14 March 2019

Interview With A Racing Driver - Emanuele Pirro

A Sit Down With Emanuele Pirro


In our first interview of this series, BookAclassic had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking to Emanuele Pirro. One of motorsports most versatile racers with a hugely successful career spanning 28 years.

With so many facets to the sport, motor racing will often be decided by small statistics. However, when looking at Emanuele Pirro’s career there is one that big statistic that sticks out more than others. Standing on the Le Mans podium no less than nine times consecutively (winning 5) there are many that believe that this is a feat that will never be broken.

Quite an achievement considering that for such a long period Emanuele was strictly a single-seater racer. Coming through the ranks as two times Italian Champion and runner up in both the European and World Karting Championships he went on to compete in F3 F3000 and Formula Nippon. Following on in F1, he competed in 3 seasons between 1989 and 1991 for Benetton-Ford and BMS Dallara respectively.

These days Emanuele is a passionate “historic racer” in festivals such as the Goodwood Revival.


The Interview

BookAclassic: Favourite Classic Car & Why?


Emanuele Pirro: Choosing is not easy, but I would say the "Jaguar E-type Lightweight 4WPD".  The car with which I won the most historic titles. The car helped me achieve first position twice and second once at the Goodwood Tourist Trophy Race.


BAC: What is the best road you have ever driven?

EP: Surely the "Passo della Futa", which I travelled during my participation in the “1000 Miglia”.  A road with so many wonderful curves, in the company of many incredible classic cars that were greeted by a crowd of enthusiastic fans.


BAC:  What was the highlight of your career?

EP: My entire life as a racing driver, from the first to the last race: a dream that I thought impossible and that I instead realized.


BAC:  Do you miss the thrill of competitive racing or are you pleased it is in the past?

EP: Of course, I especially miss the adrenaline that I felt when I was trying to reduce the last tenth of a second. As mentioned I participate in historic races. However, out of respect, I do not drive them in the same way as when I raced at the Le Mans 24. Racing a valuable historic car is different, you treat it with respect. The satisfaction should come not from winning, but from driving the car as it should be driven, getting your lines absolutely right, balancing a slide, making perfect downshifts.


BAC: If you were not a racing driver what would you be?

EP: Mechanical engineer. It was my plan B if I had not become a racing driver. I would say however that a certain sense, I realized it. This is because my two sons are both mechanical engineers and they work in the automotive sector


BAC: If you could have dinner with 3 Icons of motoring who would they be?

EP: Tazio Nuvolari is my idol, and I admire his temerity. Behind my helmet, I always had an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with this phrase: Fosti con me nel pericolo e nella vittoriaIt means "You will be with me in danger and in victory". The same image and the same sentence that Nuvolari had on his suit.

Juan Manuel Fangio, whom I met personally, for his combination of intelligence and class.

Colin Chapman founder of Lotus Cars, for me the most symbolic of all the motorsport geniuses.

Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Jaguar E-Type Lightweight


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