19/2/1923 - 15/6/1961
Record updated 16-Jun-08
A very experienced and reliable sports car driver, Cabianca died in a bizzare accident at the Autodromo di Modena when testing his Cooper-Ferrari. The car left the circuit and was in collision with a bicycle, a motorcycle, a small passing mini-van and three parked cars.
A very experienced and reliable sports car driver, Cabianca spent most of the fifties pitting the works OSCA sports cars against more powerful opposition, regularly picking up class wins in classic events. He was seventh overall and first in class in the 1955 Targa Florio and after a superb drive repeated the feat in the 1957 Mille Miglia with Chiron (ninth overall). This lead to his occasional inclusion in the works Ferrari sports car squad for 1959 and 60. His best result was a fourth in the Targa Florio.
In 1958 he finished third to Trintignant in the Pau GP driving F2 OSCA after he had help the lead early on. He made his Formula 1 debut racing the same year driving Jo Bonnier's Maserati 250F in the Italian Grand Prix where he lay fifth before retiring and in the boycotted Italian Grand Prix two years later, he finished fourth in his Scuderia Castellotti Cooper-Ferrari.
He took second place in the 1961 Mille Miglia in a Flammini Zagato.
In June 1961 Cabianca died while carrying out private testing with his Scuderia Castellotti Cooper-Ferrari Formula 1 car at the Aeroautodromo di Modena. As the track was being used at the same time by a racing school, Cabianca completed a number of laps at reduced speed until the students left, at which time he increased his pace.
Cabianca had his accident on his ninth lap at speed, sometime around six o'clock in the afternoon. Possibly due to a gearbox failure, as his mechanic later stated that the gearbox was not adequate for a Formula 1 car. this is born out by the fact that the rescuers that attended Cabianca found the car stuck in fouth gear. He failed to reduce the speed of his Cooper for the slow, tight turn at the end of the straight opposite the grandstands. To avoid a crash, Cabianca looked for a escape route, and drove the car through the gate that separated it from Via Emilia, one of the busiest routes in Northern Italy. That gate had been left open as trucks were transporting gravel to the circuit for the construction of a new spectator area.
In the accident the Cooper first hit the eighteen-year old, Enrico Moro, who was spectating inside the circuit itself, then it crossed Via Emilia and ended up at the Via Zucchi, a street in front of the track, where it crashed into the wall of a workshop.
Seven vehicles were involved in the accident: a bicycle, a motorcycle, a small passing mini-van (a "Giardinetta"), three parked cars and Cabianca's Cooper itself. Gino Arboresi, the driver of the mini-van, and Eugenio Stefani, the motorcycle rider, were killed instantly. The Giardinetta was carrying heavy blocks of metal, one of them crushed and killed the bicyclist, Ivo Messori. Cabianca was found conscious, but passed away later that same day at 21 hours at the St. Agostino hospital, located very near the track. Moro, hit at almost full speed, was badly injured but fortunately survived.