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Tazio Nuvolari: The great champion

The Italian was one of the first motorsport idols. He excelled in the Grand Prix competitions, which preceded the Formula 1 World Championship. Fierce, fast and temperamental, he left his mark and is still remembered for this today.

Over the years motorsports have been nurtured by great drivers. Each and everyone has well earned the place they occupy, however there are some who exceeded the limits and became legends. One of them was Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari, an Italian who shone in the early years of the XNUMXth century on Grand Prix-type cars and who got tired of winning races.

Tazio nuvolariNuvolari was born on August 8, 1892 in Mantua (Italy). His first contact with speed was through cycling, a specialty in which his father excelled Arthur and his uncle Giuseppe. It was not until 1904, shortly before his 12th birthday, that Tazio witnessed a car race for the first time. Obviously, he was shocked by the speed of the cars and the prowess of their drivers. Shortly after, he wanted to experience that sensation of speed himself and one night with a full moon he stole his father's car. “I was 13 years old, how fast could I reach? About 30 km / h, no more ", he counted years later. But that fact lit the flame that would mark him forever.

He ventured into motorcycling, where he achieved great results and was also a driver in the Italian army during the First World War.

Tazio nuvolariAt the end of the war, Tazio continued racing on motorcycles and in 1923 he also ventured into motor racing. However, it was only in the second half of the 20s that it began to take a more active role in cars. At that point he was already known as "Il Campionisimo" due to the amount of successes achieved on the two wheels and also to his exploits, such as when he won the Grand Prix of Nations from 1925 with a splinted arm from an accident he had suffered a week before the race testing a P2 car.

Between 1927 and 1928, Tazio made an important decision: with the idea of ​​intensifying his activity as a racing driver, he created his own team. He bought four Bugatti Grand Prixes and resold two of them to Achille varzi, his great friend and rival, already Cesare Pastore.

Tazio nuvolariAfter a 1929 to forget due to the series economic problems that he went through, the situation was reversed in 1930 when he was hired by Alfa Romeo. And in his official debut with the team, driving an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, he achieved victory in the fourth edition of the Mille Miglia setting a new record by being the first driver to complete the race at an average of over 100 km / h. At the end of that year, he decided to end his stage as a motorcyclist and throw himself fully into motor racing.

The decision was more than correct. Successes came everywhere. Already as a pilot of the nascent Scuderia Ferrari, won the titles of Italian Driver's Champion and International Champion.

Such is his fame that the poet Gabriele D´Annunzio He received it in the newspaper "Il Vittoriale degli Italiani", to give him a present, which will become his symbol: a small golden tortoise with a curious inscription: "For the fastest man on Earth, the slowest animal". Tazio considered this miniature as a good luck charm and from there he wore it as a personal symbol through a print on the yellow jersey that he always used to compete.

Tazio nuvolariIn 1933 Nuvolari decided to go back to being his own boss and continued his campaign on his team. He raced with different cars, but did not obtain great results and in 1935 he returned to the team of Enzo Ferrari. The victories returned, although they were less and less due to the competitiveness shown by the vehicles of the German teams Mercedes-Benz y Auto Union.

During that period he suffered some accidents and even participated in a test for the 500 Miles Indianapolis. In 1938 he had a resurgence of his sports campaign by signing with Auto Union to replace Bernard rosemeyer, who had killed himself while trying to break a speed record. Once again the triumphs that had eluded him for lack of a competitive machine reappeared, but the Second World War forced a new parenthesis.

At the end of the war, at the age of 54, he demonstrated on several occasions that he was still fast, despite the blows of life (in 1937 his eldest son Giorgio died and in 1946 his youngest, Alberto). To that great pain was added another: a lung problems caused by car exhaust fumes. Such was the ailment that in more than one career he ended up bathed in blood.

Tazio nuvolariHis participation began to become more and more sporadic, although whenever he ran he gave shows. Finally, on April 10, 1950, he played his last race. It was the Palermo – Montepellegrino climb in which he finished 5th and won his class. Although Nuvolari never officially announced his retirement, that was his last victory, and his last career ...

From that moment on, Nuvolari was seen on few occasions, he began to isolate himself more and more. His health worsened and he died on August 11, 1953, in bed and not as he would have liked: at the wheel of a car.

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

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