Local boy Nino Vaccarella wrestled his big Ferrari into third place around the ‘Piccolo Madonie’ circuit in 1970…
Sensational Rainer Schlegelmilch shot captures the very essence of Targa, its geography and contrast of tradition and contemporary technology.
Porsche had ‘the game covered’ in 1970/71, they had the nimble, light 908/3 for Targa and the Nurburgring and the legendary 917 for power circuits such as Le Mans, Daytona and Monza. Brian Redman and Jo Siffert won the race in a 908/3 from Pedro Rodriguez and Leo Kinnunen in the other JW Automotive Porsche.
Ferrari only entered one factory car, Vaccarella partnered by compatriot Ignazio Giunti, a promising driver who made his F1 debut with Ferrari in 1970. He perished in a tragic accident in Argentina in 1971 when his Ferrari 312P (sports car) ran into the back of Jean Pierre Beltiose’ Matra 660 which he was pushing along the track, having run out of fuel.
Nino Vaccarella was a good bet for the win though, a local, he grew up in Palermo and knew the circuit ‘like the back of his hand’. He started the season well winning the Sebring 12 Hour with Giunti, and Mario Andretti. He won Targa thrice; in 1965 in a Ferrari 275 P2 and in 1971 in an Alfa T33/3. His final win was in an Alfa TT12 after Targa became a National Italian event, Targa losing its championship status after 1973 when the cars simply became too quick for the circuit on Sicilian open roads…not too quick for an Italian event however!
Vaccarella also had some Grand Prix experience, his best GP result ninth in the 1962 Italian Grand Prix in a privately entered Lotus 24 Climax.
Predominantly a Sports Car Driver, he also won the 1964 Le Mans 24 Hour Classic sharing a Ferrari 275 P with Jean Guichet and the Nurburgring 1000Km with Ludovico Scarfiotti in another 275P.
He is still alive and well living in Sicily.
Rainer Schlegelmilch, The Cahier Archive, Pinterest