Maserati 8CTF: fantastic win at the Indianapolis 500 in 1939
Maserati celebrates the eightieth anniversary of the Maserati 8CTF's fantastic win at the Indianapolis 500.
On Sunday May 30 1939, the Maserati 8CTF, driven by 27-year-old Warren Wilbur Shaw, crossed the line first after a race lasting 4 hours and 20 minutes at an average speed of over 115 miles (equivalent to 185 km) per hour.
Even today, Indiana-born Wilbur Shaw is still one of the 5 most successful drivers in the history of the Indianapolis race, with 3 victories (1937, 1939 and 1940, the last two at the wheel of an 8CTF) and 3 second places (1933, 1935 and 1938), out of a total of 13 appearances.
Its 1939 triumph brought Maserati huge international recognition, and at the next edition of the Indianapolis 500 three more of its cars were entered as well as the one driven by Shaw himself.
Wilbur Shaw won again in 1940, confirming the 8CTF's superiority in terms of speed, reliability over long distances and excellent road holding.
These victories on the historic US track bestowed unique prestige on Maserati, reinforced by the fact that in the post-war years 8CTF cars, in typically American liveries, starred not only on the Indianapolis speedway itself but also on ovals across the United States.
The 8CTF's amazing career, one of the longest and most glorious of any single-seater racer, ended in 1950, after Bill Vulcanich failed to qualify for that year's Indianapolis 500.
One of the three cars built, chassis number 3032, the one in which Wilbur Shaw triumphed in at the 1939 and 1940 Indianapolis 500, has been reconfigured with the paintwork it bore on those glorious days and is currently on display at the Indianapolis Speedway Museum.