He does not stand in the limelight as a the two most popular kings of this 24 hour battle do, but he holds a record, none of his rivals came close so far: between1999 and 2007, Emanuele finished on the podium nine times in a row - and on five of these occasions on the very top! Although long distance racing is more of a team sport than any other discipline in motorracing, this achievement says a lot about this most charming and humble man from Rome in Italy. I had the chance to talk to him during the „Hungaroring Classic“ weekend in september 2017, at the twisty circuit near Budapest in hungary where he drove, amongst others, a beautiful 3 liter Alfa Romeo Tipo 33. He still lives his dream and drives historic racing cars with the same passion as he did during his active career. Here is what he had to say: TSS: Emanuele, great to meet you here in Budapest and thank you for your time! E: Thank you, it` a pleasure for me! TSS: You started your career in the seventies – now it`s 2017 and you are still around in the paddocks  and driving racing cars… E: Yes, I am really passionate about racing, I love the cars and the ambiance. It already began in my childhood. TSS: How did it start? Was motor racing a subject in your family? E: I liked it when I was a kid, my father liked motorsport and then I started with karting at a very early age and I fell in love with it. I was born with a big passion, I liked motorbikes, cars and engines since I was a kid. TSS: After karting you came up the ranks with Formula Abarth first, then it was the logical way with F3, F2 and F3000. Who were your rivals back then? E:  Yes, in F3 there was Larrauri, Didier Theys, a lot of French guys like the Ferté brothers and Mauro Baldi. After that in F3000 there was Mike Thackwell, Roberto Moreno and Stefano Modena. TSS: You was one of the first drivers who made also a career in japan. E: Yes, my hope was to get into F1 but there was no possibility, so I switched to touring cars for one season with BMW in `87 and then I got the opportunity to go to Japan to do test drives for McLaren in `88 where I was working with A. Prost and A. Senna. So this was a chance to get one step closer to a regular F1 drive. TSS: As a young driver, is there a harder job as being in the same team as the worlds` best drivers? Were they role models for you or did you think: I could be as good as these guys? E: No, no, no, by no means: NO! First of all there was no other choice for me. It was a big opportunity to go back to single seater cars and to see how good I really was. I never saw them as rivals. My contract was, that I had the option to drive in GP`s if one of them would have been not able to do. But I never saw them as somebody to beat, I always saw them as somebody to learn from. I had no idea what this job could lead to. Then, a test driver job was not something that was very popular. Ron Dennis said to me, that it will be difficult for me to do races because we have the drivers already, but maybe this will open up the doors for another drive, which in the end was correct, as I could drive half a season for Benetton when Johnny Herbert was not fit enough.TSS: Could you make a statement which was the better one of these two? E: No, I think both of them helped each other to become even stronger. In those days, the two were at a level that was incredible, pushing each other so much! It`s been an important time of my career to be with them and learn from them. JK: You moved on to BMS Dallara for two seasons. E: Yes, the first year I was there with de Cesaris but the car was not competitive. The second year `91, the chassis was very good. My teammate was J.J. Lehto, but the budget was very small. We had Ferrari V12 engines but they were by far not the same as the works Ferraris, may be 100hp less than them. The car was really nice to drive and enjoyable. For me, it was even a better car than the McLaren! I could compare it because I still did the test driver job for them. If we would have had more budget which would also have bought more reliability, it could have been a successful year. But in the end, my F1 car was finished after that. TSS: You did touring cars full time after that. E: Yes, but I always did touring car races besides my Formula jobs. I started already in `85 with touring cars! My friends R. Ravaglia and Gerhard Berger did it and BMW asked me to help them out and it was a lot of fun for me, so I was always involved in touring cars with a lot of success as I was a national champion in Italy and Germany. TSS: Do you have any special memories of your team mates in touring cars? E: Yes, a lot of course. But