January 20, 2009 Readers of British motoring magazine O c t a n e have voted the Maserati 250F the greatest racing car of all time, beating out a nominated field that included the Auto Union Type C, Lotus 49, Porsche 917, Cobra, Mercedes-Benz W196 and Toyota TS010 Group C.
The 250F competed between 1954 and 1958, during which time it won 55 races. It first raced in the 1954 Argentine Grand Prix in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio, who won the first of his two victories before he left for Mercedes Benz. Sir Stirling Moss raced his privately owned 250F for the full 1954 season. In 1956 he won the Italian Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix in his private car.
In 1957, Fangio drove to four more championship victories, including his legendary win at the Nürburgring where he overcame a 50-second deficit in just 20 laps, passing the race leader on the final lap to take the win.
The cars upon which Octane’s readers voted were nominated by famous motor racing drivers and personalities, including Brian Redman, Damon Hill, Derek Bell, Carroll Shelby, Andy Wallace and Bobby Rahal. The Maserati 250F was put forward by Sir Stirling Moss, who said: “I have great affection for the 250F because it was the car that gave me my first proper break in Formula One.”
In celebration of the win, former Pink Flyod drummer Nick Mason drove a 250F to the Royal Automobile Club in London where it went on display.
For some excellent insight into the 250F, check out this page, and these exquisite line drawings of the car and the engine. You can also do a lap of the Modena circuit in Italy accompanying Juan Manuel Fangio in this video, or view this excellent overview of the 250F by Martin Brundle.