Martino Finotto

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Martino Finotto
Nationality Italy Italian
Born (1933-11-11)11 November 1933
Camporosso, Italy
Died 13 August 2014(2014-08-13) (aged 80)

Martino Finotto (born 11 November 1933 in Camporosso, Liguria, died 13 August 2014) was a former racing driver from Italy, mainly known for his success in touring car and sports car racing.

In 1979, he was the European Touring Car Champion. He also finished 3rd in 1975, 5th in 1977 and 4th in 1978, abroad a self-run BMW 3.0 CSL, entered under the Jolly Club banner. As team owner, he won the inaugural World Group C Junior Championship in 1983, as well as the 1984 World C2 title, driving with long-time business partner and racing driver Carlo Facetti. Later, he would finish second in the 1990 IMSA Camel Lights championship in the United States.

Racing career[edit]

The early years[edit]

Martino Finotto, who made his fortune in the pharmaceutical industry, only started racing internationally in 1971, in the Campionato Italiano di Turismo, taking two successive class titles in 1972 and 1973. During this period, he also started competing in the European Touring Car Championship.

During the 1974 ETCC season, Finotto raced for Jolly Club in both their BMW 3.0 CSL and Ford Escort RS 1600. Something even in the same race! It with the ex-work BMW, that Finotto first visited the podium, with a second place in the Austria-Trophäe, at the Salzburgring alongside Manfred Mohr. This pair also finished second in the next race, the 500 km Vallelunga. He would not finish in the points again in that season, but still took seventh overall. Having switched to the German Castrol Team Zakspeed outfit for 1975 to race their Escort RS 1600, he immediately returned to the podium, finishing second in the 4 Ore di Monza, with his new partner, Hans Heyer, and again in the Grand Prix Brno. Although he was placed seventh overall, he scored points for being third in class in the Zandvoort Trophy. His last podium finish occurred in the 4 Horas de Jarama, when paired with Umberto Grano and Walter Dona in the Jolly Club entered Escort. He would end the season in third place in the overall standings. The 1976 season was spoiled by numerous DNFs.[1][2][3][4]

Scuderia Finotto & Formula One[edit]

Finotto briefly flirted with the idea of Formula One. He brought a pair of Brabham BT42s, but after a solitary test at Monza, he decided against racing them and instead they were leased to Jürg Dubler under the Scuderia Finotto banner for a number of driver throughout the 1974 season.[5]

Return to the ETCC[edit]

For the following season, Finotto successfully returned to the ETCC with a new partner, Carlo Facetti, and a new car, BMW 3.0 CSL, while participating in the selection of World Championship Group 5 races, in a Porsche 935. The new partnership started with a podium finish in the 1977 24 Hours of Daytona. Despite having to drive their Jolly Club entered Porsche 935 very carefully and with low boost from the start, they did finish second, as well winning their class.[6]

The returning to the ETCC was a winning one. In Finotto’s ex-Luigi BMW form the previous season, and joined by Grano for the season opener at Monza, the all-Italian were the only contender for victory once the work-supported Jaguars and Alpina BMWs had retired. This trio followed this with second place at Mugello, albeit three laps behind another Luigi BMW. This result promoted Finotto into second place in the driver's championship. The Enna round was Grano dropped, but Facetti and Finotto lead the 500 km race from start to finish, leading home the clear sweep of the podium by the BMW CSLs of Luigi Racing.[7][8][9]

A trip to Czechoslovakia, saw Facetti/Finotto triumph once again, beating the more fancied teams for the third time in five rounds. This after their BMW had survived an engine rebuild following qualifying, helping Facetti move clear in the championship, with Finotto being his nearest rival! After a number non-finishes, the pairing took third place at Jarama in Spain, and Facetti lost the lead in the title race to Dieter Quester. The final round of 1977, was held at Estoril, dominated by the changeable weather. As early leader, Grano (now racing for Alpina BMW) faltered, Facetti took his CSL past in the final few minutes of the four-hour race, and scored another win for himself and his partner, Finotto. Grano’s second place with his partner, Quester secured the Austrian the championship by just six points ahead of Facetti, with Finotto taking fifth place overall.[10][11][12]

