Alfa Romeo's Racing Drivers
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Achille Varzi (August 8, 1904 – July 1, 1948). "The gentleman from Galliate".
Icecold, precise and fast:. Tazio Nuvolari's main rival. Varzi's first race car was a Type 35 Bugatti but he shortly changed to Alfa Romeo. In 1929 Varzi won the Italian title with an Alfa Romeo P2. He switched to Maserati in 1930 to return at Alfa Romeo in 1934. Varzi won 6 Grand Prix that year driving the Alfa Romeo P3, at Alessandria, Tripoli, Targa Florio, Barcelona, Coppa Ciano and Nice. From 1935 to 1937 he raced for the German Auto Union team. He didn't race until after the second world war. In 1946 he continued his carreer but died in a crash at the Bremgarten track in Switzerland during training. Varzi's death resulted in the mandatory wearing of crash helmets during racing.
Andrea de Adamich
Andrea Lodovico de Adamich (October 3, 1941) participated in 34 Formula One Grands Prix since 1968. Before racing Formula One cars, Andrea de Adamich was successful GT and sportscar racer. He won the 1966 European Touring Car Championship which started a long term relationship with Alfa Romeo. De Adamich raced in several different Alfa Romeo's, like the Alfa Tipo 33/3 during the 1971 Targa Florio in which he finished 2nd, behind Vaccarella. In 1974 de Adamich had to retire from racing, due to injuries sustained in a crash at the British F1 Grand Prix and became a motor sport reporter and TV commentator in Italy. De Adamich was also involved in N.Technology, the company that prepared Alfa Romeo touringcars for the ETCC and WTCC.
Arturo Francesco Merzario (March 11, 1943), started his Formula One career with Ferrari in 1972. Merzario was at that time also a driver in sports car racing, with victories at the Spa 1000 km race, the Targa Florio and the Rand 9 Hour race. After a unsuccessful year with Ferrari in 1973, he signed up with Williams Formula One team but the Championship seasons of 1974 and 1975 were unsuccessful. Merzario returned to sports car racing in 1975 with the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 while racing in F1 for Frank Williams. He won four races and the Targa Florio helping the team to win the sports car titles in 1975 and 1977. Merzario returned to Formula One in 1976 when he joined the totally unsuccessful March team. Merzario could not find a seat in a respectable team so he set up his own Merzario team in 1977. The team raced in the Formula One championship for three years, without any success. Merzario is one of the drivers, along with Harald Ertl, Brett Lunger and Guy Edwards who dragged Niki Lauda out of his burning car during the 1976 German GP at the Nordschleife on the Nürburgring.
Ignazio Giunti (August 30, 1941 - January 10, 1971). In 1967 Giunti was driving his Alfa GTA up the hills in various hillclimb races with great success. As a member of a wealthy Roman family, Ignazio Giunti had been racing Alfas since his teenage years. And with a hillclimb title, Alfa Romeo's racing division Autodelta signed him up as a driver for their Tipo 33 sportscar program. Sharing a T33 with Nanni Galli In 1968 he was 2nd in the Targa Florio and 4th in the Le Mans 24 Hours race. Ignazio Giunti became one of Italy's most promising young racing drivers at the beginning of the 1970's. He drove for both Alfa Romeo and Ferrari during his motor racing career, but did not survive a horrible crash in his Ferrari in Buenos Aires in 1971. Giunti ploughed his Ferrari 312PB into the back of the Matra 660 of Jean-Pierre Beltoise, who was pushing the car along the track after he ran out of fuel.
Nino Vaccarella (March 4, 1933) developed a passion for motorsports when he was a young boy. Raised in Sicily he grew up with the Targa Florio, the anual race Vincenzo Florio first organised in 1906. Vaccarella raced his first car in de Passo di Rigano hillclimb in 1956, driving a FIAT 1100 and finishing 5th in his class. In 1960 Maserati signed him up to race the Targa Florio in their 'Birdcage' together with Umbert Maglioli. They won the prestigeous race that year. In 1964 he started racing sportscars for Ferrari and in 1968 he moved to Alfa Romeo who just started their Tipo 33/2 sportscar team. In 1971 Vaccarella won the Targa Florio for Alfa Romeo, together with Toine Hezemans in the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/3. He won again with Merzario in 1973 in the Alfa Tipo 33 TT 12 after which Vaccarella retired from racing.
Giovanni Giuseppe Gilberto Galli, better known als 'Nanni' (January 2, 1940) started racing when he was 24. Alfa Romeo added him to the Autdelta team, running Tipo 33 racing cars. Galli won at Mugello in 1968 and was second in the Targa Florio (with Ignazio Giunti). In the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans, he finished 4th in the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2. He moved briefly into Formula One in 1970, with his first appearance in the 1970 Italian Grand Prix with an Alfa Romeo powered McLaren during which time he kept racing Alfa Tipo 33's. After a few unsuccessful years in Formula One he retired from racing in 1973.
