Gran Premio Vendimia, Mendoza 1962
Posted 25 March 2013 - 19:52
Yes, that was in the year when the new Mecanica Nacional Formula 1 took over generally, but this event was still held to the older Mecanica Nacional Fuerza Libre rules. In the GP Vendimia, held at the Parque General San Martin circuit at Mendoza on May 6th, 1962, Gonzalez' famous former mount was driven by Albert Rodriguez Larreta. According to Carozzo's biography on Gonzalez, "Larry" did win that race ... Anybody around who does know more and can tell us??? Many, many thanks in advance!
Posted 28 March 2013 - 11:40
Rodriguez Larreta was the winner at Mendoza on 06/05/1962 in the Gonzalez Ferrari-Chevrolet.
At the time Mecanica Nacional racing was in serious decline along with sports-car racing. Turismo Carretera ruled the roost with Series Touring cars becoming popular.
The races at Mendoza took the usual format with a heat for Fuerza Libre and one for the Fuerza Limitada cars. Both heats counted for their respective championships.
The Libre race over 25 laps was won by Alberto J Rodriguez Larreta in 32' 27.8 at a speed of 122.876 kph, second was Ramon Carlos Requejo in his own copy of a Ferrari powered by a Corvette engine just under 10 seconds behind. Luis Niemitz was third in a Chevrolet-Wayne (as you know, the Argentines often referred to cars by their engine rather than their chassis) one lap down, fourth was Domingo Di Santo in a Plas (sic) Special and fifth, 3 laps down, Osvaldo Bonetto in a Rio Cuarto Special. During this race Domingo Pacutti (Chevrolet Wayne) lost control of his car and went into the crowd. Six people were seriously injured including a 5 year old boy.
In the Limitada race, also over 25 laps, Armando Ferraro (Plymouth) won in 34' 02.7, 116.528 kph, followed by Hector Piano (Dodge), Jose Raponi (Plymouth) 24 laps, Osvaldo Sotro (Ford T), 24 laps and Horacio Santos Liquido (Studebaker) completing 23 laps.
After two Series Touring races, the titled race - the XX Premio Vendimia - over 20 laps was held for the fastest cars from both heats. Larreta again won easily in 26' 24.0 ( no speed given) some 16 seconds in front of Requejo and Niemitz with Ferraro in his Limitada car 4th in front of Di Santo.
Larreta used the Ferrari in other races and later in the year had a battle at Buenos Aires with two other Ferrari-Chevrolets driven by the Uruguayans Alberico Passadore and Oscar Gonzalez finishing second to Passadore.
Posted 01 April 2013 - 16:33
Yes, during the early 1960s Mecanica Nacional was in deep crisis. According to Alfredo Parga, the main reason was a loss of balance between the cost of machinery and the prize-money made available in the races. Surely the constant influx of imported Ferraris and Maserati chassis played a role in the rise of cost, but the Argentine racing authorities sought the way out elsewhere: For 1962 the engine capacity in the top class of Mecanica Nacional was limited for the first time (to 4020 cc, I think) and the class was renamed as Mecanica Nacional Formula 1! The immediate effect of the limitation was that the most successful engine of the last years of Mecanica Nacional Fuerza Libre, the Chevrolet Corvette V8, was now ruled out.
Here your comprehensive note on the Mendoza race comes in: with the explicit mention of a Libre and a Limitada race and Corvette-powered cars both for Rodriguez Larreta and Requejo, my suspicion the race was still held to the old rules is finally confirmed!
However, I have serious doubts about the claim they counted for the respective championships. I'm sure that this is a direct translation from the original report, but I have never seen any contextual evidence for a championship for the 'old' classes in 1962 ...
For Argentine senior single-seater racing in 1962, first I know about the new Mecanica Nacional Formula 1 championship, which comprised five races:
19 August 1962, Marcos Juarez, won by Domingo Di Santo (Pian-Chevrolet)
2 September 1962, Rafaela (the 500 Millas Argentinas), won by Ramon Requejo (Requejo-Chevrolet)
7 October 1962, Sunchales, won by Remigio Caldara (Campetelli & Montalenti-Chevrolet)
11 November 1962, Santa Fe, won by Ramon Requejo (Requejo-Chevrolet)
25 November 1962, Rosario, won by Ramon Requejo (Requejo-Chevrolet).
Based on these races, the champion was Ramon Requejo.
Second, as you said, there was the Premio Primavera at Buenos Aires on 30 September, the Argentine round of the Torneo Rioplatense. This little international race series with two rounds in El Pinar/Uruguay and Buenos Aires/Argentina is what remained from the Tornero Triangular after the Brasilians opted out the year before. The races were held to Mecanica Nacional Fuerza Libre rules, and both times 'Larry' with the Gonzalez Ferrari-Corvette was overwhelmed by Uruguayan Ferrari-Corvettes: the first round at El Pinar on 15 April was won by Carlos Danvila, whith Borrat Quartino and Rodriguez Larreta second and third.
Against that background, the XX GP Vendimia at Mendoza seems to me rather a one-off non-championship event, held to the old rules simply to bridge the time until the late start of the Mecanica Nacional Formula 1 championship. Or does somebody know about more races held to old rules in 1962 or later, both in Argentina or Uruguay?
To finish, a few remarks (please, don't get it wrong!) on some persons and cars in your note: Di Santo, I would think, was in his Pian-Chevrolet, the 'Rio Cuarto Especial' was a one-off two-seater build by Remigio Caldara, who used it to win the Mecanica Nacional Fuerza Limitada championship in 1953, the accident driver was surely Domingo Pascutti and I strongly guess the name of the driver finishing 4th in the Limitada class was Orlando Sotro.
Many, many thanks again!
Edited by O Volante, 01 April 2013 - 16:34.