After the victory from Edgar Barth and Wolfgang Seidel in the 1959 Targa Florio in a Porsche 718 RSK, Porsche was determined to bring the trophy back to Stuttgart once again. 77 cars filled the field. Despite that, it looked as though the fight for victor would ensue between Ferrari and Porsche. Porsche had had a good rehearsal at the Sebring 12Hours just 2 months earlier. It took first and second. Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien took the checkered flag in a Porsche 718 RS60, followed by Bob Holbert and Roy Schechter in another Porsche 718 RS60, entered by Brumos Racing.
The Porsche 718RS60
The Porsche convoy brought 3 of the successful Porsche 718 RS60 to Sicily. One was equipped with a 1,585-c.c. engine and two with larger-bore cylinders giving 1,630 c.c., thus putting them in the 2-liter class. One of the older Porsche 718 RSKs would serve as a practice car. Engineer Wilhelm Hild drove a brand new, completely standard Porsche 356 Carrera to Sicily. Edgar Barth and Graham Hill would take the 1500cc Spyder, Joakim Bonnier, Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien shared the 2 other Spyders with a larger engine. Huschke von Hanstein and Antonio Puci were to race the Carrera. Paul-Ernst Strähle entered a Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth GTL and Porsche 356 Carrera as a privateer. Interesting to know is that Strähle’s Abarth Carrera was the very first used in competition.
Olivier Gendebien crashed one of the Porsches during practice on Friday. Luckily no total damage for the car, and Gendebien left unhurt too. The crew succeeded in bringing the Porsche to the start of the race on Sunday. Bonnier had the fastest time in the official practice. That however, had no effect on the starting order. The cars left at a 20-second interval and raced against the timekeepers’ clocks rather than each other.
Joakim Bonnier ran an extraordinary first lap. He gave himself a half a minute lead over Umberto Maglioli in a Maserati Tipo 61. Olivier Gendebien followed in 3rd position in the 2nd Porsche. Bonnier continued at this high pace, and increased his lead. Edgar Barth climbed up and raced in 7th, followed by Paul-Ernst Strähle.
In the 1st pitstop, Hans Herrmann took over the wheel of Bonnier. He was rather slow, which allowed Maglioli to take over the lead. Half race, Maglioli was still in the lead, followed by the 2 Porsches of Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien. Hans Herrmann drove in the pits after the 7th lap, and Bonnier jumped in to complete the last 3 laps. Herrmann was hardly out of the car, when Olivier Gendebien drove in . Edgar Barth was too exhausted to take over the wheel. Huscke von Hanstein ordered Herrmann to take the wheel, and off he went. Bonnier on the other hand did a terrific job and did his lap in just under 44 minutes.
Nino Vaccarella was leading the race in the Maserati Tipo 61. He slid off the track and holed his fuel tank. That allowed Bonnier to take over the first position in the race. Even though this allowed Bonnier to take a slower pace, he had fun in setting a new lap fastest lap and win the race.
Pictures courtesy Klemantaski Collection and unknown.