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The information within these pages was derived primarily from contemporary magazines and newspapers. I am indebted to all those outstanding journalists and newsmen for their dedicated reporting. Without their stories, we would not have learned about what happened at these events. Secondary sources have also been helpful but to a much lesser extent. Several others have given valuable advice and corrected errors. I extend my appreciation to all those helpful specialists. I am immensely grateful to Leif Snellman for providing a site where these factual and elaborate accounts enable us to relive these long-ago races and also for his incredible lifelike drawings.
Hans Etzrodt


Albert Divo in the Sunbeam was the most successful driver of the 1923 season, comprising six major events. The season opened with the free formula Targa Florio won by Sivocci (Alfa Romeo). Indianapolis was run by 2-Liter cars but differed from the European formula and was won by Tommy Milton (Miller). The French Grand Prix, a 2-Liter formula race, was won by Henry Segrave (Sunbeam). The San Sebastian Grand Prix in Spain was also held to the official formula and Guyot (Rolland-Pilain) was the winner. The European Grand Prix at Monza, held to the 2-Liter formula, was won by Salamano (Fiat). The Spanish Grand Prix at Sitges, also held to the 2-Liter formula and was won by Divo (Sunbeam). As a result, in the six major races of 1923 only Sunbeam had two victories and should be recognized as the best car of the year. Albert Divo (Sunbeam) placed on top of the drivers after winning the Spanish Grand Prix and finished second at the French Grand Prix.

The 1923 Formula
was referred to as the 2-liter formula, in place since 1922, with a maximum engine capacity of 2.0-Liter. The minimum unloaded weight had to be at least 650 kg - 1433 lb. and the minimum body width was 80 cm - 31.5 in. The end of car was not to extend beyond the center of rear axle by more than 150 cm. A riding mechanic was obligatory. The weight of driver and his mechanic had to be at least 120 kg - 264 lb. Repair and replenishment of the car during the race and all pit work was restricted to the driver and one mechanic.

      Formula Libre without the 2.0-liter restrictions worked well and produced good racing, allowing older cars with larger engines to contest non-Formula Grand Prix races.

      Targa Florio regulations specified only engine capacity for six categories: up to 1.1-liter, 1.5-liter, 2-liter, 3-liter, 4.5-liter and over 4.5-liter. A category for racing cars was not given, only engine capacity was stated. Each car had to be occupied by the driver and the riding mechanic sitting side by side of no less weight than 120 kg. They could be substituted during the race by a driver and riding mechanic who had been nominated before the race. This substitution could only take place at the end of a lap in the presence of an official. The mechanic was not permitted to drive.

The Races
Only the national clubs of France, Italy and Spain held races to the international Grand Prix formula. Indianapolis was run to a different formula, although the engine size was the same. Other major events like the Targa Florio were held to formula libre. There were an additional 5 minor events for Grand Prix cars, run to formula libre of which the most important was Mugello Circuit, followed by Cremona Circuit, Savio Circuit at Ravenna, Coppa Montenero at Livorno and Garda Circuit at Salo.


Factory Racing Teams

SA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & C. (Milan, Italy)
Alfa Romeo racecars were built by the factory-racing department. The early 1922 models were the 20-30 ES Sport models with 4.3-Lilter 4-cyl engines giving 67 hp at 2600 rpm and were superseded by the RL series. The RL touring models were started in 1922 with the RL Sport and RL Super Sport entered at races with 2994 cc (76 x 110 mm) 6-cylinder engines giving 71 hp at 3500 rpm and 83 hp at 3600 rpm for the RLSS. For 1923 they developed the RL Targa Florio with the 6-cylinder engine, re-bored to 3154 cc, (78 x 110 mm), giving 96 hp at 3800 rpm and with shortened wheelbase of 288 cm while RLSS had 314 cm. For the Targa Florio five RLTF’s were entered, two of them with the larger engine. For the European Grand Prix at Monza Giuseppe Merosi designed a new Grand Prix car, the type P1 with a 1990 cc (65 x 100 mm) 6-cylinder twin o.h.c. engine producing 95 hp at 5000 rpm without supercharger and 115 hp at 5000 rpm with supercharging. During practice Sivocci was killed when he ran off the road and the P1 cars were withdrawn without ever being raced.
Drivers: Giuseppe Campari - Alberto Ascari - Ugo Sivocci - Enzo Ferrari - Giulio Masetti.
Races entered: Targa Florio, Cremona Circuit, Mugello Circuit, Savio Circuit, European Grand Prix at Monza.

SA Automobili Ansaldo (Turin, Italy)
Ansaldo was a great Italian munitions and aircraft concern. After the war as of 1920 Giovanni Ansaldo produced the 4C car with a 4-cylinder 1746 cc o.h.c. engine giving 40 hp at 3000 rpm. The 4CS sports version had a bored-out 1891 cc engine. In 1923 the 4CS, now 1980 cc (72.5 x 120 mm), delivered 48 hp at 3500 rpm and became front wheel brakes. They also produced the type 6BC, a 2971 cc 6-cylinder with 4-speed gearbox.

Etablissements Ballot (Paris, France)
Ernest Ballot had designed engines for Delage and built his first cars in 1919 with 4.9-Liter 8-cylinder engines for the Indianapolis 500 race, designed by Ernest Henry. The Ballots were the fastest cars at that time. For the 1920 Indianapolis 500 the 3-Liter engine formula went into effect and Ballot built a smaller version of the 4.9-Liter engine, but the Grand Prix was not held that year. For the 1921 French Grand Prix Ballot, entered 3-Liter cars and one smaller race car, the 2LS, which had a 1996 cc (69 x 130 mm), 4-cylinder twin o.h.c. 16-valve engine, giving 90 hp at 5000 rpm, capable of 170 km/h. This car finished third with Goux. The 2LS placed second in the 1922 Targa Florio, third at Indianapolis and second at Monza. In 1923 Ballot did no longer enter races but Campbell came first at Brooklands and a 2LS Ballot finished third at the San Sebastian Grand Prix with Haimovicci.

