Former Minardi F1 driver Gianmaria ‘Gimmi’ Bruni turns 31 years old today!
Rome-born Bruni entered motorsport at the age of ten, lying about his age to the director of the La Pista d’Oro kart circuit (12 was the minimum competition age).
He graduated to open-wheeler competition in 1997, and won the Italian Formula Renault Campus championship the following year. He would go on to win the European Formula Renault championship in 1999 and competed for two seasons in British F3.
It was while competing in the European F3000 championship that he caught the attention of Gian Carlo Minardi, and he was signed up to test for the team in the latter half of the 2003 season.
Having secured enough sponsorship to pick up a drive with the team in 2004, he struggled to compete in a woefully underdeveloped Minardi car and never challenged for points. Indeed, his best result was a trio of 14th place finishes.
By season’s end, he’d had enough of treading water and the moody Italian had a major falling out with team boss Paul Stoddart at the final race, which was all but enough to ensure he wouldn’t grace the F1 grid in 2005.
So Gimmi dropped back to GP2 and joined the Coloni team, winning his first race at Barcelona. He switched mid-season to the Durango outfit, and started his next race at Spa-Francorchamps from pole position.
He switched to the Trident team for the 2006 season, winning the feature races in San Marino and Germany.
From 2007 onwards, Gimmi has been a fixture in the FIA GT and American Le Mans Series championships.