Legendary Ferrari engineer Forghieri dies at 87

Motorsport Images

Legendary Ferrari engineer Forghieri dies at 87

Formula 1

Legendary Ferrari engineer Forghieri dies at 87


The legendary Ferrari designer Mauro Forghieri, who oversaw a number of championship-winning designs for nearly a quarter of a century, has died at the age of 87.

Forghieri (pictured at left, above, with Niki Lauda in 1974) worked for Ferrari for more than 25 years, having been born in Modena and educated in mechanical engineering at the University of Bologna. The Italian joined Ferrari as an apprentice in 1960 and was soon rising to a position of authority after many senior engineers and designers left for rival team ATS in 1961.

By 1963, Forghieri was technical director of racing cars despite still only being in his late 20s, but success was set to follow. The Ferrari 158 carried John Surtees and Ferrari to a championship double in 1964, and while F1 titles dried up for a decade, ongoing success in sports cars ensured Forghieri’s talents remained with the Scuderia.

Forghieri’s 312T designs, including the 312T2 driven here by Niki Lauda in 1977, achieved an era of domination for the Scuderia. Rainer Schlegelmilch/Motorsport Images

Forghieri’s 312T series of cars brought Ferrari huge success in Formula 1 in the mid-1970s, as he introduced the transverse-mounted gearbox to the sport. Niki Lauda took the drivers’ title in 1975 and followed that up with another in 1977, and then Jody Scheckter also became world champion in 1979. In all three of those seasons — as well as 1976 — Ferrari picked up the constructors’ title too in a dominant run of form.

In total, Ferrari won seven constructors’ championships and four drivers’ titles under Forghieri’s technical leadership, before the Italian moved to Lamborghini in 1987. There he would work on Lamborghini’s V12 F1 engine, before co-founding the Oral Engineering Group in the mid-1990s that allowed him to work on a variety of automotive projects in motorcycles as well as cars, including for BMW and Bugatti.