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Gianfranco Brancatelli

Born:
18th January 1950 (Age 70)
Turin, Piedmont
Nationality:
Italian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Formula 1 history does not look kindly on Gianfranco Brancatelli. He may be a mere blip on Grand Prix racing’s radar but he did drive two of the worst F1 cars of all time. However, he was a fine and successful sports car and touring car driver.

Early racing career

Brancatelli started racing in Italian Formula Abarth in 1973 and won the title at the second attempt. Formula 3 followed in 1975 and he was within a point of winning the national championship in his rookie season. He transferred to the 1976 European F3 Championship with an Everest-backed works March 763-Toyota – winning twice as he finished third overall.

He also made his Formula 2 debut at Mugello that year with Minardi and drove the team’s Ralt RT1-Ferrari throughout 1977. As so often, Ferrari engines in a customer chassis sounded fast but the reality was very different. Brancatelli was fourth at Rouen but that was his only top-six finish. A second season yielded even less despite abandoning Minardi to drive Bob Salisbury’s March 782-BMW mid-season.

Formula 1 with Kauhsen and Merzario

Sports car driver Willi Kauhsen launched an ill-conceived F1 team in 1979 with Brancatelli as its driver. Their debut (appropriately on April 1) was in a British F1 race at Zolder where Brancatelli qualified the shoddy Kauhsen-Ford in eighth position and retired after two laps. Undeterred, they entered the Spanish and Belgian GPs but were never close to qualifying. Nothing if not resilient, the Italian then tried to qualify the almost as slow Merzario A2-Ford at Monaco but failed in pre-qualifying. That was the end of Brancatelli’s short and undistinguished F1 career.

A star in the European Touring Car Championship

Instead, he enjoyed success in the European Touring Car Championship, most notably with Rudi Eggenberger’s team. His BMW 635 CSi won a couple of races in 1984 before the team switched to a Volvo 240 turbo for the following season. Brancatelli was partnered by Thomas Lindström that year and they won six times to clinch the 1985 ETCC title.

He moved to the rival Tom Walkinshaw Racing squad in 1986 for both the ETCC and World Sportscar Championship – inheriting victory at Anderstorp in the former when the winning Volvo was disqualified. Brancatelli then finished second in the Daytona 24 Hours with Brun Motorsport’s Porsche 962 and scored his final two ETCC victories with Johnny Cecotto and a CiBiEmme BMW M3 during 1987.

Italian Touring Car Champion in 1988 with a Jolly Club Alfa Romeo 75 turbo and winner of the 1989 Spa 24 Hours (driving TWR’s Ford Sierra RS500), his subsequent success suggests a talent masked by abject F1 machinery.

Second in the 1989 Le Mans 24 Hours with Sauber-Mercedes, he was leading for Nissan a year later when he collided with Aguri Suzuki’s Toyota in the early evening. That 1990 campaign included fourth place finishes at Donington Park and México City. Brancatelli’s career wound down in Malaysian touring cars and Italian superbikes before he finally retired in 1999.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1990 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Nissan Motorsports Europe
Alba
8 (1) 0 0 0 17th 6
1989 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
Eggenberger Motorsport
20 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 162
1988 Dunlop British Touring Car Championship 23rd 10
1988 Italian SuperTurismo Championship 1st -
1987 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Brun Motorsport
3 0 0 0 25th 20
1987 European Touring Car Championship
CiBiEmme
2 0 2 2 5th 150
1987 World Touring Car Championship
CiBiEmme
10 0 1 1
10% win rate
8th 158
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Silk Cut Jaguar
7 0 0 0 42nd 10
1986 European Touring Car Championship
Bastos Texaco Racing Team
1 0 1 1 12th 123
1985 World Endurance Championship 3 0 0 0 0
1985 European Touring Car Championship
Eggenberger Motorsport
6 4 6 6 1st 240 (260)
1984 European Touring Car Championship
Eggenberger Motorsport
2 0 2 2 4th 151
1980 World Championship of Makes
Lancia Corse
1 0 0 0 0
1980 Aurora AFX British F1 Championship
Colin Bennett Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1979 Aurora AFX British F1 Championship
Dicksons of Perth
Willi Kauhsen Racing Team
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1979 World Championship of Makes 0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1979 F1 World Championship
Willi Kauhsen Racing Team
Team Merzario
0 (3) 0 0 0 0
1979 European F2 Championship
Minardi Team
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1978 European F2 Championship
Bob Salisbury Racing
Minardi Team
3 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1977 European F2 Championship
Minardi Team
7 (3) 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 3
1977 European F3 Championship
Elio de Angelis
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1976 European F2 Championship
Minardi Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1976 European F3 Championship
Scuderia Everest
Speedprint
10 2 4 2
20% win rate
3rd 36
1976 Italian F3 Championship 3rd 33
1975 European F3 Cup
Scuderia Nettuno
Scuderia Ala d'Oro
3 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
10th 6
1975 Italian F3 Championship 2nd 32