Benz & Cie, AG (Mannheim, Germany)
Karl Benz designed and built the first workable motor car in 1885. His company produced their first race car in 1899. Based on Edmund Rumpler's 1921 aeronautical design and license, Hans Nibel, leading Benz designer, was responsible for the construction of a 'teardrop' 2-Liter 6-cylinder mid-engine racecar. Only one car could be completed for the 1922 Italian Grand Prix but was never raced. For 1923 the racecar was redesigned on a different chassis with a more streamlined body, propelled by a 6-cylinder 1997cc (65x100 mm) twin o.h.c. engine with a seven-roller bearing crankshaft made by Hirth, delivering 125 hp at 4500 rpm. Three of these Benz RH cars were entered for the 1923 European Grand Prix at Monza. Ferdinando Minoia, Franz Hörner and Willy Walb were the assigned drivers. Minoia finished in fourth and Hörner in fifth position, following the two leading Fiat 805's and Jimmy Murphy's Miller, while Walb's car retired with engine trouble.

S.A. Automobile e Velocipedi Eduardo Bianchi (Milan, Italy)
Bianchi built cars since 1899. In 1923 Antonio Masperi drove a 2-Liter Bianchi at the Garda Circuit. Alessandro Silva explained, the Bianchi Tipo 18 was a 4-cyl 72x120 for 1954 cc built in 1923/25, preceded by the side valve Tipo 12 and 15 of 1919/1922 of 1693cc, updated to the Tipo 16 in 1923/1924. The Tipo18 was the first oh valve Bianchi engine if we exclude the two examples so called Corsa built for the Autumn Grand Prix at Monza in 1922 (two ohc and 16 oh valve) which were seldom raced after and only by works and certainly were not at Garda in 1923. The S after the Tipo 18 is apocryphal [= fabricated] and stands for a Tipo 18 specially tuned for racing, but was not an official model.

Automobiles Bignan (Courbevoie, France)
Jacques Bignan built sport cars as of 1919. Cars with 1400 cc 4-cylinder engines appeared 1920 at the Grand Prix des Voiturettes at Le Mans. In 1921 came a 3-Liter sports car. Besides his production cars, for 1922 the Bignan company produced a 2-Liter 11 CV car for touring and sports car events with four-wheel servo-assisted brakes. Besides the 50 hp production models, only two of these cars were built for racing with a 4-cylinder ohc, desmodromically operated 16-valve engine, giving 75 hp. In 1923 this car was very successful at Le Mans. At the 1923 San Sebastian Touring Car Grand Prix, Martin won the 2-Liter class. The following day, he was assigned one car, Elgy drove the other in the Grand Prix for racecars, where both cars were stripped off fenders and lights with the rear seats covered. Martin finished in fourth place and Elgy retired.

Automobiles Ettore Bugatti (Molsheim, France)
Bugatti had been producing cars since 1909 in Molsheim. In 1922 he constructed the 8-cylinder type 30 with a 1989 cc (60 x 88 mm) engine with three valves per cylinder. The cars were entered at the 1922 French Grand Prix at Strasbourg, finishing in second and third place and at Monza in third place. For the 1923 Indianapolis 500, Bugatti made five cars, T29/30 single seaters, entered by the drivers, where Prince de Cystria finished in 9th place and the other four cars retired. At the French Grand Prix at Tours the engines now had roller bearings and the cars had a beetle like 2-seat body, called the T32 'Tank' in which Friderich finished third at Tours.
Drivers: Pierre Bertrand de Vizcaya - Prince de Cystria - Martin de Alzaga - Raul Riganti - Count Louis Zborowski - Ernest Friedrich - Pierre Marco.
Races entered: Indianapilis 500 (the 5 cars were entered under the driver's name) - French Grand Prix.

SA Giovanni Ceirano (Turin, Italy)
Before the war Ceirano had built the Rapid and the SCAT (Societŕ Ceirano Automobili Torino). In 1919 he made cars under his own name the first car was the CS, a 4-cylinder 15 hp car, bored out they became the CS2 and the CS4 sports. A later model was the CS2H. In 1920 there was a racing version of the CS24 which had a 4-cylinder 3-liter engine.

Chiribiri & Co. (Turin, Italy)
Antonio Chiribiri founded the company in 1913. In 1921 he began building little sports- and race cars which had a pushrod-operated o.h.v. 4-cylinder engine of 1453 cc, giving a top speed of 110 km/h. In 1922, an improved "Monza" type was produced with a 1486 cc (65 x 112 mm), 4-cylinder, twin o.h.c. engine, producing 72 hp at 5,100 rpm. These Voiturettes were able to reach speeds of 165 km/h, and were driven initially by 'Deo' Chiribiri (Amadeo, the son of the constructor), Jack Scales and in 1923 by Tazio Nuvolari amongst others.

CMN (Construzioni Meccaniche Nazionali SA) (Milan, Italy)
was an Italian aviation factory in Milan Pontedera. After WWI, in 1920 they switched to car production with a conventional, rather dated, high built design with a 4-cylinder sv engine in 2.2 and 3-L forms. In 1919 CMN bought out De Vecchi Co. and also inherited the workers including Ugo Sivocci. They entered the 1919 Targa Florio and several hill climbs. During Sivocci's time as a mechanic and driver at CMN he met and befriended the young Enzo Ferrari and through him he was hired by Alfa Romeo in 1920 to drive in the Alfa Romeo works team.

DMG (Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft) (Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Germany)
Mercedes was in racing since 1901. In 1923 DMG decided to only enter cars at Indianapolis, an expensive undertaking, with the 1989 cc (70 x 129 mm) 16 valve twin o.h.c. 4-cylinder engine, giving 125 hp at 4500 rpm with a top speed of 192 km/h. The supercharger came only into action with the accelerator fully pressed down. As a result, the driver had less sensitive control to apply power, which was the cause of their crashes at Indianapolis. Four cars were shipped, three for racing and one for practice. Lautenschlager crashed, Max Sailer finished eighth and Christian Werner was eleventh. Later in June, one of the cars was entered at Solitude hill climb for Otto Salzer who made the best time of the day.

