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Ignazio Giunti

30th August 1941
Rome, Lazio
10th January 1971 (Aged 29)
Buenos Aires (RA), Buenos Aires 1000Kms
Most recent race (in database):

This wealthy Roman briefly emerged as a star. Winner of a World Sportscar Championship event and then fourth on his Grand Prix debut – it seemed that Ferrari had unearthed a gem. But that promise was cut short at the start of 1971.

Early racing career

Ignazio Giunti began racing in national events and hillclimbs with an Alfa Romeo Giulietta during 1961. Initial local success led to a contract with Abarth in 1965 before he moved to Alfa Romeo a year later as it geared up its sports car project. He won a European Touring Car Championship race in Budapest’s Nepliget Park that season and 1968 proved to be Giunti’s breakthrough campaign.

Despite injuring his arm at Daytona, Giunti shared Nanni Galli’s Alfa Romeo T33/2 to finish second in the Targa Florio (having led) and fourth at Le Mans. Crowned national 2-litre sports car champion in 1968, the following season was curtailed when the team withdrew from international sports cars in the wake of Lucien Bianchi’s death testing at Le Mans.

Formula 1 and sports cars with Ferrari

Giunti defected to Ferrari for 1970 and victory in the Sebring 12 Hours vindicated that decision. Placed at Monza, Targa Florio and Spa-Francorchamps, Giunti was then drafted into Ferrari’s Formula 1 team for the Belgian GP which he finished in an impressive fourth.

Perhaps overshadowed by fellow newcomer Clay Regazzoni as they initially alternated in the second Ferrari 312B but his maiden F1 season had been promising nonetheless. 1970 ended with victory in the non-championship Rand Nine Hours at Kyalami sharing a Ferrari 512S with Jacky Ickx.

His Ferrari 312PB started from the front row of the 1971 Buenos Aires 1000Kms and Giunti was leading when the second placed Jean-Pierre Beltoise ran out of fuel. The Frenchman attempted to push his Matra to the pits just as Giunti arrived on the scene and crashed into the Matra at racing speed.

Beltoise leapt clear but the Ferrari was launched into the air and came to rest in flames. Giunti died in hospital a couple of hours later.