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Paolo Barilla

Born:
20th April 1961 (Age 59)
Milan, Lombardy
Nationality:
Italian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

A charming and far from outclassed gentleman driver, the heir to the Barilla pasta fortune was a Grand Prix driver for a season and one-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours. The family company was founded in Parma in 1877 and the wealth it created meant that Paolo Barilla wanted for little when he went racing.

Early racing career

His progress through Italy’s junior categories was rapid, for barely a year elapsed from his 1980 debut in Formula Italia to racing in Formula 2. He spent a single season in Formula 3 during which he won twice to come third in the standings as Ravarotto Racing team-mate Eddy Bianchi claimed the title. The 1981 season also included F2 races at Enna-Pergusa and Donington Park in a Minardi FLY281-BMW.

Remaining with that team for 1982, seventh in the opening race at Silverstone was his best result all season. A member of the Martini Lancia sports car team in 1983, he scored a number of placings during 1984 that concluded with second position in the Kyalami 1000Kms as Bob Wollek’s co-driver.

Le Mans success and Formula 3000

He joined Joest Racing for 1985 and enjoyed his greatest day (and night) by sharing the winning New Man Porsche 956B at Le Mans with Klaus Ludwig and "John Winter". Further endurance success followed in 1986 with victories at Miami’s IMSA race (with a Bayside Porsche 962) and the world championship Fuji 1000Kms with Joest’s Porsche.

He tested for Benetton in 1986 and 1987 as he started his Formula 3000 career in Europe. Three seasons in that championship yielded just one points finish when his Spirit-TOM’s Reynard 88D-Cosworth avoided the accidents to finish fourth at Brands Hatch in 1988.

Also racing in Japan that year, he was a spectator when Kris Nissen crashed during practice for a national sports car race at Fuji. The Porsche burst into flames with its driver trapped inside and Barilla, who was dressed in civilian clothes, helped rescue his colleague from the flames.

Formula 1 with Minardi

The Italian had not given up on Formula 1 ambitions and he joined Minardi as test driver for 1989. He made his world championship debut in the 1989 Japanese GP when substituting for the injured Pierluigi Martini and began 1990 as Martini’s full-time team-mate. However, he was replaced by Gianni Morbidelli before the end of the year after three successive DNQs.

It was the end of his regular racing career although Barilla continued to compete on an occasional basis including the Dakar rally-raid. He is now Vice President of the family business.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1991 World Sportscar Championship
Trust Engineering
1 0 0 0 46th 3
1990 F1 World Championship
SCM Minardi Team
8 (6) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1989 F1 World Championship
Lois Minardi Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1989 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Toyota Team TOM's
1 0 0 0 37th 6
1989 All-Japan F3000 Championship 10th 6
1988 FIA International F3000 Championship
Q8 Team Ford (Jordan)
Cobra International
Spirit-TOM's Motorsport
8 (2) 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 3
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Toyota Team TOM's
Joest Racing
4 0 1 0 34th 24
1987 FIA International F3000 Championship
Luciano Pavesi Racing
10 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1987 World Touring Car Championship
Alfa Corse
6 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 67
1986 IMSA Camel GT Championship
Bayside Motorsports
1 0 1 1 0
1986 FIA International F3000 Championship
Sanremo Racing
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1986 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Joest Racing
6 0 1 1 8th 44
1985 World Endurance Championship
Joest Racing
6 (1) 0 3 1 7th 52
1984 World Endurance Championship
Martini Racing (Lancia)
7 1 3 0 10th 49
1983 European F2 Championship
Minardi Team
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1983 World Endurance Championship
Martini Racing (Lancia)
3 0 0 0 46th 6
1982 European F2 Championship
Minardi Team
12 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1981 European F2 Championship
Minardi Team
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1981 European F3 Championship
Ravarotto Racing
Scuderia San Michele
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1981 Italian F3 Championship 3rd 44