Ferrari 375 Indianapolis
Ferrari did not often make wrong decisions, but entering the Indianapolis 500 with the Ferrari 375 was one of them.
When, in 1950, the international motor sport federation (FIA) decided to include the Indy 500 in the Formula I World Championship, Ferrari two years later modified four of its 4.5-litre Grand Prix racers. The American Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti sold three of them to clients and the factory entered the fourth, with their top racing driver Alberto Ascari behind the wheel.
Thanks to the exceptional talents of Ascari, the works car was the only one of the four to qualify, starting in 17th position. Built for flat tracks with many bends, the Ferrari was unable to cope with the oval circuit and high banking. In the fortieth of the two hundred laps the car suffered a broken wheel hub and Ascari had to retire.
The car displayed in the museum is the ‘Grant Piston Ring Special’ entry, one of the three privately entered cars. It was to have been driven by Johnnie Parsons but he left during the second qualifying weekend as he was unhappy with the little attention Ferrari paid to his car during the run-up to the race. His replacement, Danny Oakes, was a less accomplished driver and was unable to qualify.