Gianpiero Moretti 1940 - 2012

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Gianpiero Moretti 1940 - 2012

Berichtdoor Sportiva-Italia » Di Jan 17, 2012 21:13


Gianpiero Moretti 1940 - 2012

Gianpiero Moretti is op 72 jarige leeftijd, na een lang ziektebed, in zijn woning in Milaan overleden. Dit is aan de vooravond van zijn geliefde Daytona 24 uurs race, waarin hij altijd meedeed. In het begin van zijn carrière reed hij met wagens als Porsche 935 en 962, de IMSA March 83G-Porsche en de Alba AR3. Daarna kwam hij in 1970 in aanraking met de Daytona 24 Hours, waarin hij met zijn team in een Ferrari reed, maar slechts 32e werd. Na een aantal gefrustreerde pogingen, wendde hij zich in 1988 tot Ferrari en vroeg om een wagen die in Amerika kon winnen. Hij kreeg hulp van Kevin Doran, een 24 urus veteraan, die de Ferrari 333SP verder mee ontwikkelde. Uiteindelijk wist hij na 15 jaar een zege te behalen in de felbegeerde Rolex Daytona 24 Hours. In zijn carrière stond hij totaal 50 keer op het podium, maar hij had van het winnen van 'Daytona' zijn levensdoel gemaakt


The world of motorsports has been dealt a blow with the news of the death of Gianpiero Moretti, one of the sport's greatest 'gentlemen' drivers whose passion for racing took him to the front and included victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona behind the wheel of the Ferrari 333SP, a car he was indelibly linked to. The news in fact comes on the eve of this year 50th anniversary 24 Hours of Daytona. "He was definitely a great guy," said Kevin Doran, who partnered with Moretti for seven seasons. "He will be missed." Moretti passed away at the age of 72 after a long illness, at his home in Milan. As well as the famous 333SP, Moretti is fondly remembered for racing sports cars such as the Porsche 935 and 962, the IMSA March 83G-Porsche and the Alba AR3. He took eighteen wins and thirteen pole positions during a long career that took in almost three hundred races, and he stepped into the podium more than fifty times. The 'Rolex 24' though is where the Italian is best remembered. Moretti in fact came to Daytona Beach for his first 24 Hours of Daytona in 1970, when his underfunded Ferrari team finished 32nd. He returned in 1979, and he could almost taste the victory lane champagne. Carlos Facetti put his Jolly Club Porsche 935 on the pole and led the race, but the car blew an engine.
This began a series of frustrations for Moretti, who made winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona his personal quest. Moretti know that 1998 might be his final opportunity to challenge for victory at Daytona. With time running out on his racing career, he persuaded Ferrari to build him a car that could race - and win - in America. The result was the Ferrari 333SP, prepared for Moretti by a man with plenty of winning experience at Daytona, Kevin Doran. Moretti had finished seventh in the car in 1997, but knew the following year would be his best chance to finally win the coveted Rolex Daytona Cosmograph. "With all the money I have spent at Daytona, I could have bought 1,000 Rolexes easily," Moretti said on the eve of the race. "But I wanted to win this race."


Moretti recruited Didier Theys, Mauro Baldi and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk. Also fielding Ferraris were Andy Evans and Wayne Taylor, with Max Papis securing the pole for Evans' Scandia Ferrari. The race had its share of drama - setting the stage for a popular ending. After falling 18 laps down early in the race, Moretti's Momo Ferrari came back in the closing three hours to take the lead. With minutes laps remaining, Moretti had his car brought back to the pits. Moretti slid back into the cockpit so he could take the checkered flag. After years of frustration, Gianpiero Moretti finally won his Rolex on his 15th try in what remains as one of the most popular victories in the history of the Rolex 24. The victory began an unprecedented sweep of the American endurance classics at Sebring and Watkins Glen - in addition to finishing 14th overall and third in the LMP1 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He then retired and never raced professionally again. Moretti was a regular on the IMSA Camel GTP circuit. He played a role in the revival of the Six Hours of Watkins Glen, suggesting that the event be revived during his retirement tour in 1995. When Watkins Glen International officials agreed, Moretti was good to his word and returned for the 1996 event - winning with co-driver Max Papis. "Gianpiero helped launch Doran Enterprises to a professional-level sports car team," Doran said. "Getting together with him and MOMO brought our team back to pro racing after Al Holbert's death."
One of Moretti's close calls in the Rolex 24 came in 1996, when the Doran-prepared MOMO Ferrari he shared with Bob Wollek, Didier Theys and rookie Max Papis finished 65 seconds behind Wayne Taylor's winning Oldsmobile Riley & Scott. Fittingly, Moretti's colors will be carried in the 50th Rolex 24. Moretti founded the Italian equipment company MOMO (for Moretti-Monza) in the 1960s. The NGT Motorsport Porsche GT3 will be painted in the classic MOMO red and yellow in the upcoming Rolex 24 - ensuring that one of the most popular drivers in the history of the event will be there in spirit.
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