MONTEREY, Calif. — American race driver Derek Hill, son of World Champion Phil Hill, will strap himself behind the wheel of the lone surviving Maserati Tipo 151, of which only three were ever constructed, to race in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Aug. 14-17 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Maserati is this year’s featured marque and will officially celebrate its 100th anniversary at the motorsports gathering.
Entered by Fratelli Auriana Racing from the collection of Lawrence Auriana, the Tipo 151 has been fully restored. Since its restoration, chassis 151.006 has competed in three successive Goodwood Revivals and last year in the 2013 Le Mans Legend. This will be the car’s first visit to Monterey and the challenging 2.238-mile road course.
The Tipo 151 will complement Maserati’s centennial display and provide a dynamic addition by having its pit crew working on the car throughout the weekend to keep it in race-ready condition.
According to Gill Campbell, CEO and general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, there are 550 entries for this year’s event, making it a rolling museum.
“Fans will enjoy seeing Derek Hill pilot this very rare Maserati on the track. This is what makes the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion so special, seeing cars in motion that are normally housed in museums,” said Campbell.
In 1962 the FIA modified the World Sportscar Championship by shifting its focus to production based GT cars, abandoning the traditional open-cockpit sports prototype. This forced Maserati to stop the development of the V12 Tipo 63 and 64 rear-engine Birdcages. Organizers at Le Mans were concerned that this new GT class would not draw large enough crowds, so they created a GT prototype and experimental class with an engine capacity up to 4 liters.
U.S. Maserati importer and well-known Le Mans entrant, Briggs Cunningham, asked Modena to produce a Maserati prototype for Le Mans. In a relatively short period of time, Giulio Alfieri designed the Tipo 151 coupe. Only three were built; Tipo 151.002, for Maserati France sponsor Colonel John Simone, and 151.004 and 151.006, which went to Cunningham.