the best memories are with Jockel Winkelhock at BMW. He was a nice guy and I liked him very much! We drove for Schnitzer together and in fact, my last race with BMW  was in the Asian-Pacific championship in Malaysia. We were all sorry, because we had a very good camaraderie within the drivers with Jo and Roberto. There was basically no competition , and the agreement was, that whoever got pole position, may win the race. Usually, I was on pole, but for this last race my car had a problem and it was Jo who ended up on pole. So, no problem for me, that he will get the win. But before the race, he and team manager Charlie Lamm came to me, and they said: “Listen Emanuele, because this is your last race for BMW, we will let you win the race!” The BMW bosses never knew about this agreement, it was just between us three! It was a big gesture and Jo is almost like a friend to me! After that, I left BMW because of some personal problems with people from the higher BMW management and Charlie Lamm from Schnitzer was the one, who told me to ask at Audi for a drive – you would be the perfect guy for them and they would be the perfect team for you! TSS: The time with Audi was such a successful time for you. E: Yes, I did touring cars for them from `94 to `98 and after that came the sports cars, it was a really wonderful time. I was able to win the 24h of Le Mans five times and I was on the podium nine times in a row, which is a record until today! TSS: Does any of these five wins stand above the others or are they all equally valuable? E: Of course all of them are special for me, but the feeling of the first win was wonderful. Also the first win with the Diesel car was special for me, because I love technology so much. You only have one chance to be the first and to achieve this was awesome. TSS: Nowadays you are doing a lot of historic racing, and you are a regular competitor in Goodwood. Lord March is the host of these events: How did you get in touch with him? E: That is a good question…  Lord March did the “Mille Miglia” together with Roberto Ravaglia who is a very good friend of mine and I met him there. I this “Mille Miglia” with somebody else`s car and we got in touch there. We liked each other and he asked me if I would like to come to Goodwood for the Revival meeting – it was love on first sight and now we are really good friends and we speak often. TSS: You are still contracted to Audi? E: Yes, I am a brand ambassador but I can do historic racing also with cars of other manufacturers, like I do here with this Alfa Romeo 33. TSS: So you also drive the pre-war Auto Union cars for Audi from time to time? E: Yes, this is also a wonderful experience for me. But these cars should be driven at the places where Nuvolari and Varzi competed in the thirties, not on modern race tracks! TSS: Do you get special orders when you drive these valuable cars? E: Not really, just to be careful! As we only do demo-runs and not real races there is no big danger of an accident luckily. TSS: You also work as a race steward for Formula One. That’s a different job than driving cars. How do you get along with that? E: It is not easy, really not easy! You have a lot of responsibility and often it is not as straightforward as it should be. The FIA is working hard to get a good consistency in the decisions, we do seminars and reports to improve all the time. It would probably better to have one steward going to all the races, but not that much better.  Every incident is different, and you can never make everybody happy. But it is a rewarding job for me because I do something good for the sport and I like it! TSS: We learned now about your big passion for the history of the sport and for racing these old cars, but we also have to look into the future. So my next question would be: what is your opinion about Formula E? E: I think Formula E is a good experiment for motorsport, but I do not like people to see Formula E as the future of motorsport , because I don`t think electric cars are the future of motoring. If people would like to be kind to the environment, there are other ways to build road cars a lot better and cleaner as they are now. So, I like Formula E as long its one way of motor racing, but it`s not ok to make all the rest of motorsport look bad. Whatever type of motor racing you do, the impact on the environment is zero! TSS: Ok Emanuele, one last question: Choose a race car, and choose a circuit to drive on! E: Hahaha…, may be my Le Mans winning Audi R8 in Suzuka! TSS: Thank you very much again for your time and enjoy your weekend here in Hungary! E: Thank you also, it was my pleasure!
