This year Maserati celebrates a significant anniversary. Sixty years ago, on the 28th May to be exact, the Tipo 61 achieved an amazing victory at the seventh edition of the Nürburgring 1000 kilometres.
Having already won the event in 1960 with drivers Masten Gregory and Lloyd Casmer, the 1961 event saw the Tipo 61 win again with drivers Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney at the wheel to record a memorable double.
The Tipo 61 was the best known of the series of five models designed by Giulio Alfieri. It’s unusual chassis was nicknamed ‘The Birdcage’ – it’s intricate structure containing around 200 tubes, combined in a complex assembly that resembled a birdcage. The result was a more rigid chassis that was also lighter than other racing cars of the time, making it the best solution for front-engine, rear-wheel drive race cars.
Maserati had just started building the Tipo 60 in March 1959, but in November of the same year it had transformed to the Tipo 61 to comply with the regulations to compete in the Le Mans 24 hours. It’s four-cylinder engine was modified to 2900cc and it’s power output became 250hp at 7000rpm. It’s weight had increased from 570kg to 600kg, but it’s top speed jumped from 270mph to 285mph.
Despite the massive power output, the Tipo 61’s fuel consumption was fairly low, making it ideal for endurance races because it didn’t have to stop to refuel as often.
In just three years of production from 1959-61, the Tipo 60 and the Tipo 61 were incredible in the international racing scene, with a series of extraordinary wins to show for it. Maserati plan to continue their success in motorsport at the start of it’s new era under the banner of the MC20.
Are you a fan of the Tipo 61? What do you think of the MC20? Let us know in the comments.