Lavaggi driving his self designed Lavaggi LS1 at Spa in 2009

Giovanni Lavaggi (born 18 February 1958) is an Italian racing driver.

Despite Lavaggi being a nobleman by background, he couldn’t count on personal financial resources; therefore he started racing only at the age of 26.[1] Nevertheless, he managed to reach the top class of motorsport, racing in Formula One in ‘95 and ‘96. First approach to F1 was in 1992 when, being a mechanical engineer, he was official test driver for March F1 team. In 1995, he drove for Lotus-Pacific only for 4 races in which he was forced to retire due to gearbox problems. In the second part of 1996 racing season, he joined Minardi Team for 6 races. His best result was a 10th place at Hungaroring, which was the second best result of the year for Minardi team.

He lives in Monte Carlo.[1]

Early life

Lavaggi was born in Augusta, Sicily on 18 February 1958, being of noble heritage.[2][3] He studied mechanical engineering at Milan Polytechnic.[2]

Racing career

Lavaggi's racing career started in 1984, inspired by Henry Morrogh who judged him the best student he ever had at his racing school. That year he was official driver of the constructor Ermolli in “Formula Panda” Italian championship where he classified second, winning more races than any other driver. Having not enough sponsors to afford a whole championship in Formula 3, he did just a few races in the F3 Italian championship before turning to “Groupe C” sports cars, in order to gain international experience. In this category, soon he became a driver of Porsche Kremer Team, obtaining great results: he was the 1993 Interserie Champion winning 6 races on a total of 12 and being other 4 times on the podium. He also won the 1995 iconic Daytona 24 Hours where he did most of the job, driving 9 hours in a team of 4 drivers. He scored as well two wins in the FIA Sportscar Championship, including the prestigious 1000Km of Monza, where he drove five hours on six; furthermore he was 5 more times on the podium and he took 2 pole positions. His first race in F1 was in 1995. He was a rookie, but, at the same time, being 35 years old, he was the oldest driver in the field; therefore, he had to fight against the scepticism of the F1 media. Nevertheless, even with no previous experience and no tests (his teams had not enough money to perform private tests) he was always close to the performance of his teammates. His last experience in F1 was the 1996 Bologna Motorshow. Racing with a Minardi against two Benettons (driven by Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella), two Ligiers (Olivier Panis and Shinji Nakano) and the other Minardi (Tarso Marques), he reached the second place, losing the final against Fisichella by a nose.

After the F1 experience, Lavaggi founded his own team “Scuderia Lavaggi” and in 2006 he became a constructor designing and building his own Le Mans Prototype, the Lavaggi LS1. With his car, he raced in the Le Mans Series until 2009 and he scored a pole position at 2008 Vallelunga 6h. Lavaggi is the only example of a driver-constructor in the modern era of motorsport at high-level.

He was nicknamed "Johnny Carwash" (an approximate translation of his name from Italian to English, John Washes) by people in the paddock;[4] US talk show host David Letterman helped bring the nickname to popular attention.[citation needed]

Family

The Lavaggi noble family moved from Genova to Sicily (Palermo) in 1420 and then from Palermo to Augusta in 1711. A cousin of Giovanni’s grandfather, also called Giovanni Lavaggi, was a war hero. He was a pilot of the Italian air force and he died because of the sabotage of his airplane, while bringing to Asmara the Italian minister of public works Luigi Razzi, who also was killed in the crash. In the cities of Catania and Augusta, Via Giovanni Lavaggi (Giovanni Lavaggi Road) is named after him.[citation needed]

Racing record

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1989 Germany Porsche Kremer Racing Japan Kunimitsu Takahashi
Italy Bruno Giacomelli
Porsche 962C C1 303 DNF DNF
1990 United Kingdom Team Davey Morocco Max Cohen-Olivar
United Kingdom Tim Lee-Davey
Porsche 962C C1 306 19th 19th
1992 Germany Porsche Kremer Racing Germany Manuel Reuter
Denmark John Nielsen
Porsche 962CK6 C3 334 7th 2nd
1993 Germany Porsche Kremer Racing Germany Jürgen Lässig
South Africa Wayne Taylor
Porsche 962CK6 C2 328 12th 7th
2000 Spain Repsol Racing Engineering Spain Tomás Saldaña
Spain Jesús Diez Villaroel
Porsche 911 GT3-R GT 78 DNF DNF

Complete International Formula 3000 results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap.)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 DC Points
1991 Crypton Engineering VAL
DNQ
PAU
DNQ
JER
DNQ
MUG
DNQ
PER
Ret
NC 0
Roni Team HOC
DNQ
BRH
DNQ
SPA
DNQ
BUG
DNQ
NOG
12

American Open-Wheel racing results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest race lap)

PPG Indycar Series

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Rank Points
1994 Euromotorsports Lola T9300 Ilmor C SRF PHX LBH INDY MIL DET
DNQ
POR 38th 0
Leader Cards Racing CLE
30
TOR MCH MDO NHA VAN ROA
15
NAZ LAG
DNQ

Complete Formula One results

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1995 Pacific Grand Prix Ltd Pacific PR02 Ford V8 BRA ARG SMR ESP MON CAN FRA GBR GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR EUR PAC JPN AUS NC 0
1996 Minardi Team Minardi M195B Ford V8 AUS BRA ARG EUR SMR MON ESP CAN FRA GBR GER
DNQ
HUN
10
BEL
DNQ
ITA
Ret
POR
15
JPN
DNQ
NC 0

References

  1. ^ a b D'Agata, Julian (3 June 2020). "Giovanni Lavaggi si racconta a 'Circus!': "Laurearmi mi ha permesso di realizzare il mio sogno"". LiveGP.it (in Italian). Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b D'Agata, Julian (11 April 2020). "Giovanni Lavaggi: il pilota-costruttore sulle orme di Bruce McLaren". LiveGP.it (in Italian). Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  3. ^ Bucci, Alessandro (3 November 2016). "F1 | Giovanni Lavaggi: "La F1 dovrebbe rispolverare l'estro umano"". F1Sport.it (in Italian). Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  4. ^ "From 'The Iceman' to 'The Monza Gorilla' - the best nicknames in F1 history". www.formula1.com. Retrieved 20 August 2021.

External links