Automobiles Delage (Courbevoie, Paris, France)
Delage racecars had been in existence since 1906 and were produced in Louis Delage's factory in Paris. After nine years of absence Delage decided to race again in 1923 and enter events for the 2-Liter Grand Prix formula. Charles Planchon and Albert Lory designed the 2LCV Grand Prix car with a 1992 cc (51.4 x 80 mm), four overhead camshaft V-12 engine, initially giving 95 hp at 6000 rpm. Their first race was the French Grand Prix where the car held fifth place when Thomas retired the untried Delage on the seventh lap as a result of a flung stone from the tires damaged his fuel tank. But Louis Delage decided not to enter the European Grand Prix at Monza.
Driver: René Thomas.
Races entered: French Grand Prix and with their 10-L V-12 racecar at some hill climbs.

Diatto cars were built by Societŕ Anonima Autocostruzioni Diatto (Turin, Italy)
Diatto had started building Cléments under license in 1905 and in 1921 he founded his own company. At the beginning of the 2-liter formula in 1922, they produced the Diatto 20S Grand Prix car with a 1,997 cc, 4-cylinder twin o.h.v. engine, delivering 75 hp at 4,500 rpm and a top speed of 155 km/h. Alfieri Maserati worked at his Bologna shop but at times also at the Diatto factory in Turin where he was one of their drivers since 1922. At the November 1922 Coppa Florio in Sicily, Maserati drove a 3-Liter Diatto where he retired after two laps. In 1923 Maserati drove a 3-Liter at the Targa Florio but retired on the third lap when in second place. Other events entered were Cremona, Mugello, Savio, Montenero and other Italian hill climb events.

Biada, lizalde y Cia (Barcelona, Spain)
Elizalde cars were built since 1914. In 1919 they had a type 26 with front wheel brakes, also larger models like the 16/20 hp and the 18/23 hp. In 1921 they produced the type 48 limousine with 8-cylinder 8-Liter engine for the Paris Salon. In 1922 they produced the type 20C, a 3-Liter 8-cylinder sports car, the 20/30 hp car. A 1.5-L Type 51 Elizalde racecar was introduced at the 1922 Rabassada hill climb. In 1923 three 1500 Elizalde 511 raced at the Penya Rhin Voiturette Grand Prix. One week later, two 1700 cc Elizaldes were entered at Sitges for the Spanish Grand Prix, where Carreras finished third and Feliu came fifth.

Fiat SpA (Turin, Italy)
Fiat had built race cars since 1904. In 1922 they raced the type 804 with an engine of 1991 cc (65 x 100) 6-cylinder twin o.h.c., delivering 112 hp at 5000 rpm. For 1923 they raced their type 805 which had a 1,979 cc (60 x 87.5 mm), straight 8-cylinder twin o.h.c. supercharged engine, producing 146 hp at 5,500 rpm. They entered three type 805 at the French Grand Prix where all cars retired. But Salamano won that year's European Grand Prix at Monza with Nazzaro in second place. They lost Enrico Giaccone who died as passenger when Bordino crashed during a Monza test drive drive, escaping with minor injuries.
      Independently Fiat entries were made with Fiat type 501 S. Two of those were raced at the 1923 Garda Circuit, with 1486 cc (65 x112 mm), 4-cylinder engines, quoted at 55 hp at 4500 rpm with 2650 mm wheelbase, which were driven by Nino Cirio and Gigi Platč.
Drivers: Pietro Bordino - Enrico Giaccone - Carlo Salamano - Felice Nazzaro.
Races entered: French Grand Prix, European Grand Prix (Monza).

Miller Motors Inc. (Los Angeles, California, USA)
Miller established his business around 1907 at Los Angeles which was owned by Harry Armenius Miller. In 1916, he designed his first racing engine and car. During 1920, a new 2,999 cc, 8-cylinder single-seater was produced for the 3-liter formula or 183 c. i. Miller and Duesenberg single seaters dominated the American racing scene. Miller powered the winning cars at Indianapolis from 1922 to 1923. The 2-Liter Miller was called the type 122, as it had 122 c. i. capacity. The straight-eight engine had twin overhead camshafts driving 2 large valves per cylinder and delivered 120 hp at 5000 rpm. The 1923 Indy 500 field comprised 24 cars of which 11 were Millers, which were the fastest cars. Tommy Milton won ahead of Harry Hartz with Jimmy Murphy third, all in a Millers. Miller entered three type 122 cars at Monza for the European Grand Prix where Jimmy Murphy finished third, Martin de Alzaga sixth and Louis Zborowski retired. The three cars were also entered for the Spanish Grand Prix. As Jimmy Murphy had to leave for America, only Zborowsky started at Sitges where his 122 was the fastest car and by hard luck he only finished second.

SA des Etablissements Rolland Pilain (Tours, France)
The French marque was in business since 1906, managed by François Rolland and Emile Pilain. For the 1922 Grand Prix the engineer Grillot designed a 2-Liter twin o.h.c. straight-eight engine with a ball bearing crank, desmodromic operation of the valves, hydraulic front brakes and a nice streamlined tail, painted light blue. But these engines did not work out and the cars were raced with normal valve operation. For 1923 the 1983 cc (59.7 x 90 mm) 8-cylinder engine with twin o.h.c. 16-valves, produced 75 hp to enable speeds of 175 km/h. Three cars were entered at Tours, two with the 8-cylinder engine and one for Goux with a 6-cylinder cuff-valve engine, designed by the Swiss Dr. Schmid. The 6-cylinder car had an engine failure in practice and the other two cars retired with mechanical problems. At San Sebastian Albert Guyot won the race while Victor Héméry became ill just before the start and was replaced by his mechanic Gaston Delalande who finished second.
Drivers: Albert Guyot - Jules Goux - Victor Hémery - Gaston Delalande.
Races entered: French Grand Prix, San Sebastian Grand Prix.

