Bertone Panther

History has shown us that unless you're Scuderia Ferrari or a select few other race teams to make the newspaper on a regular basis, it's remarkably difficult to both gain a following and make money from racing. All of the best teams now have other ways to make cash, and a good example is Prodrive—in addition to building and running world-class race cars, they also sell performance exhaust and various other tuner parts to the public.

While there's money in and around racing, earning lots of it is not the most straightforward of tasks. At the moment, most of the successful ones diversify, either in road cars, automotive engineering, or tuner parts. Then there's Red Bull Racing, who are just an offshoot of the energy drink's marketing department. In the game of earning product exposure, it's simply a cheap way of earning TV time and media attention for the brand. 

For instance, in 2012 Red Bull Racing is believed to have spent $367 million USD on their Formula 1 team, enough to earn them a World Championship. In the same year, Coca-Cola spent around $500 million marketing their product in the US alone, without the added bonus of a trophy for the office lobby. Even more brilliant is that this came with a revenue of $374 million, earning the company a profit of more than $7 million.

But they're an anomaly, attacking the problem from the boardroom first and dank garage second. You'd think that stories about heroic all-nighters and stories of bartering to make ends meet or heroic boardroom showdowns would earn race teams more press, but it's not the case. Often the most defining stories in the history of racing involve drivers, tracks, cars, and sometimes corners—but rarely the team is credited as part of the puzzle that helped cause a moment to happen.

Founded in 1964 in response to their local government's refusal to reignite the Mille Miglia, a team of dissatisfied racers banded together to form Scuderia Brescia Course, so-named after the town where the Mille Miglia had its starting line. The team was wonderfully car-agnostic as well, meaning that the wealthy privateer could turn up with a brand-new Alfa Romeo or Porsche and receive the same team support. 

The setup worked a treat, and by the late '60s were entered into a number of prestigious events; this reflected their strategy of both national and international competition. At the Bertone stand for the 1968 Geneva Motor Show, the team's lofty ambitions became clear: project Panther sought to contest over 3-litre prototype races in the World Sportscar Championship.

Bertone was contracted to create the stunning prototype, and, somehow, found the time to include several revolutionary details. An alloy and titanium tube frame chassis featured clean aerodynamics, hydraulically-controlled main wing, and even 24-volt electrics. Originally, BRM was to supply the engine for the project, but the team ended up courting Maserati for a powerplant.

It was not to be—a lack of support both in Italy and abroad showed Scuderia Brescia Course wasn't quite ready for an all-out assault on the world stage.