Italian Car Manufacturers and Motor Sports

November 11th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Italian cars are known for their quality and speed. The Porsche, Ferrari, and Maserati are well-known Italian car manufactures that car enthusiasts will eagerly spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to own. What may not be as well known, however, is that many of these manufacturers started out solely in racecar manufacturing?

Italian racing

Italian cars are popular on the racing circuit. In Europe and the US, many race teams have Italian cars in their garage. The fact that they are high quality and built for endurance helps them to win races. One reason why they are well built is due to experience. Some Italian car manufacturers have been producing racecars for over a hundred years.

Porsche, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati were four car manufactures that produce cars for both the public and racing. They started out producing only racecars. It wasn’t until later that they decided to produce vehicles to sell across Europe and then around the world.

At first, the two lines of vehicles were similar. If someone bought a Maserati, there were few differences between the streetcar they owned and racecars that won the Grand Prix and the Gran Tourismo. It wasn’t until laws changed racing and general car ownership that the streetcars began to lose some of their similarities.

Grand Prix versus Gran Tourismo

Italian car manufacturers participate in both Grand Prix and Gran Tourismo Racing. These two races started out being similar, but Grand Prix changed to be more like the type of racing seen today.

The Grand Prix started as an endurance race that traveled around different villages in France. Over time, it evolved into what is known as formula racing. Formula racing is open wheeled, single seater racecars that compete on a track. There are Grand Prix races in Europe and the United States.

In the United States, Italian sports cars were imported as the main vehicle used for Grand Prix races. As American car manufacturers gained experience, this changed. American manufacturers began to combine their models with British chassis to create their own entrants, but Italian sports cars are still popular in American Grand Prix races.

The Gran Tourismo is endurance racing. These races, such as the Mille Miglia and the Tour De France are open racing, meaning they are not conducted on a track. Instead, they race through villages and towns in different locations around Europe.

Gran Tourismo races are not focused on speed. They are about strategy and the endurance of both driver and vehicle. These cars are two seater, closed vehicles in contrast to the open cockpit cars seen in the Grand Prix.

Gran Tourismo earned its name because so many Italian car manufacturers participate in these races they could be considered Italian. Although endurance races and Grand Prix both originated in France, Italy has become a major contender.

A way to fame

When the Grand Prix originated, the early races were for car manufacturers only. This is why many Italian manufacturers focused on motorsports. Once the race opened to teams, the Italians had a head start and a good foundation on how to create a winning vehicle.

Italian car manufacturers gained their notoriety in motorsports. It wasn’t until later that these companies decided to branch out into selling vehicles to the public. These designs are now different from the lines they use in racing, but the manufacturers use many of the same principles. This is one of the main reasons why Italian sports cars are so popular.

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