Teams Clemente Biondetti
Races: 1By Jeremy McMullenPage: << prev 1 2 3
In the final, Farina and Biondetti were the best starting voiturettes as it was Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union in the first two rows and sandwiched between Farina and Biondetti on row three. Despite the formidable picture, the odds were leveled a bit as the rains came and made the track incredibly slippery. Farina held many of the more powerful grand prix cars at bay for many laps until it stopped raining and the track began to dry. Biondetti drove the best he could against the more powerful machines and ended the race in 2nd among the voiturettes behind Farina. Overall, Clemente finished the race in 9th place.
With the outbreak of World War II, and its ever increasing global scale, Biondetti only was able to compete in one race in 1940 before the hostilities brought an end to all racing. In May, Clemente competed in the Grand Prix of Tripoli, once again driving for Alfa Corse. Only days before, the German assault of Western Europe had begun. Putting politics and wars behind him, Clemente, at the wheel of his Alfa 158, qualified 2nd for the race. Farina had taken pole once again. The race proved to be another dominant performance by Alfa Corse as Farina won the race with Biondetti finishing 2nd, about 30 seconds behind and Trossi in 3rd, another 20+ seconds further back.
With the Germans assault on Western Europe, the war had now become a world war, and this meant all racing ceased until around 1946. Like fine wine, Clemente was getting better with age, but unfortunately the war would interrupt the process. Clemente would not take part in another race until September 1946. But, Clemente would come roaring back proving to get better with age. And as a result, Clemente's reputation would become firmly cemented into the record books.
With the cessation of hostilities, the urge for many to quickly get back behind the wheel of a race car was undeniable. Many drivers had lost out precious competitive years and wanted to make the most of what talent they still had left. Biondetti was one of them, but Clemente proved to actually get better with age. He just had to find the right form of racing to focus on.
Despite the result, Biondetti would experience a turnaround in his career that many only dream about when they are pushing 50 years of age.
In June the next year, Clemente competed in his one and only race, the Mille Miglia sports car race. This was a one lap, 1,135 mile race around Italy. Biondetti was one of 153 starters for the race. Biondetti, and his co-driver Emilio Romano, started the race from the 149th starting spot in an Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B. The two drove a splendid race and ended up finishing the race in 1st place! Tazio Nuvolari and co-driver Francesco Carena were 2nd.
| This began a string of three-straight sports car victories. The next one came the next year in April of 1948, the Targa Florio. This race was one lap on a course that covered almost 670 miles. Biondetti and co-driver Igor Troubetskoy, driving for Scuderia Inter in a Ferrari 166S, ended up winning the race. They covered the distance in a little over 12 hours and at an average speed of just over 55mph. Out of 83 starters there were only 33 still running at the end.|
A month later, Biondetti took part in the Mille Miglia sports car race once again. Driving a Ferrari 166S coupe Allemano for Scuderia Ferrari, Biondetti and co-driver Guiseppe Navone were one of 189 entrants for the race. Once again, Biondetti proved a master at the endurance sports car races as he and Navone won the 1,139 mile race. The two covered the distance in a little over 15 hours and at an average speed of around 75mph.
Who can argue with royalty? At the end of May, Clemente took part in the Stockholm Grand Prix, a Formula 2 race in Stockholm, Sweden. The race consisted of 67 laps of a 1 mile road circuit. Biondetti, drove the race in a Ferrari 166SC for Scuderia Ferrari and was initially declared the winner of the race after Prince Bira received a push at the start from the Prince of Sweden. However, a year later, the victory was handed back to Bira and Biondetti had to settle for 2nd.
After a DNF at the Circuito di Pescara sports car race, Clemente again drove for Scuderia Ferrari in a Formula 2 race. The race was the Parco delle Cascine held in Firenze, Italy. Teamed with Raymond Sommer, the two dominated the race for Scuderia Ferrari. Sommer won the race with Biondetti finishing in 2nd one lap down. The last race Biondetti competed in his very successful 1948 campaign was the Formula One non-championship race, the Circuito di Garda, in Garda, Italy. The race was contested over 18 laps of the over 10 mile long circuit. By the time of this race, Clemente was over 50 years old. Despite having an incredibly successful 1948, Biondetti was not able to finish his last race of that year as he was relieved by Ferdinando Righetti, who then finished the race in 6th place. The duo ended up the race as the last car race winner Farina had not passed.
In 1949, Biondetti started out with two highlights. In March, Clemente once again competed in the Targa Florio, otherwise also known as the Giro di Sicilia. Paired with Benedetti, Clemente, at the age of 50, won, beating out over 150 other entrants.
This successful result was soon followed up at the Mille Miglia. Driving for Ferrari, in the new Ferrari 166MM, Clemente and co-driver Salani, faced-off against 300 other entrants over the distance of 996 miles. The new 166MM (the MM stood for Mille Miglia) was lighter but also wider to help make the car more stable. Biondetti ran 3rd early on in the race. Taruffi led Biondetti by over 6 minutes until his transmission failed. Biondetti inherited the lead and would go on to win an unprecedented fourth Mille Miglia. Clemente completed the distance in just over 12 hours at a winning speed of 82mph. Interesting note is that the same car Biondetti drove to win the race was later driven to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1950.