Silvani & Botta (Milan, Italy)
The engineer Silvani together with the shareholder Botta founded in 1920 an Italian automotive company based in Milan that produced cars under the brand name SB (Silvani & Botta) until 1924, or were entered also just as a Silvani. Eugenio Silvani developed a cylinder head and built up the engine of a Fiat 501 and increased the performance significantly. According to Alessandro Silva, the 1923 Silvani car at the Coppa Montenero was a 1500 Bugatti-Silvani for Guindani, who in 1924 would have the SB.

Steyr cars were manufactured in the Österreichische Waffenfabriks Gesellschaft (Steyr, Austria)
In the early Twenties, Steyr was the largest Automobile producer in Austria in the town of Steyr. As an arms manufacturer after the war they began building cars in 1920. One of their first models, the type VI 15/90 was a 6-cylinder 3325 cc (80 x 110 mm) tourer with o.h.c. delivering 60 hp at 2600 rpm. The Steyr type VI Sport 15/90 hp had a 4014 cc (88 x 110 mm) 6-cylinder engine, also quoted with a 4.0-L and 4.5-L engine. The factory entered four Steyr VI Sport 15/90 hp cars fitted with 4.5-L engines at the 1923 Targa Florio where Minoia finished in third place. Brilli-Peri drove a works race car, finishing second at Mugello. Steyr entered their cars at several hill- and mountain climbs.
Drivers: Hermann Rützler - Robert Siercke - Ferdinando Minoia - Gastone Brilli-Peri.
Races entered: Targa Florio, Mugello, hill climbs.

Sunbeam Motor Car Company Ltd, (Wolverhamton, Staffs., England)
Their racing history went back as far as 1907. In 1922, the beginning of the 2-liter formula, they raced a 4-cylinder car with 1975 cc (68 x 136 mm) twin o.h.c. engine with three valves per cylinder. The 1923 car was much improved with a 1988cc (67 x 94 mm) 6-cylinder engine, twin o.h.c. with two valves per cylinder, capable of 108 hp at 5000 rpm. With that car Segrave won the great battle at Tours for the French Grand Prix and Guinness finished fourth. At Sitges for the Spanish Grand Prix with a very small field, Divo only just won ahead of Zborowski's Miller while Resta retired.
Drivers: Henry Segrave - Kenelm Lee Guiness - Albert Divo - Dario Resta.
Races entered: French Grand Prix at Tours, Spanish Grand Prix at Sitges, Boulogne hill climb.

SA des Aéroplanes G. Voisin, (Issy-les-Moulineaux, Seine) Gabriel Voisin was one of the early aircraft pioneers. In 1918 he built a car, the 18CV, with a 4-L 4-cylinder Knight double sleeve-valve engine, sold as the type M1 Voisin capable of 130 km/h, also a sports version that had 90 hp. In 1921 the 4-L car won a Fuel Consumption Trial at Le Mans. For the 1922 Touring Car Grand Prix he entered cars for Rougier, Duray and Gaudermans. For the 1923 Grand Prix he designed a new streamlined wing-shaped body with entirely flat under-floor. The 1978 cc (62 x 110 mm) 6-cylinder sleeve-valve engine produced 90 hp at 4400 rpm. The car was reliable with a top speed of 175 km/h. Four cars were entered for the French Grand Prix for Duray, Lefębvre, Rougier and Morel. Lefębvre, finished sixth, two of the other cars retired and one was disqualified. For the European Grand Prix at Monza three Voisins were entered. After driving at the back of the 14-car field, all three cars retired.
Drivers: Arthur Duray - André Lefebvre - Henry Rougier - André Morel - Eugenio Silvani.
Races entered: French Grand Prix at Tours, European Grand Prix (Monza).

VICTORIOUS DRIVERS and others nearby

The success of drivers in Major Grand Prix races can be found in the list of 1923 Major Grand Prix Races.

Antonio Ascari, 34, born in Italy, started driving in 1911 with a De Vecchi at a Modena touring event and thereafter joined ALFA as test driver. After WW I in 1919, he won the important Parma-Poggio di Berceto and Coppa della Consuma hill climbs with his own 4.5-L Fiat racecar and crashed with that car at the Targa Florio. He drove for the Alfa Romeo team as of 1921, winning the Parma-Poggio di Berceto hill climb but crashed at Mugello. At the 1922 Targa Florio he also crashed, this time on the first lap. At the 1923 Targa Florio he came second with an Alfa Romeo and won at the Cremona Circuit. At Mugello he finished third, after Brilli-Peri's Steyr and Masetti's larger Alfa Romeo.

Gastone Brilli Peri, 30, was born in Montevarchi near Florence, Italy, and started racing motorcycles but changed to racecars in 1920, first with a Nazarro and then a Fiat. He placed second at Mugello in 1922 and won several hill climbs. During 1922 he entered a Steyr in the Targa Florio, where he crashed after completing three laps in eleventh place and suffered serious injuries. At the 1923 Targa Florio he retired on the first lap with engine problems. At Mugello he won with the Steyr ahead of Masetti's Alfa Romeo. He mainly raced with a Steyr at other events including hill climbs.

Albert Divo, 28, born in France, began his racing career in 1919 as riding mechanic for René Thomas in a Sunbeam. He moved with Thomas to Talbot and in 1922 when Thomas left the team, Divo became a Talbot driver. In 1923 Divo finished second in the French Grand Prix and won the Spanish Grand Prix at the Sitges Oval. As a result, he became the most successful driver of the year.

Albert Guyot, 42, born in Orléans, France, won the 1908 Voiturettes Grand Prix at Dieppe with the Delage. At the 1912 Grand Prix de France at Le Mans, Guyot retired the Picker-Janvier. 1913 at the Boulogne Voiturette race he retired the Delage. At the 1913 Indy 500 Guyot finished fourth with a Sunbeam. At the 1914 edition he came third in a Delage. During WW I, he was a pitot for the French Air Force and was injured in a crash. After WW I, he returned to Indianapolis in 1919, finishing fourth in a Ballot and in 1921 he placed sixth in a Duesenberg. Later the same year he raced a Duesenberg at the French Grand Prix finishing sixth. At the 1922 French Grand Prix he retired with a Rolland-Pilain. At the 1923 French Grand Prix he held fourth place for a while with the Rolland-Pilain but retired near the end. He won the San Sebastian Grand Prix in the Rolland-Pilain, which was his second career victory.

