Gianpiero Moretti began making and selling custom steering wheels while he was a student at the University of Pavia in Italy. He had a real talent at it and he began his racing career in the beginning of the seventies. Soon, Enzo Ferrari had placed an order for some Momo wheels. His business had grown and he had a production line to supply Ferrari, and he had become a successful businessman while he was still a student. In 1971, he had moved up to big time racing and was running a Ferari 512M in the World Sportscar Championship. The first race of the season was the 24 Hours of Daytona and this very first race would determine his later familiar race number : 30. He would always carry that number throughout his IMSA career. His racing career in Europe spanned for eight years, and he began his American career in 1978, in the US. He had purchased a Porsche 935, and moved to the IMSA Championship, in which he finished third overall, in his first season.
Copyright Mark Windecker
The two following years were more disappointing, with an eighteenth place overall in 1979, and a sixth in 1980. He won the last two races of the season however, with Reinhold Joest. The 1980s began with many travels between Europe and the US. He did plan his races according to his personal priorities. He purchased a Joest Porsche 935L in 1981 and had hired Ian Dawson as a Team manager. He had some good placings at the wheel of this very fast car, often placing second behind Brian Redman's Lola T600. However, running such a car stirred up some disapprovals from many competitors and the fall Road Atlanta race would be his last appearance for a season and a half. He and IMSA had a disagreement about the rules interpretation, so he left the series and came back to Europe. He did some 1982 World Sportscar Championship races with a March 82G Porsche, but with little success. Remembering these years, Gianpiero Moretti could sense the difference between the US and European spirit, and he probably felt that he would be back very soon. So, in 1983, he was back in the US, with the Porsche 935L, which was now outdated. He then purchased a March 83G, in which a Porsche engine would be installed. He would use the two cars during the entire season, the March 83G Porsche was used and replaced by the Porsche when it was crashed. For that season, Gianpiero Moretti had arranged a deal with Kreepy Krauly, a South African pool cleaning supplier factory.
Copyright Mark Windecker
They had explored the March chassis and would bring Sarel van der Merwe and Désiré Wilson as co-drivers. Alistair McNeill served as team manager and this relationship between the two men would strengthen throughout the years. The year was not much successful, and was frought with two violent crashes, one at Lime Rock for Gianpiero Moretti himself and the second for Désiré Wilson at Brainerd. The March was destroyed and the team had to finish the season with the Porsche. Gianpiero Moretti finished up twelfth in points.
For 1984, Momo Corse went on some new ways, and did campaign an Alba chassis car, powered by a Ford Cosworth engine. Renamed Momo, the car was underpowered and had trouble keeping up with the best. The Porsche 962 was now the new pacesetter, even if it was not a Porsche driver that won the Championship. The car was built out of carbon fiber composites and had won the Group C2 Chamionship in the 1983 WSC. His best result was a fourth at Lime Rock, which he ran solo.
Copyright Mark Windecker
For 1985, the car was renamed Alba and he entered the car in the GTP class, being fitted with a 3,5L engine. The team entered the car at Miami, Road Atlanta and Riverside, with not much success.Then he car was sold to CCR.
1986 was quite an off season with only three appearances on the Camel GT circuit. He brought along the Momo sponsorship to the Joest Racing Porsche 962 for the two Miami and Sebring races. Two very disappointing races with a thirteenth overall at Miami and a dnf at Sebring after only ten laps. Then Gianpiero Moretti drove once with Roger Andrey at Lime Rock, with no good result at the finish.
In 1987, Gianpiero Moretti appeared surprisingly at the wheel of a Ford Probe with a dnf. He did not appear until the end of the season, he had meanwhile purchased a March 86G Buick. The beautiful car was driven by himself and Whitney Ganz. They finished ninth at Portland for the first race. Then it was a succession of top ten finishes. He had two cars, that were previously run as the BMW GTPs. The chassis were BMWs, but the engines were Buick. A 3,0L Turbo V6 engine was fitted on the first car while the second one was fitted with a 4,5L V8. Buick did not bring any support except from the engine help.
