Celso Lara Barberis spent most of his racing career racing sports cars, racing the ex-Chico Landi Ferrari 375 F1 fitted with a Corvette V8 engine in the Mecanica Continental Championship, as well as a Maserati. He competed in 500Km races with cars in the MecÃ¢nica Nacional class as well as Carretera races. He was killed in 1963 in the 500 km at Interlagos when he crashed after touching the Maserati/Corvette of JoÃ£o Baptist.
Celso Lara Barberis was born in São Paulo. He nearly had no other brothers or sisters as his mother had a miscarriage. Not wanting Celso to be an only child his parents adopted a baby girl.
His father was an Italian doctor who became a coffee farmer in the district of Fartura, a region west of São Paulo. He was a keen swimmer and oarsman. He would have represented Brazil in the single skulls in the Berlin Olympics in 1936, but unfortunately suffered from food poisoning on the eve of the teams departure, and had to be hospitalised for a few days, missing the boat.
Celso had always liked cars, and in 1955, he had a car built in the workshops of Oliveira Monarca in the Bela Vista quarter. This car was built by Toni Bianco, who at the time was just starting out in Brazil. He started racing in 1949, at 33 years of age. This was quite usual as racing was considered a mature mans sport. He moved in 1951 with his parents, going to live in the Rua Suécia, in the Jardim Europa quarter.
He spent most of his racing career in sports cars, racing a the ex-Chico Landi’s Ferrari 375 F1 which was fitted with a Corvette V8 engine, (This car was typical of those built for the Mecanica Continental Championship, a series for single-seaters with big American engines), as well as a Maserati. He competed in 500Km races with cars in the Mecânica Nacional class as well as Carretera races. He also participated in five Mil Milhas (57/58/59/60/61).
He also raced in the World Sports Car Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, driving with Godofredo Viana Junior in 1956, Eugênio Martins in 57 and 58 and in 1960 with Christian "Bino" Heins, driving in a Maserati 300S finishing 4th.
His career lasted 14 years, until he was killed in the 1963 500 km at Interlagos, driving with Chico Landi using a race car built by Toni Bianco and Landi powered by a 2 litre FNM/JK engine. This car had started life as a Formula Jr with a 1 litre engine but this was changed for Mecânica Nacional where you could run up to 2.5 litres.
The race meeting started tragically with Edmundo "Dinho" Bonotti dying from injuries suffered in an accident during practice. In the race itself, the three-time champion (57, 60 and 61), Barberis, was killed when his car crashed after touching the Maserati/Corvette of João Baptist.
Toni Bianco cut the car into four pieces and never built another one.
Translated from the work of Pablo Robert Peralta.