Prince Gaetano Starrabba was an enthusiastic Sicilian amateur who started one Grand Prix and was a regular on the Targa Florio. He raced in his local event on eight occasions from his debut in 1954 to his last drive in 1968. His best overall finish was seventh in 1958 when Franco Cortese shared his class-winning Ferrari 500TR.
Grand Prix privateer
Although sports cars and GTs were Starrabba’s normal fare, he bought a Lotus 18 in 1961 and fitted it with a four-cylinder Maserati engine. Starrabba’s entry for that year’s Italian GP was accepted despite his lack of single-seater experience. He qualified on the penultimate row with a time that was over 20 seconds slower than pole position. Starrabba’s engine failed while running in 12th position and he also retired from the Coppa Italia at Vallelunga.
A one-off appearance at Naples in 1962 was followed by a fuller schedule of domestic events a year later. He normally qualified at the back and often retired early but Starrabba was fifth in the Rome GP at Vallelunga against a field of privateers. The nobleman drove an unusual Brabham BT9-Fiat in the Formula 2 Pau GP in 1964 but he did little more than make up the numbers when driving single-seaters.
He won the 3-litre GT class on the 1965 Targa Florio with a Ferrari 250GTO and stopped racing after finishing 16th in the 1968 race. Starrabba continues to live in Palermo where he has worked in classic car restoration.