Fritz d'Orey


Record updated 25-Mar-20

Fritz d'Orey was a Brazilian racing driver. He participated in 3 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on July 5, 1959. He scored no championship points.

Fritz d'Orey
Frederico José Carlos Themudo d’Orey was born in Sao Paulo, the son of a wealthy Packard dealer. Fritz began racing with a Porsche Spyder but his career really took off in 1958 when he bought the ex-Chico Landi’s Ferrari 375 F1 from Celso Lara Barberis. As with many European cars that made there way to South America for Mecanica Continental Championship, it was fitted with a V8 engine from a Chevrolet Corvette.

With his Ferrari-Corvette, D’Orey enjoyed considerable success, not only in his home country but also in Uruguay and Argentina. Thanks to his victories he won both the São Paulo and Brazilian championships.

His best win was undoubtedly the 500km at Interlagos on September 7th, 1958. At the end of the first lap D’Orey was second behind Barberis in a Talbot-Cadillac and ahead of Christófaro, Nastromagario and Chico Landi. Ciro Caires, driving another Ferrari-Corvette, came from last position on the first lap to overtake almost the whole field until a spin ended his race. D’Orey passed Barberis, whose Talbot didn't handle as well as the Ferrari and went on to win the race in a time of three and a half hours, two laps ahead of Christófaro and five laps ahead of Barberis and Margarido. Unfortunately the race was overshadowed by the death of a marshall who was hit by Landi’s Ferrari-Corvette. He then took the win at the Circuito da Barra da Tijuca driving the ex-Castellotti Ferrari 500 Mondial (0560).

In 1959 D’Orey travelled to Argentina to take part in some local races. There his tallent was spotted by Juan Manuel Fangio, who had retired the previous year. Fangio hired him to be part of a team of South American drivers that he took to race in Europe.

D’Orey was on the entry list for the Monaco GP with a Maserati 250F run by the Argentina team, but didn' take part. However he decided to move to Modena and bought a Ferrari 250GT LWB Berlinetta Scaglietti (0787GT) from Countess Elvira Vaselli. The car had originally been built for Venetian gentleman driver Oscar Papais. His first race was the Lottery Grand Prix at Monza. In spite of a spin he finished 7th.

A week later he took part his first Grand Prix in Reims. Driving an aging Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F (2522) he qualified 18th. The car had previously been driven by another Brazilian, Hermano Da Silva Ramos and had won the 1956 Glover Trophy and the 1956 Monaco Grand Prix driven by Stirling Moss. Though Fritz was about 14 seconds a lap slower than pole man Tony Brooks in Ferrari 246, he was the fastest of the 250F drivers. In the race he eventually finished 10th, ten laps down on the winner, Tony Brooks.

A week later he drove his own Ferrari 250GT LWB in the Trento-Bondone hillclimb, taking second place in the GT category. It was back to a Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F for the British Grand Prix at Aintree on July 18. As in France there were three Centro Sud cars: D’Orey’s Maserati and two Cooper T51s for Burgess and Hans Herrmann. He qualified 20th and crashed out of the race on lap 57 while he was running 15th and last.

He retired a Porsche 1500 RS at Avus in August. But then at the Wurzenpass hillclimb he finished 2nd in a Ferrari and at the Gaisberg hillclimb he finished 3rd in a Stanguellini-Fiat.

D’Orey continued to race the Stanguellini-Fiat in European Formula Junior races. He won the first one in Messina, beating fellow Brasilian, Christian “Bino” Heins. He retired at the Nürburgring and then at the beginning of September he raced at Cadours. He won the first heat ahead of Henri Grandsire, Giovanni Alberti and Lorenzo Bandini. Unfortunately in the final he could only manage 7th behind Bandini and one lap from the winner, Bill de Selincourt.

Next up was the Coppa Inter Europa at Monza. D’Orey drove his Ferrari 250GT. He retired and had to give up the idea of taking part in the Tour de France with Italian driver Piero Drogo.

Late in the year Fritz travelled to America to take part in the Formula Junior support race and the US F1 Grand Prix at Sebring. He took second in the Formula Junior race behind Walt Hansgen and set the fastest lap. For the US Grand Prix he drove a TecMec-Maserati F415 belonging to the Camoradi USA team. The TechMec came about after Maserati withdrew from racing in 1958. Valerio Colotti, the chassis and transmission engineer at Maserati, decided to create his own company, Studio Tecnica Meccanica based in Modena, with the financial help of American Tom Meed. Giorgio Scarlatti, the Italian driver, asked him to design a single-seater with a Maserati 250F engine. However the business was bought out bought out and the car was renamed the TecMec. The car was not fast wasn't fast and it was eventually car under the Camoradi banner. D’Orey qualified 17th out of 19 and retired after seven laps because of an oil leak. This spelled the end of both D’Orey's and TecMec’s F1 aspirations

1960 began back at Sebring with D’Orey becoming the first Brazilian to take part in the famous 12 Hour race. Driving with William Sturgis in the latter's Ferrari 250 GT SWB they finished in 6th overall and 4th in the S3.0 category, thirteen laps behind winners Herrmann and Gendebien in a Porsche 718 RS60.

Fritz planned to race for Scuderia Serenissima for a full season of sportscar racing. Then three months after Sebring he was driving the teams Ferrari 250GT SWB (14) in practice for Le Mans when he crashed into a tree at 270kph. The car split in two and Fritz suffered head injuries. Some newspapers even reported his death. He was in hospital for eight months and at just 22 though that it was time to quit racing.

He returned to Brazil to work in his father’s construction and garage business, though later on he did spend five years living in Paris.

He now lives in Copacabana and occasionally takes part in historic events.