Imagine American racing champions A.J. Foyt and Jimmy Bryan competing alongside European Grand Prix stars Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio – all on the same track at the same time. It sounds like a fantasy racing scenario, but it happened in 1958 at the “500 Miglia di Monza,” better known as the “Race of Two Worlds.”
For the first time in history, the recorded radio broadcasts of that epic event 62 years ago – plus the broadcast of the 1957 “Race of Two Worlds” – are available for digital download as part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum’s ongoing archival restoration and preservation efforts.
The broadcasts will be available June 29, for just $9.99 each, at the following address: https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/history/purchase-historical-race-broadcasts. The timing honors the race date of both “Race of Two Worlds.” It was June 29, 1957 and 1958 when many of the world’s best drivers clashed at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Italy – or simply “Monza.”
For many years it was believed these rare broadcasts were lost to history, but 1/4-inch audio recordings of the races were discovered in the IMS Museum vault. As part of the Museum’s ongoing audio preservation project, the recordings were sent to Memnon Archiving Services in Bloomington, Indiana for preservation and digitization.
The “Race of Two Worlds” was a special non-points event sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC) and took place on Monza’s daunting 2.64-mile oval, which featured gradient banking in the corners up to 38 degrees at the top. The events were a total of 500 miles – but consisted of three 63-lap heat races and the winner was determined by the overall elapsed time.
Due to safety concerns, the European racing fraternity didn’t show up for the 1957 race except for the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar team – which had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans the week before! For 1958, however, Europe was well represented by standouts including Moss, Fangio, Phil Hill, Mike Hawthorn and Luigi Musso.
USAC star and multi-time champion Bryan won the inaugural race in 1957, and Jim Rathmann took the 1958 event.
The original radio broadcasts were facilitated in a partnership between the Air Trails Network in Dayton, Ohio and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. Beloved IMS radio Chief Announcer Sid Collins did not make the trip, so it was Jack Wymer, station manager of Dayton’s WING, fellow WING on-air personality Alex Buchan, and Charlie Brockman, a veteran of the IMS Radio Network broadcasts, who called the races.
“We are thrilled to offer these unique broadcasts to the public for sale for the first time since they aired,” said Mike Thomsen, curator of media and historic archives for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. “We are proud of our ongoing project to preserve our vast audio and video archives and hope fans worldwide will enjoy hearing these unique races which featured some of the greatest stars of USAC and Grand Prix racing.”
About the IMS Museum: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to one of the world’s premier motorsports and automobile collections, with interpretive emphasis on the Indianapolis 500 and its role as an American icon of sporting tradition and innovation.
Located inside the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the IMS Museum is currently closed due to the COVID-19 National Emergency but is scheduled to reopen July 7. The Museum is normally open 363 days a year (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas) and is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization which relies on support from admissions, tours, sponsorships, annual memberships and planned-giving for its operations, educational programming, restoration and preservation efforts, and special exhibits and events.
Resources During COVID-19 Closure: Please visit www.indyracingmuseum.org for more information and to enjoy our growing database of education materials and archives. We are updating our social media frequently during our closure, so find us @imsmuseum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and visit our pages on YouTube and LinkedIn. The Museum will announce reopening procedures soon.