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Fulvio Ballabio

Full Name:
Fulvio Maria Ballabio
8th October 1954 (Age 66)
Milan, Lombardy
Most recent race (in database):

A resident of Monte Carlo and his family castle near Milan, this tardy gentleman driver would have graduated to Formula 1 but for the refusal of a Superlicence. His diverse business activities – from the family aluminium company to classic car restoration – funded his racing.

Early career in rallying and single-seaters

That started with rallying in 1974 before Ballabio raced in Formula Ford three years later. Continuing in Italian Formula 3, there was little to suggest that Ballabio should look to graduate beyond the national scene.

But he moved into Formula 2 in 1983, starting four races with Merzario before he transferred his welcome funding to AGS as Philippe Streiff’s team-mate – his sponsorship saving the small French concern from liquidation. Ballabio lasted to the finish to score surprise points at Misano (fifth) and Mugello (sixth).

Formula 1 plans

With backing from his Topolino company that represented Walt Disney in Italy, Ballabio planned to race in F1 in 1984 with a Spirit-Hart and Emerson Fittipaldi, no less, as his team-mate. He tested the car at Brands Hatch, Mugello and Monza but was not granted the necessary licence to race. Worse still, his father suffered a fatal heart attack on hearing the news.

Sports cars, F3000 and Champ Cars

Ballabio made sporadic appearances in IMSA and F3000 before a more successful season in the 1986 World Sportscar Championship with an Obermaïer Racing Porsche 956. Fifth in the Le Mans 24 Hours, he then finished fourth at Jerez and the Nürburgring.

He also raced offshore powerboats that year before turning his attention to the Champ Car World Series – starting six races between 1987 and 1989 with Lola-Cosworths entered by Dick Simon and then Dale Coyne.

Away from his occasional racing career, Ballabio formed Monte Carlo Automobile as a specialist manufacturer of road-going supercars. The carbon fibre MCA Centenaire was introduced in 1989 but only five of the intended 100 examples were built. The limited edition twin-turbo Rascasse was introduced in 2014 with a price tag of €500,000.