Tommy Milton, 30, born in St. Paul, Minnisota, USA, began racing in 1913 with an aged Mercer at the Minnesota State Fair. He next raced for Alex Sloan, a promoter of automobile races, which were short exhibition events. After racing for IMCA, a Contest Association in 1915, he joined the AAA contest in 2016 and in the same year ranked seventh in the AAA National Championship. In 2017 he won a 100-miler at Narrangansett Park (Providence). He then worked for the Duesenberg company and at the end of WW I, he raced Duesenbergs. When he won the 1919 Elgin road race in superior style with Jimmy Murphy as riding mechanic, he was accepted as one of the leading AAA drivers. Amongst his many victories, he won the Indy 500 in 1921 with a Frontenac. He was the National AAA Champion in 1920 and 1921. In 1923 Milton won the Indy 500 for the second time.

Ferdinando "Nando" Minoia, 39, born in Milan, Italy. At the age of 22 in 1907, he drove an Isotta Fraschini at the Targa Florio, finishing tenth. At the following Kaiserpreis Minoia came seventh and then he won the Coppa Florio at Brecia. At the 1908 Targa Florio he retired with the Isotta Fraschini and at the Grand Prix in Dieppe, Minoia retired with a De Dietrich. Later that year he came seventh with the same car at the Coppa Florio. After WW I in 1919, he won the Fanö-Race in Denmark with a large Fiat. At the 1921 Targa Florio he finished ninth with a Fiat and later at the Voiturette Grand Prix at Brescia he came fifth with an OM. 1922 at Mugello he crashed his OM. At the following Voiturette Grand Prix at Monza, he retired but at the Garda Circuit he came third. 1923 at the Targa Florio he finished third with a Steyr after Sivocci and Ascari. At the European Grand Prix in Monza, he came fourth in the rear-engine Benz racecar. He also entered several other events with an OM.

James Anthony "Jimmy" Murphy, 29, born in San Francisco, USA, he left high school to start work as an apprentice mechanic in a garage. In 1916 Augie Duesenberg hired him as riding mechanic where he partnered with Eddie O'Donnell and William Weightman. In 1919, Murphy was riding with Tommy Milton's Duesenberg where the Elgin road race was his last time as riding mechanic. Jimmy Murphy crashed in practice for his first race, retired at the next event but won at Sheepshead Bay. In 1920 Murphy won three events and came second in the National AAA Championship. Duesenberg entered a 4-car team at the 1921 French Grand Prix, which Jimmy Murphy won 15 minutes ahead of Ralph DePalma' Ballot. In 1922 Jimmy Murphy won both the Indianapolis 500 and the 1922 AAA Championship. In 1923 Jimmy Murphy came third at Indianapolis. Miller entered three type 122 cars for the European Grand Prix at Monza where Jimmy Murphy finished third. He was entered for the Spanish Grand Prix at Sitges but had to leave for America and won again the National AAA Championship.

Carlo Salamano, 32, born in Italy, was a Fiat test driver. At the 1922 Monza Voiturette Grand Prix, Fiat entered four type 803 racecars which finished with Bordino ahead of Giaccone, Lampiano and Salamano. At the 1923 French Grand Prix Salamano was part of the 3-car Fiat team where all three type 805 Fiats retired with engine trouble. But at Monza Salamano in one of the 805 Fiats with a new Roots-type supercharger won the European Grand Prix from his teammate Nazzaro and Murphy's Miller. Later at the Brooklands JCC 200, Salamano in the Fiat 803 racecar dueled with Campbell's 1500 Talbot but both cars blew up.

Sir Henry O'Neil de Hane Segrave, 27, born in Britain, was a Royal Flying Corps pilot during WW I. After the war he began his driving career in 1920 with a 4.5-L 1914 Opel Grand Prix car which he raced at Brooklands entering various races. In 1921 he drove his own Sunbeam at Brooklands and won the race. He then arranged a deal to drive for the Sunbeam works team at the 1921 French Grand Prix, where he finished ninth with mechanical problems. As a result, he was signed up as a full Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq team driver. Segrave drove in several 1922 and 1923 races and won the Grand Prix des Voiturettes at Miramas. In 1923 Segrave won the French Grand Prix ahead of Divo's Delage and Friedrich's Bugatti.


March 4, 1923 --- Ernest Grua (F) died at Le Camp hill climb after his 180 hp racecar spun in a turn at 150 km/h and left the road, crashing down a 200-meter ravine. Both Grua and his riding mechanic Etienne Rouchouse were killed on impact.

June 14, 1923 --- Evasio Lampiano (I), born May 21, 1888 in Torino, died at La Faucille hill climb during a practice run when his Fiat 804 Grand Prix car left the road, hit a kerb-stone, and overturned into a ravine with the driver trapped underneath the car while the riding mechanic Morgante had been thrown out with minor bruises. Lampiano was probably instantly dead due to spinal fracture and severe head injuries. Lampiano was since 1911 test driver with Fiat. At the 1914 Grand Prix in Lyon he was Scales mechanic. At the 1922 Voiturette Grand Prix he finished third in a Fiat. In 1923 he won at Gurnigel and Jura hill climbs in Switzerland.

August 26, 1923 --- Enrico Giaccone (I), born July 20, 1890 in Turin, was one of the Fiat race drivers, but acted as riding mechanic in Bordino's Fiat during a test run at Monza. Just at the beginning of the North curve of the oval track, 50 meters before the race track crossed the road circuit on a bridge, the front axle suddenly gave way and broke off near the right wheel attachment. At speed of 170 km/h, the three-wheeled car overturned several times and caught fire. Bordino, who like Giaccone, was thrown from the car, could get up with some contusions. Giaccone instead suffered a fractured scull and a severely crushed thorax and was laying unconsciously on the track. Help arrived soon but Giaccone died on the way to the Monza Hospital. He was married and was father of two children. As Fiat test driver Giaccone was entered in the 1922 Targa Florio where he finished fifth and later that year, he came second at the Monza Voiturette GP. At the 1923 French Grand Prix he was leading for 18 laps when an engine defect caused his retirement. Thereafter he started practice at Monza for the European Grand Prix.

