Joe Buzzetta

Born : December 30 1936

Biography Joe Buzzetta

Joe Buzzetta was born and raised in Long Island, New York. His father ran a restaurant that was frequented by local SCCA racers. No doubt the stories Buzzetta heard back then were a feed for his passion for motorsport later in his life. In the 1950s Joe Buzzetta served in the army, stationed in Frankfurt (Germany). Some sources say Joe Buzzetta started racing in 1958, others claim that his first Porsche was a 1959 Porsche 356 Convertible D. In this car it is believed that Buzzetta won the Bitburg Hillclimb. Back luch struck down on him, as he totaled the car shortly after his victory in Bitburg. The Porsche 356 Convertible was replaced by a Porsche 356 Carrera GT Speedster. The results in this Speedster assured Buzzetta from an invitiation to race in Monza. In the GT Race before the Italian Grand-Prix, Joe Buzzetta finished 2nd after Carlo Abatte’s Ferrari. This remarkable result didn’t go unnoticed and initiated he attention of Huschke von Hanstein, Porsche’s race chef at the time.

Back to the USA

After Joe Buzzetta’s return to the USA, he continued racing his Porsche 356 Speedster. Later Buzzetta bought a Porsche 718 RSK Spyder. In 1962, Huschke von Hanstein invited Buzzetta to team up with Ben Pon in a Porsche 356 GT Coupe at the Sebring 12H. The duo finished 11th overall and 1st in GT Class. After that race, Buzzetta sold his Porsche 718 RSK Spyder to replace it with a Porsche 718 RS60 Spyder. One year later, Buzzetta teamed up again with Ben Pon at the Sebring 12H with a 7th overall and 1st in class as a result. The RS60 Spyder was sold, and replaced by an Elva Porsche. It took Buzzetta a while to get this car competitive. The Porsche powerplant was ok for  Buzzetta, but the chassis and suspension needed some tuning. 

In 1966, at Daytona, Joe Buzzetta co-drove a Porsche 904 with Gerhard Mitter, winning the 2.0liter prototype class and finishing 7th overall. This Porsche 904-005, the winning car of the 1964 Targa Florio, still resides in the personal collection of Buzzetta. At Sebring, Porsche teamed Buzzetta with Hans Herrmann in a Porsche 906 Carrera 6 and they won the 2.0 liter prototyp class and finished 4th overall.  As a factory driver in a Porsche 906 Carrera 6, Buzzetta was quite succesful with class victories at  Mosport, St. Jovite, Mid-Ohio, Elkart Lake and Bridgehampton.

Daytona 1967

1967 Nurburgring 1000KM 

In 1967 Joe Buzzetta drove in Le Mans and the 1000 Km at the Nurburgring. At the Le Mans race, he shared the wheel of a Porsche 910 with Udo Schutz. Unfortunately they retired after 6H, with a loss of oil pressure. The same duo had more succes at the Nürburging. With a lead of just 0.2 seconds, Udo Schütz and Joe Buzzetta won the race, defeating Paul Hawkins and Gerard Koch in another Porsche 910.  To complete the Porsche success, Jochen Neerpash and Vic Elford climbed the 3rd step of the podium. Gerhard Mitter was the unlucky bird of the weekend. Literally in the last kilometres, the battery of his Porsche 910 failed and forced Mitter to quit the race.

In 1968 Joe Buzzetta drove factory prototypes at Daytona, Sebring, Nürburgring, Le Mans, Watkins Glenn. The biggest succes of that year was the 1-2-3 victory for Porsche at Daytona with Joe Buzzetta as one of the team members of the winning team.

1969 was Joe’s last years as a Porsche factory driver. He finished 3rd at Sebring, sharing the wheel with Rolf Stommelen. In Watkins Glenn, Rudi Lins and Joe Buzzetta finished 3rd.

As a business man, Joe Buzzetta was succesful too. The Competition dealerships in Long Island were founded by Buzzetta, selling Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, BMW and Toyota. His 3 children are all active in the family business. Joe Buzzetta used to go vintage racing too in one of the racing Porsches in his collection (Porsche 904, Porsche 907, Porsche 908/2, Porsche 906 and Porsche 910).