Early life and Ferrari
Mauro Forghieri was born in Modena, the only child of Reclus and Afra Forghieri. His father, a turner, did war work during World War II for the Ansaldo mechanical workshops of Naples. After the war, he took up work in the Ferrari workshop in Maranello.
Meanwhile, young Mauro Forghieri completed the Liceo Scientifico and obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bologna. Despite his initial interest in aviation design, he accepted an offer from Ferrari, where he had been introduced by his father. He became part of the racing team in 1962, with the position of Chief of the Technical Department for racing cars.
He was later promoted to Technical Director of the Racing Department in 1970, Mauro Forghieri designed the Ferrari 312 series (consisting of the 312 and 312B formula one cars and 312P and 312PB sportscars). Under his guidance Ferrari won the driver's F1 world championship title four times, with John Surtees (1964), Niki Lauda (1975 and 1977), and Jody Scheckter (1979). Ferrari also won the builder's F1 world championship title eight times.
Lamborghini and Bugatti
In that organisation, which had the ex-Ferrari Daniele Audetto as sports director, Forghieri designed a V12 aspirated engine, which competed in the 1989 F1 championship on a Larrousse car (driven by Philippe Alliot).
Following the encouraging performance of the engine, the project of designing a whole car was conceived, thanks to financing by the Mexican businessman Fernando Gonzalez Luna. The car, whose bodywork was designed by Mario Tolentino, was slated for a 1991 debut, but the day before the official presentation to the press, Gonzalez Luna disappeared with a conspicuous amount of money that had been paid by sponsors. Nevertheless, the car debuted thanks to financing by Carlo Patrucco, of the newly created Modena Team.
The latter was an unsuccessful enterprise, however, and Forghieri left Lamborghini soon afterwards. In 1992, he became the technical director of the re-emerging Bugatti, where he stayed until 1994. In the same year, he was also called as an expert in the trial relating to the death of driver Ayrton Senna on the Imola track.
Oral Engineering Group
In 1994, Mauro Forghieri co-founded with Franco Antoniazzi and Sergio Lugli the Oral Engineering Group, a mechanical design company he still works for.