For 1978, Finotto had brought the Alpina BMW CSL, and continued to share with Facetti. The first round of the 1978 European Touring Car Championship saw the car arrive at Brands Hatch, although two of the four BMW entered had used the supply of engines in qualifying and therefore did not start. The other remaining BMW was quicker in the hand of Grano and Tom Walkinshaw, but due to poor pit by the BMW Italia crew, Facetti/Finotto were able leading until three laps from the end, when Walkinshaw took over the lead. Fresh from their second place in England, Facetti/Finotto were only challenged by their tyres in the four hours event at Monza, eventually winning by seven laps.[13][14]

In the Mugello race, Facetti and John Fitzpatrick diced the lead in the early stages of the race, only for the Englishman to dropped away when his gearlever came loose. Facetti continued in the lead until Fitzpatrick retook it during a tyre stop. Soon afterwards, the car began to overheat with Finotto at the controls and would eventually record a DNF. Facetti/Finotto soon returned to their winning ways when they took victory in the Austria-Trophäe.[15][16]

After coming fifth at Jarama, Finotto suffered more bad luck in Estoril with a slipping clutch. As a result, saw Facetti/Finotto lose the championship lead. They retire with fuel feed problems on the Österreichring. But, returned to winning way when the series visited Czechoslovakia, when they trashed the opposition, finishing over a 11 km lap ahead of series leader, Grano. When the pair suffered an engine failure on the Nürburgring, they left the series only to return again in 1979.[17][18]

After taking pole position for the 1979 6 Ore di Mugello in the 935, Facetti lead the race until a collision and he wound up in third at the end. After this WCM outing, Finotto returned to ETCC at Vallelunga. After 300 of the 500 km, Facetti/Finotto were amongst the leading BMWs, when Finotto pitted with boiling radiator; only moments later Eddy Joosen pitted with exactly the same problem. Repairs were made and both BMWs were back at full pace. At the end of 500 km, Facetti/Finotto were only 9 seconds behind the winners Bruno Giacomelli/Grano/Joosen. The next ETCC race at Mugello, once again was a battle between the BMWs. Although the result was the same as before the margin of victory was down in just 2.6 seconds.[19][20][21]

Facetti/Finotto had a dramatic time at Brands Hatch, when they lost the lead of the 500 km race. They were comfortably head of the field for 100 of the 120 laps, when the gear level broke in their old BMW CSL. After quick repairs, Facetti set off desperately to regain ground loss to the rival Luigi BMW. Just a few laps, he had a patch of oil and shot into the catch fencing surrounding the track. Another retirement at the next race, Jarama, this time due fuel feed problems. Their third DNF in a row was down the issues with the cooling system at Österreichring.[22][23][24]

Main rival for the 1979 title was Grano (Luigi BMW), and while he and Facetti/Finotto both suffered from blown head gaskets at Brno, the green Jolly Club BMW could salvage the car to second place the end of the race. The trip to the Nürburgring, saw the pair win a race for the first time that season, after they taken pole position. Next on the ETCC agenda was Zandvoort, which saw the Jolly Club pairing head another BMW 1-2 finish. The BMW dominated the race at Salzburgring, taking all the steps of the podium, with Facetti/Finotto on the number one step, completing a hat-trick of victories.[25][26][27][28]

When the ETCC visited Enna, once again it was a BMW festival, with a podium clean sweep, and after a spin by Finotto, the order was decided with the Jolly Club car in second. They went one better at Silverstone, by winning the RAC Tourist Trophy, with it the European Touring Car title. Their winning ways continued at Zolder, the pairs fifth victory in the last six races.[29][30][31]

World of Sportscars[edit]

By 1980, Facetti was in change at Achille Motors in Milan. This was a business venture with long-time racing partner Finotto. And that year, Lancia sold Finotto one of their brand new Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo the factory had been running in the World Championship Group 5, together Facetti and Finotto were able to add points the marque’s total. For the 1981, they came up with idea of trying the challenge Porsche with a Ferrari.[32]

