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Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 - Part 2

by

Antonio Eiras

In 1972 Alfa Romeo entered the new 33/3TT (TT of Telaio Tubolare or tubular chassis), with the V8 engine of 3 liters to be temporarily used in a new light alloy chassis. The evolution was, however, insufficient to counter the dominance of Ferrari that year and, in the following year, despite the use of a new 12 cylinders boxer engine with 4 valves per cylinder, which delivered 500 hp at 11,000 rpm, designed once again, by Carlo Chiti, its drivers they could do little more than watch the duel between the rival Italian and the French Matra.

 

It was clear that Alfa Romeo had to evolve and Autodelta presented during the season of 73, the new type 33TT12. This model used the same chassis as its predecessor, powered by the same boxer engine. The bodywork had a fabulous look with the shaped edge front, huge vertical rear fins, and with a prominent dynamic air intake to the engine, to be introduced in the next year.

 

With the missing Ferrari, the 1974 Manufacturers World Championship started in the best way for Alfa Romeo, that won the first three places in the 1000 km of Monza, but throughout the remaining championship, the Italian brand could not resist the supremacy of Matra.

 

In 1975, after the retirement of the French team, the 33TT12 were entered by the Willi Kausen Racing Team and, under the guidance of Domingos Piedade, as Team Manager, it won seven of the eight races of the Championship and the World title for Alfa Romeo. There were made six examples of the Type 33TT12.

 

After a 1976 Year where Autodelta concentrated its efforts on preparing the engines for the Brabham Formula 1 Team, the Italian Team return to Sport-Prototypes in 1977 with a new model, the 33SC12 Type, which used a new lighter chassis, mix of monocoque and tubular. The boxer engine was developed and delivered about 520 hp at 12,000 rpm.

 

Without opposition, the mark of the Four Leaf Clover won the 8 races of the Championship and one more World title. In Salzburgring it was inscribed a 33SC12 powered with an 2.1 liter engine, with two turbochargers, one per cylinder bank, which delivered 640 hp at 11,000 rpm and that, droved by Arturo Merzario, proved very fast and reliable, finishing the race in 2nd place. There were made six examples of the Type 33SC12 and two of the supercharged version.

 

Disheartened by the lack of opponents and with the aim of strengthening its presence in Formula 1, Alfa Romeo finished at the end of this year, its official participation in the Sport-Prototypes Championship, ending thus one of the most beautiful chapters of the Motor Sport History.

 

Over the ten-year saga, the different models of the Type 33 were drived by major talents of his time, such as Jacky Ickx, Peter Revson, Mario Andretti, Derek Bell, Ronnie Peterson, Jacques Laffite, Henri Pescarolo, Carlos Reutmann, Lucien Bianchi, Piers Courage, Nanni Galli, Rolf Stommelen, Ignazio Giunti and Nino Vaccarella, among many others. It was a time when many Formula One drivers shared his time between Formula One and Sports-Prototypes to the big joy of spectators, who flocked en masse to the circuits, for the benefit of the teams, which were paid for participation in the races and has contributed greatly to the promotion of Motor Sport.

 

This work was carried out in 1993, in close collaboration with my friend Manolo Domenech, having been published in Gran Auto 16 magazine which was Director. The drawing of the Alfa Romeo Carabo, prototype based on the Stradale, designed by Marcello Gandini, while working at Bertone, was made for Manolo, a great enthusiast of this prototype, of Alfa Romeo and of all sports cars.

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