In development terms, few cars can match the ATS Tipo 100 for intrigue. In '61, Ferrari's race division was riding high. As F1's new 1.5-litre era dawned, prospects for the prancing horse marque looked rosy. The fire-engine red, shark-nosed Ferraris ruled the F1 roost. Enzo Ferrari - founder of the firm - was, no doubt, a happy man. Not so, though, some of his employees. At the end of the '61 season, Enzo fell out with his top engineers. As a result, they picked up their spanners and left.
Ring-leader of these motor racing dissidents was Carlo Chiti. Rotund of frame - and temperamental by nature - many considered him a design genius. He was also thought of as a thoroughly good egg! Chiti took his troop of disgruntled technicians to Sasso Marconi - near Bologna. Before long, he had set up a factory and foundry. Chiti had financial clout - courtesy of a trio of industrialists. He was a man on a motor racing mission. After the mass walk-out from Modena, Ferrari now had a rival. Specifically, ATS - Automobili Turismo Sport. There was a new race team on the Bologna block. And Carlo Chiti was in charge.
The V8-powered Tipo 100 debuted at the '63 Belgian GP - at Spa Francorchamps. It created a stir from the start. In a nice piece of PR, ATS purposely parked their transporter away from the paddock. When the two Tipo 100s hit the grid, the buzz was electric! The build-up, though, was not backed up on the track. The cars were far from well-sorted. Indeed, their chassis had had to be sawn and re-welded - to change the engines! Bear in mind, these were no amateurs. They were ex-Ferrari race engineers. High-calibre drivers had been recruited to the ATS cause. Namely, Phil Hill - a former world champion - and Giancarlo Bhagetti, winner of the '61 French GP. However - to ATS' chagrin - even their combined talents could not save the Tipo 100 from under-achieving. Through '63 - and the following two seasons - results ranged from disappointing to dire! In time, the ATS project petered out. Its gallant challenge to the might of Ferrari failed. Chiti - and his renegade team - had displayed courage and integrity. Ultimately, ATS - and the Tipo 100 - just ran out of steam.