24h Le Mans
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest remembers Nino Vaccarella
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is saddened to learn of the death of 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Nino Vaccarella (Ferrari).
Born on 4 March 1933 in Palermo, Nino Vaccarella's passion for motorsport matched his love for teaching in his native Sicily. He became one of the best sports car and prototype drivers of the 1960s and 1970s.
Vaccarella took his rookie start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1961 with Maserati, representing Count Volpi di Misurata's team. In 11 participations, he drove a Ferrari six times and finished the race for the first time the winner in 1964.
The year, he became a factory Ferrari driver and joined forces with Frenchman Jean Guichet, himself an amateur auto racing enthusiast. After qualifying in seventh position at the 1964 24 Hours at the wheel of the #20 Ferrari 275 P, they climbed to the third spot in the second hour before definitively taking the lead by mid-race, establishing at the finish a new distance record (4,965 km at an average 195 kph). Jean Guichet: "Nino and I got to know each other during the races we both did and became friends. We always agreed not to push our car passed its limit and we got along very well." Vaccarella reunited with Guichet in 1969 with a Matra prototype and finished fifth.
For his final 24 Hours in 1972, he finished fourth at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo along with Andera de Adamich. During his career, Vaccarella teamed up with a few future Le Mans winners: Pedro Rodríguez (seventh in 1965), Ludovico Scarfiotti and Chris Amon. He also triumphed at other prestigious endurance races like the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 1000km Nürburgring and the Targa Florio, a road circuit in his native Sicily.
Like his teammate and friend Jean Guichet, with whom he shared a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nino Vaccarella will always be considered a quintessential gentleman driver and an enthusiast whose talent equaled those of the top professionals of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest extends its sincerest condolences to Nino Vaccarella's family and loves ones.