DRIVERS: EMANUELE PIRRO

Name: Emanuele Pirro
Nationality: Italy
Date of birth: January 12, 1962 - Rome

As a child Pirro went to the Vallelunga race track on a regular basis with his father and in 1973, at the age of 11, had his first race in a kart. He was soon a frontrunner and won several Italian national titles before moving into Formula Fiat Abarth in 1980 with the University Motors Team. He won the title at his first attempt and in 1981 moved up to the European Formula 3 series with a Martini chassis. Before he began that campaign however he teamed up with Carlo Facetti and Martini Finotto to win the 2-litre class in the Daytona 24 Hours in a Martini Lancia Beta Monte Carlo.

In Formula 3 he did well and finished sixth in his first year and at the end of the season drove a factory Lancia in an endurance race at Kyalami. Hired by Euroracing he finished second in the European F3 series behind his team mate Oscar Larrauri. A third year in the series with RC Motorsport ended up with third in the title.

In 1984 he graduated to Formula 2 with the Onyx team and finished sixth, moving up to third in 1985, the first year of the new Formula 3000. That year he had his first F1 test with Brabham-BMW. In 1986 he was runner-up in Formula 3000 but unable to find an F1 drive he diversified, racing in Japanese Formula 3000 and sports cars and in the World Touring Car Championship with a Schnitzer BMW M3, which he shared with eventual champion Roberto Ravaglia. In 1988 he was appointed Mclarenís F1 test driver, while continuing to compete in Japan and for BMW. In 1989 he finally got his F1 chance with Benetton. That year he won the Nurburgring 24 Hours with BMW but in 1990 he concentrated more on F1, having landed a drive with Scuderia Italia. The team was not very competitive at the time and after two seasons trying to break through into a bigger team, Pirro dropped out of F1 and concentrated on touring car racing, initially with BMW but from 1994 with Audi.

After several years racing A4s in Germany and Italy he was picked to race the Audi R8 prototype in 1999 and finished third at Le Mans. In 2000, 2001 and 2002 he won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Frank Biela and Tom Kristensen and in 2001 became the ALMS champion. He won a second ALMS title in 2005.

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