them from the customer TRs. Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien carefully and quickly piloted their TR58 to a well deserved victory with the closest competition a dozen laps or 100 miles behind.

Shortly after the convincing Le Mans victory, work was started to continue the TR's dominance. After 19 examples were completed, production of the customer cars was dropped to fully focus on the works effort. In the following years the old works racers would be passed over to the company's most prominent privateers. With these ex-works and the pontoon fendered racers many more (class) victories were scored in minor races. Much of the development work was focused on adopting the racer to the newly acquired Dunlop disc brakes. Little was changed to the engine, although power was up to 306 by adopting coil valve springs, and it was mounted four inches to the left in the chassis in line with a new Colotti designed five speed gearbox. Pininfarina penned a new enveloping body, which was constructed by Fantuzzi, relieving Scaglietti who were pre-occupied with constructing road car bodies. All the work resulted in the TR59, which was considerably lighter and slightly more powerful than its predecessor. With the Argentinean race in Buenos Aires dropped from the calendar there was plenty of time for the new season opener at Sebring. Notoriously heavy on the brakes, it was the ideal location to give the new disc setup a proper test. Teething problems did hamper the entered cars, but it was not enough to prevent the TR59 to score a one-two win at its debut.

In most of the European rounds of the championship the Aston Martin works team was present in force and Porsche's nimble racers also formed an increasing threat. The first cracks in the TR's dominance were revealed at the Targa Florio, where the TR59's were beaten both in pace and reliability. The layout of the new five speed gearbox did not suit the low speed track and destroyed the differential on all three entries, leaving an easy victory for Porsche. The gearbox proved troublesome at Le Mans again, but for different reasons. Although the April test days had shown the cars to be under-geared, there surprisingly had been no adjustments made for the race, so the driver's were told to back off on the straights. Before the race the drivers were told to rev the engines no higher than 7500 rpm, but as soon as the flag dropped they all seemed to have forgotten the team leader's instruction. After a poor start, Jean Behra had stormed to the lead, continuously recording faster lap times. At his first pit stop the telltale needle on his rev counter showed 9300 rpm and ten hours into the race he was out. His team mates also ignored the instruction and with four hours to go all three works cars were out of the race. After the Nürburgring win a few weeks earlier, Aston Martin finally added the much desired Le Mans race to their victory tally. Although a privately entered 250 GT scored valuable points for Ferrari, it proved to be insufficient to keep the British team from the world championship.

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  Article Image gallery (35) Chassis (2) Specifications