With Maranello, only interested in Formula One, Facetti and Finotto decided to take on all-conquering Porsche 935s, even though their facilities at Archille Motors was hardly equal to Porsches. They chose the 3.0 liter Ferrari 308 GTB as their base model. As Group 5 was a Silhouette formula, Facetti know he could change a lot of things provided the car looked like the standard road version. This car they called Carma FF {CARlo Facetti and Martino Finotto and the FF for Facetti and Finotto}.[32]

The standard 308 GTB was not in the same league as a 935, so Facetti designed his own cylinder heads and added two tubrochargers, and ended up with 700 bhp. He also threw away the front and rear subframes and went to Giorgio Stirano, who ran Alba Engineering to build lighter subframes that were merged with the Ferrari center tub. When the car arrive at 24 Hours of Daytona, the car looked like a real Italian special. In conversation, Facetti believed he would be able to turn up the boost in qualifying and get 840 bhp. This he did, always the brave and gritty driver, putting the Ferrari sixth on the grid.[32]

However, Finotto also decided to ship the well-used Lancia Beta Turbo, as they intended to race both cars over the 24 hours, and gave a young Emanuele Pirro his first-ever major sports outing. It was not necessary, for Facetti drove the Carma flat out, setting the fastest lap in the race, before pitting after only five laps to retire with a cracked manifold and failed electrics. When the car next appeared at Mugello, they were in sixth place when the electric failed again. While at Monza, Facetti put the Carma FF on pole, only for the fuel pump pack up on the warm-up lap and they were out. A gearbox failure accounted for their DNF at Silverstone.[32]

Only Facetti could wring a performance out of the car, that Finotto could not, yet both driver would have fear a trip to the Nürburgring. To no surprise, when Facetti completely lost it and crashed on the Nordschleife. The car appeared twice more. It was on pole at Enna, only to retire after three laps. Finally to the Kyalami Nine Hour race, it once again expired after being second fastest in practice.[32]

For 1982, Facetti and Finotto decided against returning with the Carma and its twin-turbo 308 experiment, instead opting for more conventional Osella-BMW PA9, but equally unsuccessful as they failed to finish a race in the car that season.[32][33]

1983 saw the introduction of a new category into World Sportscars, Group C Junior. As Facetti and Finotto knew they could not complete on level terms with the might of Porsche, Finotto commissioned Stirano to build a car to these new regulations, while Facetti designed and built a 1.8 litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Since power units had to be ascribed to a recognised manufacturer, the team became known as Giannini-Alba, then Carma FF from 1985. The first car, Alba AR2 was a regular class winner with Facetti and Finotto at the helm in 1983, helping Alba to win the Group C Junior Cup. By 1984, this pairing were winless but still assisted Alba to win the Group C2 Prototype FIA Cup.[34]

The Alba AR6 continued to use Facetti’s engine for the 1985 season, the team lost reliability with it, trying to keep up with pace-setter Gordon Spice, Finotto turned his attention to the IMSA Camel Lights category in America for 1986. Finotto and Facetti, who prepared the overhead camshaft Ferrari engines, joined forces with Gaston Andrey Racing and enrolled fellow Italian, Ruggero Melgrati, who proved to be pace-setter in the Lights division.[34]

The IMSA Camel Lights years[edit]

Finotto had a competitive season in 1986, taking a class fifth place in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and class win in The Löwenbräu Classic, at Road America. He had a short season in 1987, earning 22 points for a class fourth place at Watkings Glen and third on the Ohio Street Circuit, Columbus, but started the 1988 season very well, in the Alba AR6 adapted for the Ferrari engine. Finotto partnered by Guido Daccò and Pieter Silva were seventh in class at the Daytona 24, then Finotto/Melgrati won on the Miami Grand Prix Street Circuit and again at Road Atlanta. He would finish the season sixth overall.[34][35]

For 1989, he switched to Bieri Racing, to race their Ferrari powered Spice and continued with them in 1990. It was here, he would score three class wins with Melgrati at Lime Rock, Watkins Glen and Road America, to help he secure second place in the IMSA Camel Lights series. After a short season in 1991 and one visit the class podium, he would return to cockpit of Ferrari 308 GTB for one last outing, at the 1995 12 Hours of Sebring.[35]


