Gianfranco Brancatelli – who failed to qualify for the three races he contested for the little-known (and very slow) Kauhsen and Merzario teams – is celebrating his 62nd birthday today!
Born in Turin, floppy-haired Gianfranco’s motorsport career started in 1973 when he competed in the Formula Abarth series, advancing to Italian Formula 3 in 1975, finishing second overall in his debut season.
His F1 debut in 1979 saw him join the little Kaushen team, which was entering its debut season with what amounted to being little more than a kit car. Right from the outset, it was clear that he stood little hope of making the grid, qualifying slowest of all at his first outing at Jarama, with a gap to pole man Jacques Laffite of nearly nine seconds.
He was even slower at the next round at Zolder, lapping the dreadful car slow enough around the Belgian circuit to make the Mastercard Lola effort proud, and when Arturo Merzario crashed his eponymous car in practice at that event, Brancatelli was called up to replace him at Monaco, where he predictably failed to qualify after failing to post a time at all.
After F1, Brancatelli would progress to a successful career in touring cars and endurance races, with some highlights being his winning the 1985 European Touring Car Championship crown, the 1985 Guia race at Macau, the Spa 24 Hours in 1989 and finishing second overall at the 1987 Daytona 24 Hours.