The sinuous and treacherous island roads of Sicily that made up the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie played host to many of sportscar racing’s greatest marques and drivers, all trying to tame the legendary Targa Florio road race.
And the time-warp images and video footage of factory prototypes thrashing through villages and around mountain escarpments on the 45-mile lap really bring home the race’s old-school charm and appeal.
In this full-colour film from the 1965 race, the focus of attention is on local hero Nino Vaccarella, who would win for Ferrari that year alongside fellow Scuderia top name Lorenzo Bandini.
Vaccarella, who incidentally turns 83 today, was a school teacher from the Sicilian capital of Palermo and had an intimate knowledge of the circuit. Here, he explains his affinity with the place, how he overcame tiredness and the thousands of gearchanges required for the 295-corner course.
As he revisits the largely unchanged Piccolo delle Madonie in a Ford Sierra road car, he explains how he’s still recognised on the island thanks to his exploits in one of the last bastions of motorsport’s golden age. Interspersed with Vaccarella’s recollections is footage of his Ferrari 275 P2 in action more than 40 years ago.
Goodwood Festival of Speed devotees will recall seeing the Sicilian superstar, who also won the Targa in 1971 and 1975 for Alfa Romeo, in action on the hill on several occasions. His visits remain a highlight for everyone involved with the event.