Henri Pescarolo (September 25, 1942) got into motorsports when the French magazine Sport Auto put together a series of races for Lotus Sevens which Ford France had purchased and donated to regional racing clubs in 1964. His talent was noticed by Matra who hired him for their Formula 3 racing team. Pescarolo later raced many times with Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 cars for Autodelta and the Willi Kauhsen Racing Team. Biographies of Henri Pescarolo hardly ever mention his fine achievements with Alfa Romeo sportscar racing during the 1970 and 1975 seasons.
Rolf Johann Stommelen was born in Siegen, Germany on 11th July 1943. He raced 63 Formula One races, also for Brabham Alfa Romeo in 1976. During the 1960's and 1970's he raced with the Tipo 33 for Alfa's race department Autodelta in the endurance championship. On 24th April 1977 Rolf Stommelen died in a crash during an IMSA GT race at the Riverside International Raceway in a Porsche 935.
Alessandro (Sandro) Nannini was born in Sienna, Italy on 7th July 1959. He made his Formula One debut in 1986 with the Minardi team. In 1988 he switched to the Benetton team and won the Grand Prix of Japan in 1989. In 1990 he crashed with his helicopter, ripping off his right arm. The arm could miraculously be saved but his Formula One career was over. In 1993 Nannini joined the Alfa Corse team to participate in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft with the Alfa Romeo 155 V6 ti. Alfa made a special gearbox for Nannini to enable him to shift gears with his handicaped right arm. In 1998 Nannini retired from racing.
Carlo Facetti was born in Cormano, Italy on 26th June 1935. He failed to make a career in Formula One but was successful in touring car races. He also raced Le Mans in 1973, with the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 3 of the Scuderia Brescia Corse. He finished 15th. In touring car racing, Facetti is well known for driving the Alfa Romeo GTAm.
Christian Danner was born in Munich Germany on 4th April 1958. He started his racing career in the Renault 5 Cup. He moved to Formula 2 and then to Formula 3000, where he won the 1985 championship for the Zakspeed team. From 1993 to 1996 Danner raced the Alfa Romeo 155 V6 ti for the Schübel Engineering team in the DTM and ITC championship.
Edward McKay Cheever Jr. was born in Phoenix Arizona on 10th January 1958. From 1978 to 1989 he started in 132 Formula One Grand Prix races. Cheever started racing go-karts and won the Italian and European Championship at the age of 15. In 1984 he was contracted by the Alfa Romeo Formula One team after a successful year at the Renault team. He raced the 1984 an 1985 championship for Alfa Romeo's Euro Racing team, racing with the Alfa 184T and Alfa 185T. In 1997 he started his own IRL racing team, winning the Indy 500 as both owner and driver in 1998.
Fabrizio Giovanardi was born in Sassuolo Italy on 14th December 1966. He started his career in Formula C karting, winning the Italian and World Championship in 1986. He moved on to the Italian F3, racing the Alfa Romeo powered Reynard 873. In 1989 he moved to the Formula 3000 and in 1991 he started racing for Peugeot in the Italian Superturismo championship. In 1995 he signed up at Nordauto Engineering to race with the Alfa Romeo 155 D2 where he ended 3rd in the Italian championship. He stayed with Alfa Romeo, racing Alfa's 155 and 156 in various touring car championships, until he moved to BMW in 2003.
Gabriele Tarquini was born in Giulianova Italy on 2nd March 1962. He started his racing career with Osella in the 1987 San Marino Grand Prix. In 1988 he moved to Coloni and in 1989 to AGS but was not successful. He ended his Formula One career in 1995 driving for Tyrrell. In 1994 he started touring car racing for Alfa Romeo in the British Touring Car Championship with an Alfa 155 TS, bringing the title to Italy in his first year. Tarquini also raced in the Italian touring car championship in 1995. In 2003 Gabriele Tarquini won the European Touring Car Championship for Alfa Romeo, driving an Alfa 156. In 2006 he left Alfa Romeo to join the SEAT Team.
Giacomo 'Geki' Russo was born in Milan Italy on 23rd October 1937. Russo won the Italian Formula 3 championship in 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964. He raced for Brabham in the Formula One championship from 1964 to 1966. Russo was one of the four Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2 drivers in the 1967 Targa Florio. He was killed in a Formula 3 race in Caserta the same year, driving a Matra.
