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Arturo Merzario, Testimonial Touring Cup 2023

Arturo Merzario is undoubtedly one of the nicest drivers ever. You recognize him by his unfailing hat and unruly hair, children of a youthful spirit that never fades away. “I was the only one who could enter Enzo Ferrari's office with a cigarette in my mouth” he says in one of his famous phrases.


Among the stories of Arturo Merzario we report another passage that says a lot about his character. “I raced with the policemen”, a quotation mark that goes well with “born to break chestnuts”. Yet the pilot with the hat, born in 1943, born in Civenna on 11 March, precisely in a fraction of Bellagio, on Lake Como, had the responsibility of setting a good example, as the son of a builder, and, above all, of an elementary school teacher.


Study, however, gave way to speed in Merzario's heart before adolescence. In fact, not even 10 years old he got on his first moped, and a

14 years went directly to the automobile. “Once it could be done,” he explained in one of his many anecdotes. In short, the pilot's instinct had always been alive in him and, apparently, irrepressible.


Before becoming one of the most characteristic drivers of all time, Arturo Merzario had a parenthesis as a photo model for photo novels, which was once very popular.

His racing career began as a pilot with a suitcase, as we would say today,  at the wheel of his Giulietta Spider. The young Merzario ranged between GT races, rallies, until manufacturers such as Abarth and Ferrari began to keep an eye on him.


Race after race, Arturo Merzario landed in Formula 1, and on August 1, 1976, in the green hell, or the old Nurgburgring, he distinguished himself for the heroic gesture that saved the life of Niki Lauda prisoner of a burning Ferrari. The Austrian driver, after an impact with the guard rail, found himself instantly engulfed in fire and, thanks to the help of three drivers, was extracted from his single-seater. The one who literally pulled Lauda out of the car, however, was Merzario.


Today, on the threshold of 80 years, Arturo Merzario is still on track, in historic races. The pilot with the hat, has not lost his enamel and charisma, and is always a modern and up-to-date character. He also embarked on daring entrepreneurial ventures, but the focus of his life is always motor sport, where he remains one of the most emblematic protagonists.

Based on Arturo Merzario, the eternal pilot ( - Photo by Alessandro Barteletti for SpeedHolics

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