Finotto, who at the age of 80, died after a long battle with cancer, made his mark in Motor Sport, as a driver, a team owner and engine constructor.[5]

Almo Coppelli, who drove for Finotto during the Carma Alba in Group C2, and then subsequently partnered him in IMSA Camel Lights, described as a man who was at once passionate for motorsport and a hard taskmaster. "Finotto as driven by his passion, but he always have me a hard time. He and Facetti were old-school guys and really tough with me, but I learned a lot – racing with them was part of my schooling. Facetti did everything in the team: he was the driver, the manager and the engineer. Finotto paid the bills, but he was decent driver who was never far off the pace" [5]

Racing record[edit]

Career highlights[edit]

Season Series Position Team Car
1972 Campionato Italiano di Turismo [36] 8th Jolly Club Ford Escort RS 1600
Coppa CASI di classe 2000cc [36] 1st Jolly Club Ford Escort RS 1600
1973 Campionato Italiano di Turismo [37] 7th Jolly Club Ford Escort RS 1600
Coppa CASI di classe 2000cc [37] 1st Jolly Club Ford Escort RS 1600
1974 European Touring Car Championship [38][39] 7th Jolly Club BMW 3.0 CSL
1975 European Touring Car Championship [3][40] 3rd Castrol Team Zakspeed
Jolly Club
Ford Escort RS 1600
1976 European Touring Car Championship [41][42] 17th Luigi Racing BMW 3.0 CSL
1977 Coppa Intereuropa [43] 1st Porsche 935
1977 European Touring Car Championship [44][45] 5th Luigi Racing BMW 3.0 CSL
1978 European Touring Car Championship [46][47] 4th Jolly Club BMW 3.0 CSL
1979 European Touring Car Championship [48][49] 1st Jolly Club BMW 3.0 CSL
1980 World Challenge for Endurance Drivers [50] 33rd Jolly Club Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo
1981 World Endurance Championship of Drivers [51] 87th Jolly Club
Carma FF
Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo
Ferrari 308 GTB
1983 European Endurance Championship [52] 44th Jolly Club Alba-Giannini AR2
World Endurance Championship of Drivers [53] 63rd Jolly Club Osella-Giannini PA9
Alba-Giannini AR2
1984 World Endurance Championship of Drivers [54] 53rd Jolly Club Alba-Giannini AR2
1985 FIA World Endurance Championship [55] 42nd Carma FF Alba-Carma AR2
Alba-Carma AR6
1986 IMSA Camel GTP Lights Championship [56][57] 39th Carma FF
Gaston Andrey Racing
Alba-Ferrari AR6
1987 IMSA Camel GTP Lights Championship [58][59] 24th Gaston Andrey Racing Alba-Ferrari AR6
1988 IMSA Camel GTP Lights Championship [60][61] 6th Gaston Andrey Racing Alba-Ferrari AR6
Tiga-Ferrari GT286
1989 IMSA Camel GTP Lights Championship [62][63] 11th Bieri Racing Tiga-Ferrari GT286
Spice-Ferrari SE89P
1990 IMSA Camel GTP Lights Championship [64][65] 2nd Bieri Racing Spice-Ferrari SE88P
Spice-Ferrari SE90P
Alba-Ferrari AR6
1991 IMSA Camel GTP Lights Championship [66][67] 12th Bieri Racing Spice-Ferrari SE89P
Spice-Ferrari SE90P

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1974 Italy BMW Jolly Club West Germany Manfred Mohr
Italy Carlo Facetti
1980 Italy Jolly ClubLancia Corse Italy Carlo Facetti Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo Gr.5 273 19th 2nd
1981 Italy Jolly Club Italy Giorgio Schön
Italy Giorgio Pianta
Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo Gr.5 293 14th 4th
1983 Italy Scuderia Jolly Club Italy Carlo Facetti
Switzerland Marco Vanoli
Alba-Giannini AR2 C Junior 158 DNF DNF
1984 Italy Jolly Club Italy Carlo Facetti
Switzerland Marco Vanoli
Alba-Giannini AR2 C2 258 21st 7th
1985 Italy Carma F.F. Italy Guido Daccò
Italy Aldo Bertuzzi
Alba-Giannini AR2 C2 228 DNF DNF

