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“The magician”

If we say “The magician” or we mean Guillermo Coria or Oreste Berta. And since we're talking about motorsport here, the doubt dissipates.

If we say “The magician” or we mean Guillermo Coria or Oreste Berta. And since we're talking about motorsport here, the doubt dissipates.

For something they said “The magician” to the greatest coach and engine coach in Argentine history. I still remember and I won't forget when in 2002 I bought a Torino coupe. And I took it to Alta Gracia to leave it original. It looked like a factory exit when he returned it to me.

Oreste is a self-taught. Which bounds his figure. He is an Honoris Causa of the University of Córdoba, San Juan University and National Technology.

He was born on September 29, 38 in Rafaela. He started in the United States, fixing Ducatis and Cucciolos. He returned to the country in '65 and put together a Renault Dauphine for Road Tourism. That made him debut with Copello's hand. He led the three laps he ran, until he broke engine. That's where it all started.

Your career

He was hired by the IKA for Road Tourism, precisely. He prepared the 380W, type “Liebre Torino” that won the championships of 67, (68 runner-up), 69, 70 and 71. Lack of papers the passage through the IKA... In 69, he was as Technical Director of the Argentine Mission at 84 hours from Nürburgring. From the hand of “El chueco” Fangio.

Here in Argentina they were waiting for trouble... that's weird. The drivers at Turismo Carretera said that the regulation favored the Torino. So Oreste and Luis Rubén Di Palma decided to retire from the category. Again, the punishment turned out worse for the punisher. In 1973 he built the famous 7-bed Torino engine. The “Torino OHC” of 3800 cm3. That offered a power of 215 HP and a top speed of 205 km/h, the one who had my coupe... I cry!

The international passage

In 1969 “The Magician” set up a Sport International Prototype. Based on its own design and powered by a Cosworth V8. It was called “Berta LR” because in the project he put money on the, at that time, great newspaper “La Razón”. Unfortunately, two major accidents dyed his debut, in the 1,000 kilometers of Buenos Aires. 1970. Where it was measured against the Porsche, Ferrari, Matra and Alfa Romeo.

After getting the feat (origin of his nickname?) to rebuild the car in three days, was measured against the most powerful. It was handled by a Carlos Marincovich. Encouraged by the result in the race and by President Carlos Onganía, the idea grew. Now it was about making a completely Argentine car. There were several attempts, even even to achieve an F1. But everyone was frustrated for lack of economic support.

The most recent story

The one we all know. The partnership with “The Yoyo” Maldonado to assemble a Volkswagen F2. It was the Berta VW. Champion. Then the F2 Codasur. With Oreste and Yoyo's record of being the only champion team of all years that lasted a category. The South American F3 replaced Codasur. And another championship came. After “The Magician” retired, he was called in 2005 from the category to provide the engines.

TC 2000 with Fire and Traverso. Champion in 1986. The squad with the most consecutive titles between 1988 and 1993. Idem for Oreste as a motorist. 4 of those titles, by Traverso.

He was hired from Ford in 1997. He put together the Escorts. Of whose team “Orestito” was the DT. Champion in 1997, 2000 and 2001. Champion in 2003 and 2005 with the Focus.

Then came the TRV6 by Berta, originated in a Jaguar engine, and the Duratec by Berta. They pushed the Top Race, the Top Race Junior and the TC2000.

This is Oreste Santiago Antonio Berta. “The magician” of Alta Gracia. If I had been an economist, today we would be a world power...

Illustration “Illuminated by glory”, courtesy by Daniel Sonzini (@daniel62sonzini)

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