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In 1988, the cars were entered at the 24 Hours of Daytona, but with poor results. The next races were a succession of dnfs or very poor results, and the best result of the season was a ninth at Watkins Glen. At the end of the season, Gianpiero Moretti entered a Gebhardt prepared Porsche 962, and he would enter for the remainder of the season. A fifth would reward the team at the Tampa GTE World Challenge. The March experience was already over. The 1989 season began at the 24 Hours of Daytona with the Porsche 962. The season seemed to start under better auspices with a dnf at this first race, but Sebring ended up with a fourth overall. Gianpiero Moretti was co-driven by Derek Bell and Michael Roe.
Next, the team did almost every remaining race. A pair of thirds at Road Atlanta and Mid Ohio, a fourth at San Antonio and a fifth at Tampa. Gianpiero Moretti ended up eleventh in points.
The 1990 season started with a crash at Daytona with Derek Bell ending up on the roof, but he was unhurt. The best result was a sixth at Watkins Glen. In 1991, the season began at West Palm Beach with a dnf. The team had a tenth place finish at Sebring, with Derek Bell co-driving. At Topeka, the team had a radical Momo C901 Audi powered car. They once again met little success and later sent back to Germany to be converted back to Cosworth power. At the end of the season, the Porsche 962 was brought back to the track. The car was now prepared by Reinhold Joest instead of Gunther Gebhardt. Gianpiero Moretti and Derek Bell were sixth at Portland. After a last dnf at Road America, the team did not enter Del Mar.
They started the 1992 season at Daytona, and Hans Stuck, Henri Pescarolo and Frank Jelinski were his new co-drivers on the Porsche 962C but it was again a dnf after 503 laps. The next race, held at Miami ended up with an eighth place finish and Sebring a third place. Oscar Larrauri and Bernd Schneider were his co-drivers for this last race. The 1992 was the year of the big Nissan versus Toyota battles and the Porsche 962s were becoming increasingly outdated. Gianpiero Moretti was content with a sixth at Road Atlanta, despite a spin in the dirt. Lime Rock was a dnf, as well as Mid Ohio. Gianpiero Moretti would be joined later in the season by John Paul Jr. They both competed in the New Orleans and Watkins Glen, and were rewarded with two sixths. Then it was Frank Biela at Portland. John Paul Jr was back again at Road America, again for a sixth overall. Their last race was at Phoenix, where they took a seventh, but they could obviously not do better. The season ended up with a sixth place finish for Gianpiero Moretti, which was quite an honest achievement. For 1993, Nissan had decided to retire from GTP racing, and subsequently had asked Gianpiero Moretti to run the Nissan NPT90. Their objective was to face the extremely strong opposition from the All American Racers team. At that point, Nissan was thinking of turning their program into a true car customer service, as Porsche did. They recommended Kevin Doran as a Team Manager, as he was familiar with running the cars. Unfortunately, Nissan's racing team was disbanded, and all they had for themselves was the engine shop and no more factory support. Things could not begin worse. They began the season at Daytona with a quite usual team : Derek Bell, Massimo Sigala and John Paul Jr along with the boss. That very first race was quite encouraging for the team as they battled for victory until two hours from the finish when the engine quit, leaving them to a disappointing sixth overall. Then it was a string of encouraging races, with a fourth at Miami and a second at Sebring. John Paul Jr was still part of the team. After a dnf at Road Atlanta, the Derek Bell and Gianpiero Moretti pair took a sixth at Lime Rock and a third at Mid Ohio. After an eighth at Watkins Glen, the team would wind up a fourth at Laguna Seca and Portland, but it was clear that no victory would reward the glorious Italian team. However, Gianpiero Moretti ended up third in points, which his best result ever in the series, along with his first season, which was 1978. Kevin Doran was named Technician of the Year. His dream of winning a GTP was not fulfilled, and would never be, as 1993 was the last year for the GTPs. So he would never win a GTP race, as IMSA had opted to go WSC. Gianpiero Moretti would run a Ferrari 333SP, and finally be rewarded with international success at Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen, but that's another story.
Gianpiero Moretti has become a true figure of IMSA racing, and he has become a familiar face wandering in the IMSA paddocks. If you ever wanted to eat pasta, then he was the man you ought to know, but on the track, he was a real contender for the win. He has brought his Italian style and accent to IMSA racing. He is one of the men who made the IMSA Camel GT and he is one of the living legends of the series.