Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine ace of the wheel

Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine ace of the wheel

Together with Maradona in soccer, Fangio put Argentine sports at the top. The car driver had his times of glory in the 1950s and he is still unbeatable.

Juan Manuel Fangio
																															

Together with Maradona in soccer, Fangio put Argentine sports at the top. The car driver had his times of glory in the 1950s and he is still unbeatable. Juan Manuel Fangio was born in 1911 in Balcarce, province of Buenos Aires, in a modest family of immigrants italiens. While a teenager, he worked in a mechanical workshop and discovered the cars, a brand-new invention that he loved.

At the age of 21, he opened his own mechanical workshop helped by his father and some friends. In 1936, at the age of 25, Fangio started unofficially motor racing as the pilot of a 1929 Ford A.

Statue of Fangio in Puerto Madero
																  															  

Three years later, with a Ford 34 he took part in his first official motor race in Necochea: he ended in the fifth position. His first success was in 1940 after an incredible race: the Great International Northern Prize: 9,445 km from Buenos Aires up to Lima, going past La Paz, go and return.

Driving a Chevrolet, he crossed twice the Andean Mountain Range in two weeks going along racing tracks more than routes. Only 32 out of 92 cars enrolled at the start of the rally ended it and Fangio was the winner.

The Argentine car racing driver got into the international circuits in 1949, with the support of the government of Perón, who was a motor racing lover. He showed his talents and Alfa Romeo group hired him for the 1950 season to participate together with Italian Farina and Fagioli in the first world championship of Formula 1 around the world. Fangio got his first Grand Prix in Monaco and became the vice-champion of the world.

Race autos of Fangio, Automobile Club of Argentina
																															

He got the world degree the year after the challenge with Ferrari motor-racing team. He had a very serious accident in Monza in 1952 and had to give up racing all the season. He was back in 1953 and ended in the second position in the world championship.

As from 1954, Fangio got four consecutive degrees of world champion of Formula 1, being more than 40 years old. In 1958, at the age of 47, Fangio, five-time world champion, decided to put an end to his career after the Grand Prix in France. He won 24 out the 51 Grand Prix competitions he took part in, the best average so far above Italian Alberto Ascari and German Michael Schumacher.

Oscar Alfredo Gálvez La Recoleta
																  															  

Retired from motor racing, Fangio soon decided to be a businessman and, eventually, in 1961 he had time to get prepared for the test to get his driving license! He died in 1995 at the age of 84. The Argentine government paid a tribute to this hero with three days of national mourning. He gave away his trophies and souvenirs to the museum of Balcarce, his home town, where they are displayed.

In Buenos Aires, in the Puerto Madero neighborhood they put up a real-size statue of Fangio with one of his car in front of the DaimlerChrysler building. Fangio is also remembered by a French saying frequently used in France and Belgium: “He believes he is Fangio”, meaning driving (too) fast and as a sportsman.

What to read:
A website paying tribute to Fangio