Roberto Ravaglia

26th May 1957 (Age 61)
Venice, Veneto
Most recent race (in database):

Check Roberto Ravaglia’s passport and it probably lists his profession as racing driver, now team owner. Touring car legend would be more apt.

Early single-seater career

A former national karting champion, Ravaglia raced a Trivelatto Racing Dallara-Toyota in Italian Formula 3 in 1981 – winning once. He continued in the category for another two seasons with the team. The highlight of his 1983 European campaign came on the tight French street circuit at La Châtre. He qualified his Ralt RT3-Toyota in second position and passed Didier Theys’ Alfa Romeo-powered car to win for the only time.

However, Ravaglia’s future lay in saloon cars and he raced in the European Touring Car Championship from 1984. Soon a star for Schnitzer BMW, the Italian’s BMW 635CSi won the final round of that year’s championship and he triumphed again in the 1985 Spa 24 Hours.

World Touring Car Champion

Ravaglia won the 1986 ETCC title with Gerhard Berger and Emanuele Pirro among his co-drivers. Now driving a Schnitzer BMW M3, he then won the one-off 1987 World Championship and claimed another ETCC title a year later. That 1988 success included another victory in the Spa 24 Hours as Ravaglia established himself as the master of this form of the sport.

The FIA suspended its premier saloon car championship after that season and Ravaglia – its leading light for three years in succession – switched to the German DTM Championship for 1989. The end result was the same however for he was rewarded with his fourth major title in a row.

Another three touring car titles followed in the Italian series to confirm one of saloon car racing’s (and BMW’s) greatest drivers. Winner of the Spa 24 Hours once more in 1994, he made an unsuccessful foray into the British Touring Car Championship in 1996 before racing a Schnitzer McLaren F1-GTR-BMW in the 1997 FIA GT Championship. He won at Silverstone and finished third in the Le Mans 24 Hours in what was the swansong to a glittering motor racing career.

He then forged a career as a team owner that included entering works BMWs in the FIA’s major touring car championships into the new millennium.