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October 11, 1928 – Birth of racer Alfonso de Portago

The man with perhaps the longest name in automobile racing history was born on this day in 1928. Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, Marquis of Portago, best known as Alfonso de Portago, was a Ferrari race car driver from spain. One of his first transportation feats wasn’t by land but by air, when at the age of 17 the millionaire heir flew his plane beneath the London Bridge, winning a $500 bet. He began racing sports cars in 1953 after meeting a US Ferrari importer who asked him to be his co-driver in an upcoming race. He was a successful driver, winning races such as the Tour de France automobile race, the Grand Prix of Oporto, and the Nassau Governor’s Cup. Interestingly, he was also a bobsled racer, participating in the 1956 Winter Olympics, where he missed out on a medal by 0.16 seconds. Alfonso was killed, along with his co-driver Edmund Nelson, on May 12, 1957 during the Mille Miglia. He lost control after a tire blowout during a straight section of track. The crash claimed the lives of nine spectators, including five children.

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