Giancarlo Fisichella was born in Rome Italy on 14th January 1973. He started his career in kart racing and moved to the Italian Formula 3 championship in 1992 where he raced for the RC Motorsport team. He won this championship in 1994. Alfa Romeo contracted Fisichella in 1995 to compete in the DTM / ITC championships with the Alfa Romeo 155 V6 ti. In 1996 Fisichella made his Formula One debut for the Minardi team.
Andrea de Cesaris
Andrea de Cesaris was born in Rome Italy on 31st May 1959. He started his career in karting, then moved on to the British Formula 3 series. In 1980 he replaced Vittorio Brambilla in the Alfa Romeo Formula One team, switching to the other Marlboro sponsored team McLaren in 1981. In 1982 he returned to Alfa Romeo where he raced the Alfa 182 and 183T in the 1982 and 1983 seasons. In 1984 he moved to Ligier.
Patrick André Eugène Joseph Depailler was born in Clermont-Ferrand France on 9th August 1944. After sportscar racing and Formula 2 Depailler joined the Tyrrell Formula One team in 1974. In 1979 he was contracted by Ligier and in 1980 he signed up with Alfa Romeo. Depailler was killed in a crash on the Hockenheim Ring in Germany during testing of the Alfa 179B that same year.
Vittorio Brambilla was born in Monza Italy on 11th November 1937. Nicknamed 'The Monza Gorilla', Brambilla raced go-karts and motorbikes before he entered the Formula 3 championship in 1968. He won the championship in 1972. Before he started racing for the Alfa Romeo Formula One team in 1979, Brambilla competed in the sportscar championship with the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 and rally's with the Alfetta GTV Autodelta.
He died in 2001.
Bruno Giacomelli was born in Poncarale Italy on 10th September 1952. He started racing Formula 3 in 1976 and moved on to Formula 2 where he won the 1978 championship. McLaren contracted him for the 1978 Formula 2 season and in 1979 Giacomelli signed up with Alfa Romeo's Formula One team. In 1983 Giacomelli went to Toleman and ended his Formula One career at the end of the season.
Mario Gabriele Andretti was born in Montona, Istria on 28th Februay 1940. Istria was a part of Italy before 2nd World War. His family emigrated to the United States where Mario became a citizen in 1964. Andretti started his career in stock car racing and and then moved IndyCar racing. In 1968 Lotus team owner Colin Chapman signed him up for the Formula One. Andretti raced only occasionally in Formula One, until in 1975 he raced the complete F1 season for the Parnelli team. In 1976 Andretti returned to the Lotus Formula One team. In 1977 Andretti finished 3rd in the F1 championship with Lotus and in 1978 Andretti became world champion. In 1981 Andretti joined the Alfa Romeo Formula One team, but returned to the IndyCars in 1982.
Mauro Baldi was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy on 31th January 1954. Baldi started his racing career in rallying in 1972 but moved to the Italian Renault 5 Cup in 1975. In 1981 Baldi won the European Formula 3 Championship and Alfa Romeo's Formula One team contracted him for the 1983 season. After just one season, Baldi left the Alfa team to join the Spirit F1 team. In 1984 he moved to the Martini-Lancia Sports car racing team. In 1994 Mauro Baldi won the 24 hours of Le Mans together with Yanick Dalmas and Hurley Haywood in a Dauer 962.
Gijs van Lennep
Gijs van Lennep was born in Aerdenhout, Holland on 16th March 1942. He raced Formula 3 for the Dutch DAF and started Sportscar racing in 1967 with Porsche. In 1971 he race the Targa Florio for Alfa Romeo in a Tipo 33/3 together with Andrea de Adamich. They finished 2nd. Van Lennepraced several Formula One races and won Le Mans in 1971 and 1976 with Porsche.
Giorgio Francia was born in Bologna. Italy on 8th November 1947. In 1974 he won the German F3 championship but he failed to make a successful move to F2. He moved to Italian touring car racing, where he raced the Alfa 75 Turbo in the 1980's. In 1993 Francia raced in the German touring car championship (DTM) with the Alfa 155 V6 ti for Schübel Engineering. After the 1994 DTM season Francia retired from racing.
Helmut Marko was born in Graz, Austria on 27th April 1947. He raced in 10 F1 GP's but didn't score any points. He won the 1971 edition of the 24 hours of Le Mans in a Porsche 917K, together with Gijs van Lennep. Marko was also successful for Alfa Romeo in the long distance racing with the Alfa Tipo 33. He raced the fastest lap in the 1972 edition of the Targa Florio, only losing the race to Ferrari by a few seconds. In 1972 Helmut Marko also raced the 24 hours of Le Mans with Vic Elford in a Alfa Tipo 33 TT 3. During the French F1 GP Marko was hit by a stone, thrown from Fittipaldi's car. The stone went through the visor of his helmet, blinding him on one eye and ending his racing career.
