Formula Fiat Abarth, Mugello, 1980
There were so many question marks over my first car race, because in those days you needed to have passed your driving test to get a race licence. Passing the test wasn’t a problem, but getting the paperwork sorted out was. In the end we had to do the Italian thing and get a friend of a friend to sort it.
The event started well. I qualified seventh or eighth for one of the heats and was on the second row and finished second in the other. Then it started to rain for the main race: I had never encountered wet conditions in all the testing I had done.
At the start I ended up in the lead but thought it was some kind of mistake. I was waiting for people to pass but no one did.
With two or three laps to go I was 10sec ahead when I spun off into the gravel. I was so frightened to go back to the pits, but when I got there everyone was ecstatic; the team, my dad and the press.
… and my last race — Sebring 12 Hours, 2005
It was an exciting race that could have gone either way and I reckon Frank (Biela), Allan (McNish) and I had more bad luck on the way to second place than the other Champion Audi R8. They beat us by six seconds, but I lost more than that with two stop-go penalties. The officials said I was to blame but each time it looked to me that the slower car was leaving the door open. It would have been nice to have won Sebring again, but I’m still looking forward to racing on in the American Le Mans Series this year.