Enzo Ferrari, the road to success

Motor racing legend and creator of the iconic Prancing Horse marque, Enzo Ferrari is one of the greatest figures in the industry in Italy and beyond. Portrait of a visionary on four wheels, featured in a film soon to be released in France on Amazon Prime Video.


While the film “Ferrari” has already been released in the United States and Italy, French audiences will soon be able to discover it on the Amazon Prime Video platform. Set for release in France in 2024, the film, directed by Michael Mann, follows the life of entrepreneur and racing driver Enzo Ferrari. The businessman is played by actor Adam Driver, his wife Laura Ferrari by Penélope Cruz, and his lover Lina Lardi by Shailene Woodley.

The biopic focuses on a pivotal period in Enzo Ferrari’s life. It takes us back to the summer of 1957, a period when the racing driver, who had created the Ferrari car 10 years earlier with his wife, was experiencing a number of difficulties, both professional and personal. The story centres on the Mille Miglia race, a one-day, 1,000-mile circuit across Italy. 1957 was the last Mille Miglia race, which was stopped that same year following the fatal accident involving driver Alfonso de Portago and his co-driver, which resulted in the deaths of nine spectators. The film also retraces part of Enzo Ferrari’s private life, from his tumultuous marriage to the loss of his son and the recognition of his child from his relationship with his mistress.


From the family workshop to the racetrack


Born in Italy in 1898, Enzo Ferrari took his first steps in the world of cars alongside his father. His father ran a car maintenance workshop alongside another business. The young Enzo learned mechanics there while attending school in Modena. At the age of 10, he went with his father to the Bologna circuit to watch a race. The first of many…


Enzo Ferrari ©Ferrari


At the end of the First World War, Enzo Ferrari was taken on as a handler-deliverer of chassis from military surpluses, to be converted into cars for private customers. Thanks to his contacts, he joined the manufacturer CMN as a test driver in 1919.

Enzo Ferrari perfected his driving skills in a number of races before joining Alfa Romeo. The driver won several races, including the Coppa delle Alpi in Ravenna. In 1923, Enzo Ferrari was introduced to the noble Italian Baracca family, where Countess Paolina granted him the right to use the prancing horse design that adorned the fuselage of her late son’s plane.

In 1924, he won the Acerbo Cup in Pescara at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo RL and, after a few years’ break, returned to the racetrack. Although his performances were less acclaimed than before, Enzo Ferrari managed to finish second on the Three Provinces circuit in 1931.

He ended his racing career some time later, but remained sporting director of Alfa Romeo until 1939.


Enzo Ferrari: “il Commendatore” (“the Commander”)


In 1929, in parallel with his racing achievements, Enzo Ferrari and two associates, with the agreement of Alfa Romeo, founded the sports company Societa anonima Scuderia Ferrari. Its purpose? To support private car owners and top-level drivers. The company became independent in 1940.


Enzo Ferrari ©Ferrari


Over time, Enzo Ferrari’s team recruited great drivers and became known for the famous prancing horse that adorned the bumper of its cars. The team racked up a number of victories, including the Acerbo Cup won by Compagnoni, the Consuma Cup by Tazio Nuvolari, the Messina Cup by Ghersi and the Spa 24 Hours by Antonio Brivio and Eugenio Siena.

Although the competition was tough, with big names like Bugatti, Mercedes and Maserati, the Ferrari team emerged as a serious contender. More victories followed, boosting Enzo Ferrari’s reputation.

Some time after the Second World War, which marked a pause in the development of the workshops, the visionary launched his first car in 1947 under the name Ferrari. The car manufacturer was born. The first model, a Ferrari 125 S, was embellished with the prancing horse logo on a yellow background. The red colour came from the fact that Italian racing cars had been given this hue during the Grand Prix.

That same year, Ferrari won its first race on the Rome circuit. In 1951, the company won the British Grand Prix with the driver José Froilán González, which established Enzo Ferrari’s reputation.

In the following decade, Ferrari experienced numerous financial difficulties. Although Ford was due to take over the company in 1963, Fiat finally acquired a 50% stake in 1969. His hidden son, Piero Lardi, who worked at the Scuderia as administrative director, was Enzo Ferrari’s sole successor, his son from his marriage having died.

Enzo Ferrari died in 1988 in Modena. The man still known as “il Commendatore” (“the Commander”) had a major impact on the world of motor sport through his skills, perseverance and ambition. His Ferrari car brand is one of the leaders in Italian industry and is expected to generate record sales of 5.9 billion euros in 2023.



Featured photo: Enzo Ferrari ©Ferrari

Grâce à une veille accrue et à une excellente connaissance de ces secteurs, la rédaction de Luxus Magazin décrypte pour ses lecteurs les principaux enjeux économiques et technologiques de la mode, l’horlogerie, la joaillerie, la gastronomie, les parfums et cosmétiques, l’hôtellerie, et l’immobilier de prestige.


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