For competition in the 1949 grand prix season Biondetti switched to drive his own race car. He also switched to a Maserati chassis. Unfortunately, the double switch seemed to prove too much as Clemente never had a result at any race throughout the year better than his 9th place at the Gran Premio del General Juan Peron held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the year Biondetti drove mostly either his own Maserati A6GCS or a Maserati 4CLT.
Biondetti started the 1950 season off early, along with many other drivers who would play huge parts in Formula One's first official season. Clemente stayed in Argentina to Compete in the Gran Premio de Eva Duarte Peron in January of 1950. Villoresi, Fangio, Farina, Rosier, Parnell and others were all there. The race took part on a 3 mile course and was 35 laps in entirety. Clemente finished the race one lap down in 11th.
Biondetti followed this race with a 7th place at the Gran Premio del General San Martin, which took place in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. Once again, Biondetti drove his own Maserati 4CLT. Alberto Ascari won the race in his Ferrari 166.
Another week later, Clemente competed in the Coppa Accion de San Lorenzo in Rosario, Argentina. Unfortunately for Biondetti, he was not able to make it to the finish in his Maserati 4CLT.
Coming back to the European mainland, Clemente drove for Luigi de Filippis in a Maserati 4CLT/48 for the non-championship Grand Prix of San Remo. The race was filled with the main competitors of Formula One's first season, including Fangio in his Alfa Romeo 158 and Villoresi and Ascari in a Ferrari 125. The gearbox on Biondetti's Maserati broke unfortunately, and after only 8 laps of the 90 scheduled.
From May until August of 1950 Clemente competed in three races. He would drive his own Ferrari 166CS in two of them and drove a Maserati 4CLT/48 for Luigi de Filippis in the other. Of the three races Biondetti contested his best result was 6th at the non-championship Circuito di Bari race in July.
By the time of Biondetti's only appearance in Formula One Clemente was already 52 years old and it was obvious his best years were behind him despite his performances in 1948 at the age of 50. Formula One competed on a world stage and it was becoming harder and harder to continue without major backing from factory efforts. It thus became harder for older drivers as those factory efforts were looking for younger talent that could prove successful for years, not just one or two races. The writing was on the wall for Biondetti's career and he knew it.
At the Grand Prix of Italy at Monza, Clemente arrived with his own Ferrari 166T with a Jaguar engine. Biondetti started the race from the 25th starting spot. When the green lights came on Biondetti was 52 years of age. However, in an appropriate picture of Clemente's age and career, 17 laps into the race the Jaguar engine in Clemente's Ferrari expired. Clemente's chapter in Formula One history thus came to an end.
Clemente would continue to race and showed he still had great ability in sports cars when, in 1952 at the age of 54, he would go on to finish 2nd at the 12 hours of Pescara. He achieved this result competing against drivers that were much younger than he.
Clemente had to face his toughest competition yet when he contracted cancer. The effects of the cancer caused Biondetti to have to retire from racing in 1954. Unfortunately for Clemente, the cancer proved to be too tough of a competitor to beat, and in 1955 Clemente passed away at his home in Florence at the age of 57.
Biondetti had many experiences in motor racing and in many different forms. Clemente's career in grand prix racing was long but not very noteworthy. However, Biondetti's performances in sports cars in the later years of his life proved to be the stuff legends are made of. When it seemed the good years were past Clemente, he proved the general consensus to be wrong. Clemente ended up winning the Mille Miglia four times and won three of the four in consecutive years! He also won the Targa Florio back-to back in 1948 and 49! Biondetti proved to be one of the greats of racing with his unprecedented success in sports cars and offered Formula One history another great story to add to its legend.Page: << prev 1 2 3 Sources:
Snellman, Leif, 'Clemente Biondetti' (http://www.kolumbus.fi/leif.snellman/db.htm). The Golden Era of GP Racing. http://www.kolumbus.fi/leif.snellman/db.htm. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
'Drivers: Clemente Biondetti' (http://www.ultimateracinghistory.com/racelist2.php?uniqid=1905) Ultimateracinghistory.com. http://www.ultimateracinghistory.com/racelist2.php?uniqid=1905. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
'1949 Mille Miglia' (http://www.ddavid.com/formula1/mille_miglia_1949.htm) Mille Miglia. http://www.ddavid.com/formula1/mille_miglia_1949.htm. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
'Drivers: Clemente Biondetti' (http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/drv-biocle.html). Grandprix.com GP Encyclopedia. http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/drv-biocle.html. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Clemente Biondetti', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 April 2010, 14:05 UTC,
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Clemente_Biondetti&oldid=358650945 accessed 2 June 2010