September 8, 1923 --- Ugo Sivocci (I), born August 29, 1885 in Salerno, Italy, died during a test run at Monza driving an Alfa Romeo P1 Grand Prix car. His car left the track at the left-hand Vialone turn (later renamed Ascari Turn) where the car supposedly overturned and the driver was killed. His riding mechanic Angelo Guatio broke a clavicle and two ribs. As a result, the cars were withdrawn from the start. Sivocci's car carried the race #17. At the 1922 French Grand Prix, Biagio Nazzaro crashed his Fiat, which also had the same number. For this reason, the #17 number was no longer issued in some of 1924 Italian races, like the Targa Florio.
      As a 21-year old in 1906, Sivocci started as a test driver at the Milan De Vecchi Company. That year he won the 87 km race at Sestriere with a 2-cyl. Otav. At the 1913 Targa Florio he came sixth with a De Vecchi and at the following Parma - Poggio di Berceto he finished second in the 2500 class. At the 2014 Coppa Florio he was sixth with a De Vecchi and at Parma - Poggio di Berceto he came eighth. After the war in 1919 a new company in Milan, CMN, bought out De Vecchi Co. and also inherited the workers including Sivocci. During his time as a mechanic and driver at CMN he met and befriended the young Enzo Ferrari and through him he was hired by Alfa Romeo in 1920 to drive in the Alfa Romeo works team. At the 1921 Mugello race he finished third with an Alfa Romeo and later that year at the Italian GP he retired with a Fiat. In 1923 he won the Targa Florio with an Alfa Romeo RL which was his major racing achievement. At the 1923 Monza Touring Car GP he finished third in an Alfa Romeo. He next joined the test runs with Bordino for the upcoming race at Monza.

Sivocci (Alfa Romeo)
13 Ugo Sivocci
SA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo
Alfa Romeo RLTF23
Ascari (Alfa Romeo)
10 Antonio Ascari
SA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo
Alfa Romeo RLTF23
Minoia (Steyr)
18 Ferdinando Minoia
Österreichische Waffenfabriks Gesellschaft
Steyr VI Sport 15/90 hp


Medio Circuito Madonie - Palermo (I), 15 April 1923.
Targa Florio: 4 laps x 108 km (67.1 mi) = 432 km (268.4 mi)


Category 1500 cc
1Giulio PucciG. PucciFiat 501 S1.5S-4DNA - Did not appear
2Domenico AntonelliCount D. AntonelliBugattiT221.5S-4
3Emilio MilioE. MilioFiat 501 S1.5S-4
4Ettore LentiE. LentiBugattiT221.5S-4
5Giuseppe de SetaG. de SetaFiat 501 S1.5S-4
Category 2000 cc
6XXX2.0DNA - Did not appear
7Martino ModňM. ModňDiatto20002.0S-4
Category 3000 cc
8Giuseppe CampariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.0S-6
9Alfieri MaseratiSA Autocostruzioni DiattoDiatto20 S3.0S-4
10Antonio AscariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.0S-6
11Giulio MasettiSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.0S-6
12BodendickBodendickChenard & Walcker3.0S-4
Category 4500 cc
13Ugo SivocciSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.2S-6
14Enzo FerrariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.2S-6
15Gastone Brilli-PeriÖsterreichische Waffenfabriks GesellschaftSteyr VI Sport15/90 hp4.5S-6
16Antonio BecchiA. BecchiNazzaroGP4.54.5S-6
17André BoillotSA des Automobiles et Cycles PeugeotPeugeot174 S4.0S-4
18Ferdinando MinoiaÖsterreichische Waffenfabriks GesellschaftSteyr VI Sport15/90 hp4.5S-6
18Robert SierckeÖsterreichische Waffenfabriks GesellschaftSteyr VI Sport15/90 hp4.5S-6DNS - did not start
19Hermann RützlerÖsterreichische Waffenfabriks GesellschaftSteyr VI Sport15/90 hp4.5S-6

