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Franco Comotti was an amateur who raced for a quarter of a century during which time his enthusiasm rarely troubled the sport’s top stars. He started young and made his Grand Prix debut in the 1928 Italian GP when just 22 years old. But his Scuderia Materassi Talbot was withdrawn when its owner crashed into the crowd killing himself and 22 spectators.
Comotti then concentrated on establishing himself in the oil trade but he reappeared in 1931 and his Salmson was 11th overall at Alessandria to win the cyclecar class. He joined Scuderia Ferrari for the following year’s Rome GP at the beginning of a four-year relationship with the team.
His 1934 schedule included victory in the lesser Comminges GP at St Gaudens (with an Alfa Romeo 8C "Monza") and third place in the Italian GP a fortnight later when sharing a ‘P3’ with Count Trossi.
He won his heat at St Gaudens a year later but retired from the final and second in the Coppa Edda Ciano at Lucca was Comotti’s best result of 1935. However, uncomfortable with the developing politics in his home country, Comotti moved to Paris and with it came a change of racing direction.
He joined Lago-Talbot in 1937 and finished second in the French GP (a sports car race but still his best result in a Grande Epreuve) and won the Tourist Trophy at Donington Park. He drove for Delahaye in 1938 before returning to Italy on the outbreak of World War II.
Comotti resumed his racing career in 1947 with a privately entered Lago-Talbot and he finished sixth and fourth in the next two French GPs. Although his best years were behind him, he twice started races during the early years of the new world championship. His Maserati-Milano retired from the 1950 Italian GP but Comotti finished 12th in the 1952 French GP in a Ferrari 166.
That was his last year in the sport before he concentrated on his career with BP.