Tuesday 1 July 2014

The 1957 Cuban Grand Prix

Though it was called the Cuban “Grand Prix”, the race series was for sports cars.

It ran for 1957 and 1958 under the Battista Government. For 1959, it was not held as the Battista Regime collapsed and was taken over by Fidel Castro’s Revolutionary Government.

In that first year, Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss raced team Maserati 300s’.

Fangio chats with his mechanic pre-race
Pen&ink and watercolour pencils on watercolour paper © Paul Chenard 2014

Fangio always had a great rapport with his mechanics, showing them respect and loyalty. He gave them 10% of his winnings to show it, and in return, they would return that loyalty, and worked hard making sure his car would last the race.

With his well-sorted Maserati, he easily won the 1957 race.

Before the 1958 race, Fangio was kidnapped by Castro supporters as to embarrass the Battista Government, but was released unharmed soon after the checkered flag fell, with Moss winning in a Ferrari 335 S.

The race returned one last time in 1960, but by then the great Fangio had retired from racing.

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