Sivocci wins the Targa Florio with Alfa Romeo

by Hans Etzrodt
A small entry of 17 cars competed for the Targa Florio over four laps around the 108 km Medium Madonie circuit. Bad road conditions resulted in lower speeds than the preceding year. Rützler in the Austrian Steyr dominated the first two laps before he crashed on lap three while leading with a great advantage. Sivocci in one of the large Targa Florio type Alfa Romeos inherited the lead and kept it until the finish. The battle for front places saw the fierce fight by the Alfa Romeos of Campari and Ascari, the Diatto of Alfieri Maserati and Minoia (Steyr). Sivocci won ahead of Ascari, Minoia, Masetti (Alfa Romeo), Becchi (Nazzaro), de Seta, Bodendick, Lenti and Modň. Famous contenders like Brilli-Peri (Steyr), Campari (Alfa Romeo) and Boillot (Peugeot) retired before mid-race.
The Targa Florio was named after their founder, Count Vincenzo Florio. The 1923 Targa Florio was the 14th repetition and was held to free formula regulations. The entries were split into six categories: Category I up to 1100 cc, II up to 1500 cc, III up to 2000 cc, IV up to 3000 cc, V up to 4500 cc and Category VI over 4500 cc. But on the day of the race the organizer applied only four categories, 1500, 2000, 3000 and 4500 cc. The cars had to cover four laps of the 108 km Medium Madonie circuit equal to 432 km. In use since 1919, it included approximately 1500 corners per lap through the mountainous Madonie region of Sicily, making the 432 km Targa Florio a race of over 6000 corners. The narrow circuit with its steep gradients was a true measure of both driver and cars. The start and finish took place near the Cerda train station just a few meters above sea level. The road led several miles up to Cerda village at 273 meters altitude. From here the course twisted uphill to Caltavuturo at 640 meters. From this village the tight, twisting roads wound through the Madonie Mountains and turned back past a depot to refuel and change tires in the town of Polizzi, 917 meters above sea level. Tortuous hairpin bends followed next, snaking downhill through the mountain village of Collesano at 500 meters and then on to Campofelice, just 50 meters above sea level. From there it was downhill to the seven km fast coastal straight where it was possible to use top gear and pass other cars. Finally, the circuit turned inland to the finish near the Cerda train station. For each Category the maximum time allowance was one hour after the first finisher in the respective Category.
      The Reale Automobile Club d'Italia and the Automobile Club di Sicilia awarded the overall winner a large gold medal and 25,000 lire. The individual category winners were awarded a bronze replica of the Targa Florio, the second received a large gold medal, the third a small gold medal and the fourth a large silver medal. All mechanics of winning cars received a small medal.
      A few days before the race it had rained heavily and the water changed the already difficult mountain roads into a quagmire. The condition of the roads made it clear that the times of the previous year, run in dry conditions, would not be reached. The grand stand at the start had been enlarged.
The small list of entries for the Targa Florio with only 17 starters was divided into four categories:
Category II, up to 1500 cc:
There were two Bugattis and two Fiats, of which De Seta drove a nearly-stock 501S.
Category III, up to 2000 cc:
The independently entered Diatto of Modň was the only entry. Dürkopp had entered three cars and Steyr one, but neither did appear.
Category IV up to 3000 cc:
Alfa Romeo produced the RL models in 1922 with the RL Sport and RL Super Sport entered at races with 2994 cc (76 x 110 mm) 6-cylinder engines giving 71 hp at 3500 rpm and 83 hp at 3600 rpm for the RLSS. For 1923 they developed the RL Targa Florio with re-bored engine to 3154 cc (78 x 110 mm), giving 96 hp at 3800 rpm and with shortened wheelbase of 288 cm while the RLSS had 314 cm. Masetti still owned the Mercedes in which he won the 1922 race, but when he was invited by Alfa Romeo to drive one of their cars, he decided to join the team with a RLTF23, the same type driven by Campari and Ascari. Diatto entered a type 20 S with a 3.0-Liter engine for Alfieri Maserati and Bodendick drove a 4-cylinder Chenard & Walcker.
Category V up to 4500 cc:
Alfa Romeo entered two 3.2-L model RLTF23 for Sivocci and Ferrari. The Austrian Steyr Company arrived with type Steyr VI Sport 15/90 hp with 4.5-Liter 6-cylinder o.h.c. engine delivering over 100 hp at 3000 rpm for Minoia, Brilli-Peri, Rützler and Sierke. The latter did not start but Minoia drove his car in the race. The color of the Austrian cars was neither white nor silver but simply gray. Peugeot brought just one of their 3,990cc 4-cylinder sleeve valve race cars for André Boillot who had won the race in 1919 with the EX5 Peugeot. There was an older 4.5-L 6-cylinder Nazzaro for Becchi.
Alfa Romeo had been practicing for weeks while Minoia only received permission to race one day before the start. As a result, his brief practice was detrimental towards his chances for victory. During the last days before the race it had rained almost continuously, resulting in soft and slippery roads. In the many corners there were rather deep potholes which presented dangerous obstacles. At the day of the race the weather cleared but the roads remained slippery, requiring Rützler to fit his Steyr with special studded anti-slip tires.
In the first hours of Sunday morning an enormous pilgrimage of local enthusiasts arrived by special trains, car and on foot. They came to take possession of the best viewpoints around the entire circuit before these places were overcrowded. The favorites were André Boillot (Peugeot) and the Alfa Romeo drivers Campari and Count Masetti who had won the Targa Florio in 1921 and 1922. Amongst the non-starters was Pucci (1500 Fiat) and the Steyr driver Robert Siercke. The entries were decided by drawing lots. The cars started individually in order of race numbers at intervals of five minutes. However, the cars were not necessarily released at five-minutes intervals. The starting times were determined beforehand according to the race numbers and if cars did not appear at the start (e.g. #1), then the car #2 was held to its predetermined time of departure. The start began at 7:00 in the morning, the first car started at 7:05 and the last car left at 8:30.
7:001PucciFiat1500 ccDid not start
7:205de SetaFiat--"--
7:256XX2000 ccDid not start
7:358CampariAlfa Romeo3000 cc
7:4510AscariAlfa Romeo--"--
7:5011MasettiAlfa Romeo--"--
8:0013SivocciAlfa Romeo4500 cc
8:0514FerrariAlfa Romeo--"--
At the end of the first lap Rützler was in the lead after 1h45m19s. His most dangerous opponent was Campari who followed over one minute behind, ahead of Maserati, Sivocci and Boillot, all three with a time of 1h48m. Ferrari was in sixth place, although he had spun off in one of the many turns with his Alfa Romeo but escaped without injuries. Masetti fell 18 minutes behind. Brilli-Peri (Steyr) retired after only 34 km due to engine failure and Antonelli (1500 Bugatti) also did not reach the finish. The field was down to 15 cars in the following order after the first lap:
1.Rützler (Steyr)1h45m19.2s4500 cc category
2.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h46m35.0s3000 cc
3.Maserati (Diatto)1h48m30.0s3000 cc
4.Sivocci (Alfa Romeo)1h48m35.6s4500 cc
5.Boillot (Peugeot)1h48m43.0s4500 cc
6.Ferrari (Alfa Romeo)1h51m44.0s4500 cc
7.Minoia (Steyr)1h53m30.4s4500 cc
8.Ascari (Alfa Romeo)1h57m31.4s3000 cc
9.Becchi (Nazzaro)2h00m38.0s4500 cc
10.Masetti (Alfa Romeo)2h03m52.6s3000 cc
11.Milio (Fiat)2h04m05.2s1500 cc
12.Modň (Diatto)2h11m44.0s2000 cc
13.De Seta (Fiat)2h15m28.1s1500 cc
14.Bodendick (Chenard-W.)2h18m35.0s3000 cc
15.Lenti (Bugatti)2h49m26.2s1500 cc

