TODAY IN RACING – Champions to the fore a Monza over the years

8 September is mainly about Monza and the Italian Grand Prix in race history. Jim Clark wrapped up the 1963 world driver’s championship with a Monza win on this day – his sixth of that season in his Lotus Climax. Five years later in 1968 Denny Hulme’s McLaren Cosworth held off Johnny Servoz-Gavin’s similarly powered Matra-Ford and Jacky Ickx’ Ferrari in another Monza slipstreaming epic.

There was no clear championship advantage after Monza in 1974 after Ronnie Peterson’s Lotus pipped Emerson Fittipaldi’s McLaren to leave the title race poised on a knife’s edge with Clay Regazzoni, Jody Scheckter and Fittipaldi split by three points and Niki Lauda still in contention too.


Alain Prost took a dominant fifth win of the 1985 season in his McLaren MP4/2B TAG-Porsche, while Nigel Mansell won for Williams in a FW14 Renault in 1991 and Michael Schumacher drove the tifosi delirious when he ended a even-year Ferrari dry run aboard a F310 in 1996.

In the only notable sportscar action on this day, Derek Bell and Al Holbert drove heir Porsche 962 to IMSA victory at Pocono in 1985, while this is Richmond week in NASCAR, where Richard Petty dominated the Capital City 500 at the Fairgrounds in ’74 and Ricky Rudd bumped Kevin Harvick out the way to win there in 2001.

Elsewhere, in 1960 Mickey Thompson drove his Challenger powered by four supercharged Pontiac V8s to an unofficial 650km/h speed record and racing said goodbye to Targa Florio winner Ugo Sivocci, who died aged 38 after a 1923 Italian Grand Prix practice crash at Monza. Turn of the last century race hero Victor Hémery passed away aged 73 in 1950 and Indy 500 winner Johnnie Parsons passed aged 66 in 1984.

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