Complete 24 Hours of Daytona results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1977 Italy Jolly Club Italy Carlo Facetti
Switzerland Romeo Camathias
Porsche 935 Gr.5 679 2nd 1st
1978 Italy Jolly Club Italy Carlo Facetti Porsche 935 GTX 6 DNF DNF
1979 Italy Jolly Club – Sportswagen Racing Team Italy Carlo Facetti
Italy Giampiero Moretti
Porsche 935 GTX 164 DNF DNF
1980 Italy Jolly Club Italy Carlo Facetti Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo GTX 597 10th 6th
1981 Italy Jolly Club Italy Carlo Facetti Ferrari 308 GTB Turbo GTX 4 DNF DNF
Italy Jolly Club Italia Italy Carlo Facetti
Italy Emanuele Pirro
Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo GTX 609 5th 3rd
1986 Italy Carma Racing Italy Ruggero Melgrati
Italy Almo Coppelli
Alba-Ferrari AR6 Lights 291 DNF DNF
1988 United States Gaston Andrey Racing Italy Pietro Silva
Italy Guido Daccò
Alba-Ferrari AR6 Lights 506 27th 7th
1989 Canada Bieri Racing Italy Paolo Guatamacchi
Canada Uli Bieri
Tiga-Ferrari GT286 Lights 475 22nd 2nd
1990 Canada Bieri Racing Italy Paolo Guatamacchi
Switzerland Loris Kessel
Spice-Ferrari SE89P Lights 306 DNF DNF

Complete 12 Hours of Sebring results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1986 United States Gaston Andrey Racing Italy Carlo Facetti
Italy Ruggero Melgarti
Alba-Ferrari AR6 Lights 41 DNF DNF
1987 United States Gaston Andrey Racing Italy Ruggero Melgarti
Italy Pietro Silva
Alba-Ferrari AR6 Lights 177 DNF DNF
1988 United States Gaston Andrey Racing Canada Uli Bieri
Switzerland Angelo Pallavicini
Italy Paolo Guatamcchi
Alba-Ferrari AR6 Lights 269 13th 2nd
Italy Ruggero Melgarti
Italy Guido Daccò
Tiga-Ferrari GT286 Lights 264 18th 4th
1989 Canada Bieri Racing Italy Paolo Guatamacchi
Canada Uli Bieri
Tiga-Ferrari GT286 Lights 193 DNF DNF
1990 Canada Bieri Racing Italy Ruggero Melgrati
Italy Paolo Guatamacchi
Spice-Ferrari SE89P Lights 261 12th 3rd
1991 Canada Bieri Racing Italy Ruggero Melgrati
Spain Fermín Vélez
Spice-Ferrari SE89P Lights 147 DNF DNF
1995 Italy Martion Finotto Italy Ruggero Melgrati
United States John Finger
Ferrari 308 GTB GTS-2 74 DNF DNF

Complete 24 Hours of Spa results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1976 Italy Luigi Racing Belgium Jean Xhenceval
Belgium Pierre Dieudonné
1978 Italy Luigi Racing Lotto Belgium Jean Xhenceval
Belgium André Gavage
BMW 530i Grp.1+2.5 DNF DNF
1981 Belgium Van Hove Mobil Smit Jet Belgium Raijmond van Hove
Belgium Georges Cremer
Chevrolet Camaro Z28 serT+2.5 393 22nd 14th


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^[permanent dead link]
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ a b c d e f
  33. ^[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ a b c Martin Cotton, "Directory of World Sportscars GROUP C and IMSA Cars from 1982" (Aston Publications, ISBN 0-946627-38-X, 1988)
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^ a b
  37. ^ a b
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Umberto Grano
European Touring Car Championship champion
with Carlo Facetti
Succeeded by
Helmut Kelleners
and Siegfried Müller Jr.