At the end of the second lap Rützler was still in the lead after 3h30m53s. He had increased his advantage to nearly eight minutes with a lap of 1h45m34s, a bit slower than his first round. But Ascari drove the fastest lap of the race in 1h41m11s, which propelled him into third position. After Campari retired, Maserati held second place. Ferrari crashed 100 meters ahead of the grandstand without injuring himself and retired. Milio (1500 Fiat) also did not finish. Most drivers stopped after the second lap to refuel, top up fluids and change tires. The field was down to 12 cars in the following order after the second lap:
1.Rützler (Steyr)3h30m53s4500 cc category
2.Maserati (Diatto)3h38m37s3000 cc
3.Ascari (Alfa Romeo)3h38m42s3000 cc
4.Sivocci (Alfa Romeo)3h40m23s4500 cc
5.Minoia (Steyr)3h40m33s4500 cc
6.Masetti (Alfa Romeo)3h52m09s3000 cc
7.Boillot (Peugeot)3h59m09s4500 cc
8.Becchi (Nazzaro)3h00m20s4500 cc
9.Modň (Diatto)4h20m16s2000 cc
10.De Seta (Fiat)4h28m49s1500 cc
11.Bodendick (Chenard-W.)4h44m31s3000 cc
12.Lenti (Bugatti)4h59m47s1500 cc

On the third lap Boillot (Peugeot), as he exited a turn near Caltavuturo, suddenly saw a large piece of rock on the road in front of him which had not been there the previous lap. Despite very hard braking he could not avoid the impact. He retired without injuries to himself, but the sump of the engine broke, including the oil pump. Rützler (Steyr) lost his assured victory when he spun off the road while leading. The car hit a large rock, damaging the front axle, disabling him to continue and forced his retirement. Sivocci now inherited the lead with a time of 5h29m48s. The field was down to 10 cars in the following order after the third lap:
1.Sivocci (Alfa Romeo)5h29m48s4500 cc category
2.Minoia (Steyr)5h30m24s4500 cc
3.Ascari (Alfa Romeo)5h30m35s3000 cc
4.Maserati (Diatto)5h32m14s3000 cc
5.Masetti (Alfa Romeo)5h46m38s3000 cc
6.Becchi (Nazzaro)6h01m34s4500 cc
7.De Seta (Fiat)6h39m54s1500 cc
8.Bodendick (Chenard-W.)6h51m16s3000 cc
9.Modň (Diatto)6h54m12s2000 cc
10.Lenti (Bugatti)7h07m02s1500 cc

The last lap was a battle between Alfa Romeo and the Steyr of Minoia between the two Alfa Romeos of Sivocci and Ascari. However, Ascari passed both, Minoia and Sivocci, and was actually leading but then an engine defect forced Ascari to stop. The repair took several minutes and he eventually had to be content with second place behind his teammate Sivocci. Minoia had to stop four kilometers ahead of the finish, losing precious minutes. When Maserati in fourth place retired his Diatto on the last lap, Masetti advanced to fourth place and Alfa Romeo claimed first place (Sivocci), second (Ascari) and fourth place, an excellent result for the company that had just lately got more involved in racing. According to the regulations, the overall winner had no right to claim first place of his Category. Hence, Minoia was winner of the 4500 Category.

Targa Florio Results


1.13Ugo SivocciSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.2S-647h18m00s
2.10Antonio AscariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.0S-647h20m52s+ 2m52s
3.18Ferdinando MinoiaÖsterreichische Waffenfabriks GesellschaftSteyr VI Sport15/90 hp4.5S-647h32m40s+ 14m40s
4.11Giulio MasettiSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.0S-647h35m04s+ 17m04s
5.16Antonio BecchiA. BecchiNazzaroGP4.54.5S-648h15m05s+ 57m05s
6.5Giuseppe de SetaG. de SetaFiat 501 S1.5S-448h51m54s+ 1h33m54s
7.12BodendickBodendickChenard & Walcker3.0S-449h01m00s+ 1h43m00s
8.4Ettore LentiE. LentiBugattiT221.5S-449h06m38s+ 1h48m38s
9.7Martino ModňM. ModňDiatto20002.0S-449h29m00s+ 2h11m00s
DNF9Alfieri MaseratiSA Autocostruzioni DiattoDiatto20 S3.0S-43
DNF17André BoillotSA des Automobiles et Cycles PeugeotPeugeot174 S4.0S-42crash
DNF19Hermann RützlerÖsterreichische Waffenfabriks GesellschaftSteyr VI Sport15/90 hp4.5S-62crash
DNF14Enzo FerrariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.2S-61crash
DNF8Giuseppe CampariSA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo & CAlfa RomeoRLTF233.0S-61
DNF3Emilio MilioE. MilioFiat 501 S1.5S-41mechanical
DNF2Domenico AntonelliCount D. AntonelliBugattiT221.5S-40mechanical
DNF15Gastone Brilli-PeriÖsterreichische Waffenfabriks GesellschaftSteyr VI Sport15/90 hp4.5S-60engine
Fastest lap: Antonio Ascari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 2 in 1h41m11s = 64.0 km/h (39.8 mph).
Winner's average speed: 59.2 km/h (36.8 mph).
Weather: overcast, dry.
In retrospect:
Bodendick in the 3-L Chenard & Walcker finished 1h40m after Category winner Ascari and was classified as seventh finisher despite exceeding the maximum time allowance of one hour, which evidently was not applied.

The final results differed between the sources and we only showed full seconds without decimals. We believe to have selected the correct times for this report.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
L'Auto, Paris
La Nuova Italia Sportiva, Roma
La Stampa, Torino
Le Miroir des Sports, Paris
MOTOR, Berlin
Omnia, Paris
Rapiditas, Palermo
Stadium, Barcelona
Special thanks to:
Alessandro Silva
Giuseppe Prisco
Vladislav Shaikhnurov
Michael Müller


© 2021 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 16.01.2021