Luigi "Gigi" Villoresi ("DJEE-djee" VILL-or-ay-zee; May 16, 1909 in Milan, MI, Lombardy, Italy – August 24, 1997 in Modena, MO, Emilia-Romagna, Italy) was an Italian Grand Prix motor racing driver who continued racing on the Formula One circuit at the time of its inception. He spent his time in Grand Prix racing for Italian manufacturers Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia between 1950 and 1956.
During his earlier career Villoresi, known as Gigi, had to deal with the death of his brother, a fellow racing driver who he started his career with, who died in a testing crash. He also had to deal with a near fatal crash of his own in 1948 and was a prisoner of war.
Gigi was an incredibly successful driver during the late 40's and when the World Championship arrived, he achieved 8 podiums but a win eluded him throughout his career.
Before Formula 1 World Championship
Luigi Viloresi, known as Gigi was the elder brother of Emilio Villoresi. From a prosperous family, the Viloresi brothers, known as a wild pair, could afford to buy their own car to compete and raced together in many endurance races and rallies in their early careers.
Emilio was extremely successful and was signed to drive for Alfa Romeo in 1937 but sadly died in a testing crash at Monza in 1938.
In the same year Gigi, after winning the Czech GP was signed as part of the Maserati team, which was easily second best to the dominant Mercedes team. Gigi became Italian 1500cc champion in 1938 and 1939 when he also won the South African GP and the 1939 and 1940 Targa Florio just before racing ceased as a result of WWII.
During the war Villoresi was held as a prisoner but upon his release started racing again immediately.
At the end of the war Gigi again returned to Maserati and mentored young Italian Alberto Ascari. Gigi was an early European pioneer racing to 7th at the 1946 Indianpolis 500 aswell as taking some GP victories. 1947 brought victories at Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, Nimes, Nice, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.
Gigi continued to impress with victories in 1948 at Buenos Aires again, Comminges, Albi, Silverstone and Barcelona although the most important event of 1948 was Gigi's near fatal crash at Bremgarten before leaving his beloved Maserati by switching to Ferrari with protege and friend Ascari where he scored a win and several high profile podiums.
Formula One Career
Unlike rivals Alfa Romeo, Ferrari did not compete in all the championship races in 1950, their first appearance was at the second round of the championship at Monaco where Gigi was the highest qualifying of the three Ferrari drivers in sixth.
On the first lap the field entered the Tabac corner to find that it had been flooded by a tidal wave, leader Juan Manuel Fangio tip toes around but second placed Nino Farina spun causing a multi-car pile-up in which Gigi stalled and fell to the back of the cars still running. Gigi drove hard fighting his way through the field to second, past Alberto Ascari and Louis Chiron but as soon as he was looking likely to cruise to the finish when his rear axel broke.
Gigi took his form from Monaco to Switzerland where he qualified fourth, the highest none Alfa Romeo but his race would only last nine laps before mechanical failure. Gigi qualified fourth again at Spa-Francochamps but the Ferrari's struggled, beating outdriven by the Talbot-Lago's, eventually ending up off the lead lap, Villoresi came home 6th.
The Ferrari practiced at the French Grand Prix but were withdrawn by Enzo Ferrari over fears they would be again uncompetitive and decided to take their cars to Geneva to test a new engine. The test proved successful and Gigi left the circuit optomistic of better fortunes at the season ending Italian Grand Prix, only to suffer a traffic accident on the way home from Geneva and unable to compete in Italy.
Villoresi had driven well in 1950 but was not rewarded with any points to his teammates 11.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|Complete Formula One Results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||DNS||Did not start|
|18th†||Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance)||NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)|
|4thP||Qualified for pole position||[+] More Symbols|
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