Luigi Villoresi was born on May 16, 1909 into a wealthy family in Milan. Both he and his younger brother Emilio starting racing as private entrants since they could afford a racecar. Then in 1937, Emilio was offered a contract to drive for Ferrari and the following year Luigi signed on with Maserati. Emilio was killed while test driving a car for Ferrari and the circumstances surrounding his death caused Luigi to develop a dislike for Ferrari. Luigi continued racing winning the South African Grand Prix in 1939.
Then World War II erupted in Europe and put Luigi's racing career along with all the other drivers on hold. One of these was Alberto Ascari who had taken over his family's business. Ascari saw an opportunity for profit in transporting fuel to the Italian army depots in North Africa and partnered with Luigi to establish a business. During the war Alberto and Luigi developed a close friendship. When the war ended Alberto thought about abandoning racing as he was now a family man but Luigi persuaded him not to do this. Luigi and Alberto signed on with Maserati and stayed on that team until 1949 when Luigi received an offer from Ferrari.
Luigi went to talk to Ferrari with mixed feelings. He still harbored a grudge against Enzo over the death of his brother launch x431 v+
. However, in the end he procured a contract for him and Alberto. Both he and Alberto entered the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix-President Juan Peron Grand Prix. Alberto won and Villoresi placed second. They continued to race for Ferrari and Luigi made his debut in Formula 1 at Monaco in 1950. However, wins were accompanied by injuries. He had two serious accidents in Geneva. In one, his car overturned, tossing him out into the middle of the road. Fortunately, the driver following him, Nino Farino, spotted Luigi in the road and was able to swerve. But Nino also spun and crashed.
Villoresi was in a coma when he arrived at the hospital and lost a joint from one finger. In spite of his injuries he was still able to enter and win the 1951 Inter Europa Cup at Monza. At the end of 1953 he and Alberto decided to leave Ferrari to race for Lancia in 1954. However, the Lancia was not yet ready so Luigi drove again for Maserati. He returned to Lancia in 1955 and took fifth place at Monaco. But Alberto Ascari was killed that year during a test drive. Luigi became severely depressed over the death of his closest friend and his career went into a nosedive Maxisys
. He raced in the Grand Prix at Rome in 1956 but crashed his car.
In 1957, Eugenio Castellotti was killed in circumstances similar to his brother's death. Now the love/hate relationship that Luigi had with Enzo turned to pure hate as Luigi blamed both deaths on Enzo's hubris and was quite outspoken on the subject. Luigi retired from Formula 1 racing that same year but did continue to engage in rally racing. He won his last race, the Acropolis Rally in Greece in 1958, and then retired permanently. He was eighty-eight years old when he died in Modena, Italy in 1997.
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