Joakim Bonnier was born in Djurgården, Sweden on 31st January 1930. Bonnier started his Formula One career in 1956 with Maserati. Bonnier also raced sports cars. He won the 1960 and 1963 Targa Florio in a Porsche 718. In 1967 Bonnier race the Targa in an Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2 Fleron, together with Giancarlo Baghetti, but the car did not finish due to a broken front suspension. In the 1972 24 hours of Le Mans race, Jo Bonnier crashed his Lola-Cosworth T280 into Florian Vetsch' Ferrari Daytona and died.
Leo Juhani Kinnunen was born in Tampere, Finland on 5th August 1943. He was the first Finnish Formula One driver in 1974. Before his F1 career, Kinnunen raced the Interseries and the Nordic Challenge Cup for Porsche. In 1971 Kinnunen was hired by Autodelta to race the Targa Florio with an Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/3, but he did not finish. During the 1970's Kinnunen primaraly raced for Porsche in the sportscar championship. In 1977 he retired.
Nicola Larini was born in Lido di Camaiore, Italy on 19th March 1964. He started his racing career in 1983, racing the Formula Italia. In 1988 he joined the Osella Formula One team and moved to Ligier in 1990. In 1992 Nicola Larini was hired by Ferrari for F1 testing and in the same year Larini won the Italian Touring Car championship with Alfa Romeo. In 1993 Larini entered the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) with Alfa Corse in the Alfa 155 V6 ti and won the championship. Larini stayed in the DTM until 1996.
Andreas Nikolaus Lauda was born in Vienna, Austria on 22nd February 1949. He bought a share in the March Formula 2 team in 1971 and started racing with March in both Formula 1 and 2. In 1974 Enzo Ferrari signed up Lauda for his F1 team and in 1975 Niki Lauda became World Champion in Formula One. In 1976 Lauda was on his way to win the title again when he had a terrible crash at the Nürburgring. Merzario, Lunger, Edwards and Ertl pulled Lauda out of the burning car. Lauda survived, but had severe scars sustained by the fire. Lauda returned in the cockpit of his Ferrari 312T only six weeks after the crash. His was still in the lead in the championship but James Hunt was closing in. In the last race of the season in Japan Lauda refused to race in heavy rain and lost the title by one point. Enzo Ferrari wasn't pleased with that and Lauda left the Ferrari team in 1978 to join Brabham Alfa Romeo. In 1979 Lauda retired from racing to start his own airline company, but in 1982 he was back and signed up with the McLaren team. In 1984 he won the F1 championship with McLaren and after a disappointing 1985 season Niki Lauda retired from racing.
Marsilio Pasotti ("PAM")
Riccardo Gabriele Patrese was born in Padua, Italy on 17th April 1954. He started his Formula One career with the Shadow Racing Team in 1977. After racing for Arrows, Patrese joined the Brabham team in 1982. In 1984 Patrese signed up with Alfa Romeo, racing the Alfa 184T and in 1985 the Alfa 185T. After Alfa pulled out of Formula One in 1986, Patrese returned to Brabham. His best years however were the years he raced for the Williams team from 1989 (3rd in drivers championship) to 1992. He ended his F1 career in 1993, driving for the Benetton team together with team mate Michael Schumacher.
Stefano Modena was born in Modena, Italy on 12th May 1963. He started his racing career in Formula 3 where he ranked 4th in 1986 Italian F3 championship. He was contracted by Brabham-BMW but moved to the EuroBrun team in 1988, to return to Brabham in 1989. In 1991 Modena went to the Tyrrell team and in 1992 he signed up with Jordan. Due to a lack of success Modena turned to touring car races. From 1994 to 1996 Stefano Modena raced the Alfa Romeo 155 V6 ti in the DTM and ITC championships.
Toin Hezemans was born in Eindhoven, Netherlands on 14th April 1943. He won the European Touring Car Championship in an Alfa Romeo 2000 GTAm in 1970 and 1971. In 1971 Hezemans also won the Targa Florio, together with Nino Vaccaralla in an Alfa Tipo 33/3. In 1978 Toine Hezemans won the 24 hours race at Daytona in a Porsche.
Jody David Scheckter was born in East London, South Africa on 29th January 1950 and was World Champion in F1 in 1979 in a Ferrari 312 T4, which made him the last Ferrari driver to win the championship until Michael Schumacher won with Ferrari again 21 years later . In 1975 he raced for Alfa Romeo in the 1000 km of the Nürburgring in an Alfa Tipo 33 TT 12 of the Willi Kauhsen Racing Team.
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