Nanni Galli

Full Name:
Giovanni Giuseppe Gilberto Galli
Born:
2nd October 1940
Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
Died:
12th October 2019 (Aged 79)
Prato, Tuscany
Nationality:
Italian
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Giovanni Galli adopted the pseudonym "Nanni" in the vain hope of hiding his identity from a disapproving family when he started racing in 1962. From a wealthy Bolognese family, it was his form driving a Mini Cooper S during 1965 that first highlighted his talent as he won his class in each of the 10 national events entered.

Works driver for Alfa Romeo

Galli joined Alfa Romeo in 1967 to race in both touring cars (with a GTA) and sports cars (T33/2). Fifth in that year’s Nürburgring 1000Kms, he repeated that result a year later in addition to finishing second on the Targa Florio and fourth at Le Mans.

The highest profile victory of his career was in the 1968 non-championship Circuito di Mugello when he shared an Alfa Romeo T33/2 with Lucien Bianchi and Nino Vaccarella. Galli also made tentative first steps in single-seaters during 1968 when driving a private Brabham BT23-Alfa Romeo in Formula 2.

Formula 1 with McLaren and March

He moved to Tecno as François Cevert’s 1969 team-mate and was seventh in the European F2 Championship. Alfa Romeo then built a Formula 1 engine for McLaren in 1970 and Galli joined regular Andrea de Adamich at the Italian Grand Prix but could not qualify.

His Alfa Romeo T33/3 finished in the top three at Buenos Aires and Sebring at the start of the 1971 sports car season and Galli was placed with the March F1 team to further develop the Alfa Romeo engine. He qualified in a career-best 15th position in Austria but did not finish in the top 10.

Galli continued with Alfa Romeo in sports cars and was second in the 1972 Targa Florio. He rejoined Tecno for a limited F1 programme that year and finished third in the non-championship Italian Republic GP at Vallelunga albeit against a weak field.

Final F1 drives for Ferrari and Williams

He also replaced the injured Ferrari driver Clay Regazzoni in the 1972 French GP but the team was in disarray at the time. Galli only qualified in 21st position and finished 13th. He moved to Williams for 1973 and finished ninth in Brazil. But disillusioned by yet another uncompetitive car, Galli announced his retirement from the sport after the Monaco GP.

He did race an Osella PA2-Abarth in two sports car events during 1974 before turning to commerce instead. He followed his father into the clothing business and established the Fruit of the Loom brand with great success. Briefly a sponsor of Williams, he was also instrumental in bringing Benetton into F1 in 1983.