Juan Manuel Fangio

(1911—1995) Argentinian motor-racing driver

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Argentine motor racing driver and World Drivers' Champion a record five times (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957).

Fangio was born into an Italian immigrant family living in the town of Balcarce. He worked as a garage mechanic and chauffeur before opening a garage in his home town in 1934. He competed in road races throughout South America, driving Fords and Chevrolets. In 1948 he acquired a Maserati in Europe and returned the following year to drive this to four victories; the same year he had two wins in Simca and Ferrari cars. In 1950 he joined the Alfa Romeo works team and in 1951 gained his first championship title.

Driving for Maserati, he crashed in the 1952 Autodrome Grand Prix at Monza through exhaustion and was out of racing until the following year. Midway through the 1954 season, Fangio switched from Maserati to Mercedes-Benz but nevertheless won six Grands Prix and his second championship title. He again won the title in 1955 and also in 1956, this time with Ferrari, after Mercedes-Benz withdrew from racing at the end of 1955. In 1957, at the age of forty-seven, he captured his fifth title driving a Maserati and retired the following year, probably the greatest driver of all time, with a total of twenty-four Grand Prix victories to his credit.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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