Vincenzo Sospiri

The very talented Vincenzo Sospiri will be celebrating his 45th birthday today!

After test driver roles with Simtek and Benetton, the Italian’s F1 break – so he thought! – came with the MasterCard Lola squad in 1997. Sadly for poor Vincenzo, his F1 debut would last just two days…

The 1987 World Karting Champion, Italian-born Vincenzo Sospiri worked his way up the motorsport championships, and eventually won the 1995 Formula 3000 title after several seasons trying.

Appointed to the Lola F1 outfit at the start of 1997, poor Vincenzo never stood a chance at another crack in F1 when he failed to qualifying the appalling T97/30 chassis.

Sospiri's Grand Prix career lasted just two days With the hastily-designed car having never seen the inside of a wind tunnel during its design, the hapless Sospiri was over 10 seconds off the qualifying pace of pole-sitter Jacques Villeneuve.

The Lola project would grind to a halt before the next round at Brazil, and Sospiri never graced the F1 stage again.

He competed in the IRL and ChampCar series before moving onto sports cars, where he won back-to-back Sports Racing World Cup titles in 1998-9.

Sospiri later retired from all forms of motor racing and now manages the Euronova team in the Auto GP championship.

[Images via F1-Facts and F1 Nostalgia]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.