Achille Varzi - Wikipedia
Achille Varzi
This article is about the Italian racecar driver. For the Columbia University philosopher, see Achille Varzi (philosopher).
This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in French. (April 2015) Click [show] for important translation instructions.
Achille Varzi (8 August 1904 – 1 July 1948) was an Italian Grand Prix driver.
Achille Varzi

Achille Varzi at Montlhery, Paris in 1931
Born8 August 1904
Galliate, Italy
Died1 July 1948 (aged 43)
Circuit Bremgarten in Berne, Switzerland
OccupationRacing driver
Alfa Romeo team drivers, Achille Varzi (3rd sitting from left)
Career
Born in Galliate, province of Novara (Piedmont), Achille Varzi was the son of a textile manufacturer. As a young man, he was a successful motorcycle racer of Garelli, DOT, Moto Guzzi and Sunbeam, and rode seven times in the Isle of Man TT from 1924 before switching to auto racing in 1928 where, for the next ten years, he would rival Tazio Nuvolari, Rudolf Caracciola and Bernd Rosemeyer.
Varzi's first race car was a Type 35 Bugatti but he shortly changed to driving an Alfa Romeo, a brand with which he would score many victories during the 1929 Italian racing season. In 1930 Varzi acquired a vehicle from the relatively new Maserati company. He drove it as well as an Alfa Romeo earning his country's racing championship, a feat he would repeat in 1934. One of his big victories came at the prestigious Targa Florio where he upset the favored Louis Chiron. Following his win at the 1933 Tripoli Grand Prix, a race at the time associated with a lottery, Varzi was at the forefront of allegations that the race had been fixed.
Varzi won six Grand Prix in 1934 driving the Alfa Romeo P3, at Alessandria, Tripoli, Targa Florio, Penya Rhin at Barcelona, Coppa Ciano and Nice. He also became the first driver in history to hold both the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia title in one season[1][page needed]
Although the Alfa Romeo team had proved to be competitive under the management of Enzo Ferrari, Varzi decided to join the Auto Union team, racing for them between 1935 and 1937. This move coincided with Varzi having serious personal problems, including an addiction to morphine and a difficult affair with Ilse Pietsch (Engel/Hubitsch​[2]​/Feininger), the wife of a fellow driver Paul Pietsch. Quickly overshadowed by teammate Bernd Rosemeyer, his trips to the winners circle dropped to only four, but he did win his third Tripoli Grand Prix in his third different vehicle. By 1938 he had dropped out of sight and the advent of World War II ended racing in Europe. During the war, Varzi overcame his drug addiction and settled down with his new wife, Norma Colombo. At the end of the War, Varzi made a remarkable comeback at the age of 42. In 1946 he attempted to race a Maserati for the Indianapolis 500 but failed to qualify.[3] In 1947, he won three minor Grand Prix races and traveled to Argentina to race in the Buenos Aires Grand Prix.
Death
During practice runs for the 1948 Swiss Grand Prix a light rain fell on the Bremgarten track in Berne, Switzerland. Varzi's Alfa Romeo 158 skidded on the wet surface, flipping over and crushing him to death. He was buried in his hometown.
Achievements
In 1991, motorsport journalist Giorgio Terruzzi recounted Varzi's story in a book titled Una curva cieca – Vita di Achille Varzi. During his career, Achille Varzi competed in 139 races, winning 33. Some of his major victories include:
Legacy
Varzi's death resulted in the FIA mandating the wearing of crash helmets for racing, which had been optional previously.[4] In 1950 Varzi's chief mechanic, Amedeo Bignami, co-established the Scuderia Achille Varzi in Argentina. The team entered some Formula One races in 1950 equipped with Maseratis 4CL and 4CLT and featured drivers José Froilán González, Antonio Branca, Alfredo Pián and Nello Pagani.[5]
On 5 June 2004 Poste Italiane issued a stamp commemorating Achille Varzi.[6]
His relative and namesake, Achille C. Varzi, is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University.
Complete European Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)
YearEntrantMake1234567EDCPoints
1931Usines BugattiBugattiITA
Ret
FRA
1
BEL
Ret
4=12
1932Ettore BugattiBugattiITA
Ret
FRA
Ret
GER16=21
1935Auto UnionAuto UnionMONFRA
5
BELGER
8
SUI
4
ITA
Ret
ESP
Ret
7=39
1936Auto UnionAuto UnionMON
2
GERSUI
2
ITA
Ret
419
1937Auto UnionAuto UnionBELGERMONSUIITA
6
20=36
Other Grandes Epreuves won
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)
1933Ettore BugattiBugattiMON
1
FRABEL
2
ITA
Ret
ESP
4
1934Scuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMON
6
FRA
2
BEL
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
ESP
5
Post WWII Grandes Épreuves results
(key)
YearEntrantChassis12345
1947Alfa CorseAlfa Romeo 158SUI
2
BEL
2
ITA
2
FRA
1948Alfa CorseAlfa Romeo 158MONSUI
DNS †
FRAITAGBR
References
  1. ^ Martini, Sandro. Tracks: Racing the Sun. London: Aurora Metro Publications. ISBN 1906582432.
  2. ^ Martini, Sandro. Tracks: Racing the Sun. London: Aurora Metro Publications. p. 339. ISBN 1906582432.
  3. ^ Acchille Varzi Archived 23 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Champ Car Stats, retrieved 24 December 2010
  4. ^ Plumb, Philip W. The Clipper Book of Motor Racing Facts. London: Clipper Press. p. 42. ISBN 0-85108-008-1.
  5. ^ "Scuderia Achille Varzi - ChicaneF1.com". Chicanef1.dyndns.org. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Archivio emissioni, Achille Varzi". Archived from the original on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Achille Varzi.
Achille Varzi: The Official Website (Italian)
Last edited on 26 April 2021, at 04:59
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