Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"Italian Driver & MOMO Founder" Giampiero Moretti Born - March 20, 1940

March 20, 1940 - January 14, 2012
Giampiero Moretti
(Photo: dolephoto.com)
Born in Milan, Italy.
He was an Italian racing driver and the founder of the MOMO company in the 1960s. As a racer, Moretti drove sports cars and made multiple attempts at winning both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Daytona 24 hour race, driving mostly Ferraris, but also the occasional Porsche. He is reported to have strongly encouraged Ferrari’s return to prototype racing with the Dallara-built 333SP that debuted in 1994. He came oh-so-close at Daytona in 1996, losing by just over a minute to an Oldsmobile-powered Riley & Scott team.

But in 1998, teamed with Mauro Baldi, Arie Luyendyk and Didier Theys, he was part of the winning team at Daytona in his 15th attempt, driving the last laps himself to personally take the checkered flag.
With the 333SP, Moretti also tasted victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring that year, along with other sports car victories in the mid-1990s.

While in his 20s, he created Momo, initially to make steering wheels but later adding such equipment as racing suits, helmets, shift knobs, shoes, fireproof underwear and even seats and wheels.

His first big break came when Ferrari factory driver John Surtees discovered Moretti’s steering wheel and had one installed in his Ferrari 158 F1 car in 1964, the year he claimed his sole F1 title. In 1966, Moretti opened a factory in Verona to produce steering wheels. For three decades, he ran the company before selling it to a larger OEM supplier in 1996. The company has been shuffled among different corporate owners since, with an Italian private equity group currently controlling the brand and still selling Momo’s mix of safety and style.
Momo’s presence is nearly ubiquitous at road racing venues around the world, where plenty of drivers suit up in Momo fireproof suits, shoes and helmets. While the suits need not be red, Momo’s signature yellow and red logo can still be found on all of their products.

The gentleman racer and businessman, Giampiero Moretti died on January 14, 2012 at his home in Milan, following a long illness of cancer. He was 71.

A popular driver, Moretti might be gone, but he won’t be forgotten. When the 50th Rolex 24 at Daytona ran, the NGT Motorsport Porsche GT3 was festooned in Momo’s classic red and yellow livery. They finished 29th overall and 18th in a deep GT class.

No comments:

Post a Comment