2 October 2013
Korean Grand Prix: Six of the Best: Short-lived Grand Prix circuits
The circuit's bizarre Dorito-shaped layout started between Madonna and Pescara on the waterfront, heading through Pescara's town centre before turning inland and blasting through multiple hilltop villages, with the course exposed to a 500ft cliff drop in sections. The circuit turned towards the water at Cappelle taking a five mile straight line to the seaside village at Monte Silvano, where an acute turn through 100 degrees pitched drivers back onto the coastal road to Pescara.
Although the circuit was used for racing from 1924 to 1961, only once, in 1957, did the Pescara Grand Prix make up a round of the Formula One World Championship. The race, the penultimate round of the season, certainly had no problem attracting spectators, with over 200,000 fans lining the 16-mile circuit in sweltering August heat.
In protest at a proposed ban on road racing in Italy, and as a conciliatory gesture following Juan Manuel Fangio's capture of his fifth world title, Enzo Ferrari withdrew the Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins before the race. In the absence of the Maranello outfit, the Pescara GP was set up as a straight fight between Fangio's Maserati and Stirling Moss's Vanwall.
After three hours of racing, the 16-strong starting field had been reduced to just seven runners, and Moss emerged victorious, cruising home to beat Fangio by over three and a half minutes – even enjoying time to stop for a drink halfway through the race! Although Formula One would never return, Pescara continued to host motor racing for four further years before eventually succumbing to slowly evolving concepts of driver and spectator safety.
Ain-Diab Circuit, Casablanca, Moroccan Grand Prix, 1958:
The exotic environs of Casablanca played host to one of early F1's classic title showdowns in the inaugural and ultimately sole Moroccan Grand Prix in 1958.
Motor races had been held on dusty public roads around Casablanca 1925, but only in 1957 did Formula One cars arrive for the first time to tour the new Ain-Diab circuit configuration – built at the personal bequest of King Mohammed V to celebrate Morocco's recent independence. The 1957 non-championship race attracted an elite field and proved popular, leading to an upgrade to full championship status as the final round of the 1958 season.
In suitably Hollywood style, Casablanca played host to a title showdown between two dashing protagonists, Mike Hawthorn and Stirling Moss, bidding for theirs and Great Britain's maiden world championship.
The season had seen a classic tortoise and hare race for the prize, with Hawthorn's steady accumulation of points and a sole victory for Ferrari giving him the edge over Moss, whose three wins were counteracted by repeat poor reliability from his mechanically volatile Vanwall.
Moss knew that he had to win and set fastest lap with Hawthorn finishing no higher than third around the Ain-Diab circuit to take the title. Moss upheld his end of the bargain, taking a dominant win by a minute and a half, but a second place for Hawthorn saw him sneak the championship by one point.
Any goodwill accrued by the race was sullied however by a tragic coda that befell Stuart Lewis-Evans. On lap 41, the talented Briton skidded on oil and crashed into trees, his Vanwall bursting into flames as a fuel pipe ruptured. Lewis-Evans died six days later in hospital, and Tony Vandervell withdrew his Vanwall team, who had just won the inaugural Constructors' Championship, from full-time Formula One.
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