The History...

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From onset to 2003

Like everybody I started on go-karts, although I was already a grown up…(23 years old). After 6 years, with a Regional Champion title in my hands, I passed on to cars with the help of a legendary Roman team, Giovannozzi, which introduced me to the Renault during the Clio Trophy in 1996, one of the fiercest and most professional of the time. The car was a Clio Cup 1.8 16V. I gained experience and the first results already came my second year in the Megane Trophy with the brand new Megane Cup 2.0 16V provided with sequential gearbox. I was on the podium in the Rookies Trophy race at Vallelunga. From then on, I started climbing the summit of Italian car racing. I continued in fact with Renault and I gained podiums and highest-rankings. I took part in the European Championship in single race, having been chosen from Renault with 3 other drivers to represent Italy, but unfortunately a technical problem cut me out of the race straight away. I then passed on to Clio V6 3000, a real bomb with 300 HP, but hard to drive up to the limit. I participated in the European Championship for the next 3 years with good results, given that there were professional high-level drivers. For 3 consecutive years, still with Clio V6 3000, I took part in the Montecarlo race at the same time of the F1 Grand Prix. In order to have access to this race you must qualify within the top 27 lucky drivers who dispute a race among 60 drivers altogether. I gained the 6th place in the race in 2001 which isn’t a bad Europe-wide result… I improved my driving skills a lot thanks to this car, considering the perception you need to drive as best as you can, avoiding to hurt yourself. And it was driving around Europe that I got to know all the nicest European race circuits gaining a considerable international experience. After 3 wonderful years, I put the Clio V3000 aside and took a leap with Alfa Romeo in the 147 GTA Italian Cup trophy. Not a very lucky experience full of retirements and small accidents that did not allow me to express myself at my best.

from 2004 to 2011

So in 2004 I entered the Porsche world in the newborn Autocentri Balduina Team. As soon as I got in the car, a Porsche 996 GT3 Cup, in Monza to participate in the second race of the championship, during free practices I place the best timing and all the colleagues were amazed to see the new arrival race so fast. So the first year I won Nurburgring in Germany straight away, I came 2nd both in Monza and at the Paul Ricard in France and 3rd at Mugello. I came 2nd in the Championship. My feeling with Porsche was very strong although it is, as most people say, a car which is hard to drive to the limit. In 2005, the year after, I won 2 races (Monza and Paul Ricard), I came 2nd twice and 3rd once. I was number 1 in the championship until the last race, the home race in Vallelunga which could crown me champion of the Porsche GT3 Cup, but fate was not on my side and at a few laps to the end , the gearshift breaks and so do my dreams of glory that were about to come true. However Porsche Italia notices me and rewards me by making me take part in one of the stages of the most prestigious one brand trophy in the world, Porsche Supercup, full of worldwide professionals. The stage was Monza, at the same time of the F1 Grand Prix. I participated as an official Porsche AG pilot (the official team!!) with a different car than the one I normally drove (997 GT3 Cup) and never trying it… Unfortunately during qualifications the generator breaks down and I only managed to do 2 laps with a steering wheel which is as hard as a tractor’s… I came 17th of 26 cars. Slightly disappointed, the day after during the race I did a great come-back and I arrived 11th, just one step from the top ten. A great pleasure after a disappointing championship… In 2006 I couldn’t repeat myself as I wished. I won a race in Monza and came 3rd five times. As you can imagine I came 3rd at the end of the championship. Still a bit disappointed, but aware of my skills. In fact in 2007 in the new Carrera Cup championship with the new Porsche 997 GT3 and with international drivers, I reach the podium 9 times out of 16! 1 victory, 5 times second and 3 times third. I was also top of the championship, although for a short time and at the end I came third. During the next few years, from 2008 to 2011, I kept racing in the Carrera Cup Italia, still with the Autocentri Balduina Team, but unluckily I never did better than 2007 when I came third. You must consider that throughout these years the championship was at its best and it was basically very difficult to repeat oneself having almost 30 cars lined up at the starting grid each race, some of which driven even by ex F1 and GT drivers, but I can’t complain when I think that in 8 years I achieved 8 victories, 12 second and 10 third places. Not bad! But after these 8 wonderful years in Porsche, I thought it was time to change, also because the legendary Autocentri Balduina Team, due to the strong economic crisis in those years called it quits. A really sad moment, as it started with me…

from 2012 to the present

The most logical thing to do to stay in the inner circle of Italian car racing, was to attain in the Italian Grand Tourism Championship where powerful GT3 sedans race but also where you must share the cabin with another driver… At first I wasn’t too keen on this, I was used to racing on my own, to taking my own responsibilities and honours, but as everybody said this was the future of GT races so I plunged into this completely new world. It was rather hard to move from a cocoon-like environment as Autocentri Balduina, where I was treated like a King, and find myself in a new place where I knew hardly no-one, but luckily I soon felt at ease and I found a young stable with experts, Vita4One Italy, which made a Ferrari 458 GT3 available to my team mate and me and in 2012 it gave me great satisfaction. Unfortunately we had one too many small accidents that didn’t allow us to fight for the upper positions, but it helped to gain experience on cars I didn’t know, with electronic devices, ABS, steering wheel with gearshift and so on, in a championship where races last much longer and where strategies, with driver change, count a lot… I was used to sprint races which lasted 30 minutes, using one car only with no electronic control whatsoever with very few regulations allowed. All in all I got used to the new cars because they look like monsters, but they are easy to drive… Coming to present days 2013 has been a fulfilling year. After 2012 in Ferrari, the Vita4One Team’s projects where not the same as mine, so we mutually agreed to split up and this allowed me to become part of the BMW world. With a bit of luck but also skills the legendary Roberto Ravaglia asked me to become a part of his team, ROAL Motorsport which is the referential BMW Italian team. It was the number 1 team in Italy in 2012 with the Z4 GT3 car. I had to pass a couple of tests to be taken in consideration, but I was the fastest and this allowed me to enter this wonderful super professional team. At first I was supposed to race in the Italian Championship only, but thanks to my ability to adapt to the car, I was given the chance to compete in the important European-wide Blancplain Endurance Series. Well I must say the results were really good! In the Italian GT my team-mate Stefano Colombo (Italian 2012 champion) and I, almost won the title becoming the Vice Italian 2013 Champions, with 2 victories and 3 second places, whereas in the Blancplain my team-mate Michela Cerruti and I came 9th in the final European ranking in our category, PRO-AM, coming 2nd in the last race in Germany at Nurburgring. But the greatest news came a few days ago straight from BMW Motorsport: I have been included in the list of the 25 world best BMW drivers of the year 2013! This means I will receive an award in Monaco before Christmas. These are real pleasure at my tender age of 46…!! Now in 2014 I just have to win a title, with BMW and the ROAL team of course… Follow me and let’s see what happen!!

Some memories