Sitting around the lunch table at Watkins Glen International Raceway during the US Vintage Grand Prix in September this year, Rocco Cannata, owner and head mechanic of Cantech Automotive in Syracuse, NY, walked up saying, “You should go check out the Ferrari 312 T2 up in the Tech building. It’s the car driven by Niki Lauda in the ’76 Formula 1 season. Niki crashed it in Germany during a race. It burst into flames. Other drivers stopped the race to get him out. Niki was locked in a battle with James Hunt for the points lead for the season. It’s quite a story.”
According to Wikipedia, the story is indeed true. Lauda spent months in the hospital during recuperation from burns sustained in the crash nearly taking his life. Getting back on the track in time for the Japanese Formula 1 race to determine the ’76 F1 championship Lauda held a slim points lead over Hunt. Weather conditions, conspicuously similar to those during The Vintage Grand Prix at The Glen this past season, caused Lauda to drop out of the race stating the championship was not worth his life. Hunt when on to win it all in a rather convoluted series of events.
I checked with the current owner, Chris MacAllister of Indianapolis, Indiana. I asked Chris if his car played any part in the upcoming Ron Howard movie, “Rush,” detailing this story and slated for release in September 2013. Chris kindly responded, “As for my 312 T2, it was not used in the movie. The car was piloted by Niki Lauda in 1976 to good effect. Lauda won the Monaco and Belgian grand prix with the car as well as posting several other notable finishes. It raced twice in 1977 and was then retired. I am the 3rd owner.”
Take a look at Historic Grand Prix’s article for more information on Ferrari 312 T2 Chassis #26.
Weekend Wallpaper is a weekly series featuring the auto photography from The Daily Derbi photographers. This week’s wallpaper is by Neil Eschenfelder