I AM REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT RACING - I LOVE THE  CARS AND THE AMBIANCE
I DO NOT LIKE PEOPLE SEE FORMULA E AS THE FUTURE OF MOTORSPORT
SENNA AND PROST? THE TWO WERE AT A LEVEL THAT WAS INCREDIBLE, PUSHING EACH OTHER SO MUCH! IT`S BEEN AN IMPORTANT TIME IN MY CAREER TO BE WITH THEM AND LEARN FROM THEM
Emanuele Pirro Talking to…
All Speed and cars pirro Le Mans` secret champ
All Speed and cars
He does not stand in the limelight as a the two most popular kings of this 24 hour battle do, but he holds a record, none of his rivals came close so far: between1999 and 2007, Emanuele finished on the podium nine times in a row - and on five of these occasions on the very top! Although long distance racing is more of a team sport than any other discipline in motorracing, this achievement says a lot about this most charming and humble man from Rome in Italy. I had the chance to talk to him during the „Hungaroring Classic“ weekend in september 2017, at the twisty circuit near Budapest in hungary where he drove, amongst others, a beautiful 3 liter Alfa Romeo Tipo 33. He still lives his dream and drives historic racing cars with the same passion as he did during his active career. Here is what he had to say: TSS: Emanuele, great to meet you here in Budapest and thank you for your time! E: Thank you, it` a pleasure for me! TSS: You started your career in the seventies – now it`s 2017 and you are still around in the paddocks  and driving racing cars… E: Yes, I am really passionate about racing, I love the cars and the ambiance. It already began in my childhood. TSS: How did it start? Was motor racing a subject in your family? E: I liked it when I was a kid, my father liked motorsport and then I started with karting at a very early age and I fell in love with it. I was born with a big passion, I liked motorbikes, cars and engines since I was a kid. TSS: After karting you came up the ranks with Formula Abarth first, then it was the logical way with F3, F2 and F3000. Who were your rivals back then? E:  Yes, in F3 there was Larrauri, Didier Theys, a lot of French guys like the Ferté brothers and Mauro Baldi. After that in F3000 there was Mike Thackwell, Roberto Moreno and Stefano Modena. TSS: You was one of the first drivers who made also a career in japan. E: Yes, my hope was to get into F1 but there was no possibility, so I switched to touring cars for one season with BMW in `87 and then I got the opportunity to go to Japan to do test drives for McLaren in `88 where I was working with A. Prost and A. Senna. So this was a chance to get one step closer to a regular F1 drive. TSS: As a young driver, is there a harder job as being in the same team as the worlds` best drivers? Were they role models for you or did you think: I could be as good as these guys? E: No, no, no, by no means: NO! First of all there was no other choice for me. It was a big opportunity to go back to single seater cars and to see how good I really was. I never saw them as rivals. My contract was, that I had the option to drive in GP`s if one of them would have been not able to do. But I never saw them as somebody to beat, I always saw them as somebody to learn from. I had no idea what this job could lead to. Then, a test driver job was not something that was very popular. Ron Dennis said to me, that it will be difficult for me to do races because we have the drivers already, but maybe this will open up the doors for another drive, which in the end was correct, as I could drive half a season for Benetton when Johnny Herbert was not fit enough. TSS: Could you make a statement which was the better one of these two? E: No, I think both of them helped each other to become even stronger. In those days, the two were at a level that was incredible, pushing each other so much! It`s been an important time of my career to be with them and learn from them. JK: You moved on to BMS Dallara for two seasons. E: Yes, the first year I was there with de Cesaris but the car was not competitive. The second year `91, the chassis was very good. My teammate was J.J. Lehto, but the budget was very small. We had Ferrari V12 engines but they were by far not the same as the works Ferraris, may be 100hp less than them. The car was really nice to drive and enjoyable. For me, it was even a better car than the McLaren! I could compare it because I still did the test driver job for them. If we would have had more budget which would also have bought more reliability, it could have been a successful year. But in the end, my F1 car was finished after that. TSS: You did touring cars full time after that. E: Yes, but I always did touring car races besides my Formula jobs. I started already in `85 with touring cars! My friends R. Ravaglia and Gerhard Berger did it and BMW asked me to help them out and it was a lot of fun for me, so I was always involved in touring cars with a lot of success as I was a national champion in Italy and Germany. TSS: Do you have any special memories of your team mates in touring cars? E: Yes, a lot of course. But the best memories are with Jockel Winkelhock at BMW. He was a nice guy and I liked him very much! We drove for Schnitzer together and in fact, my last race with BMW  was in the Asian-Pacific championship in Malaysia. We were all sorry, because we had a very good camaraderie within the drivers with Jo and Roberto. There was basically no competition , and the agreement was, that whoever got pole position, may win the race. Usually, I was on pole, but for this last race my car had a problem and it was Jo who ended up on pole. So, no problem for me, that he will get the win. But before the race, he and team manager Charlie Lamm came to me, and they said: “Listen Emanuele, because this is your last race for BMW, we will let you win the race!” The BMW bosses never knew about this agreement, it was just between us three! It was a big gesture and Jo is almost like a friend to me! After that, I left BMW because of some personal problems with people from the higher BMW management and Charlie Lamm from Schnitzer was the one, who told me to ask at Audi for a drive – you would be the perfect guy for them and they would be the perfect team for you! TSS: The time with Audi was such a successful time for you. E: Yes, I did touring cars for them from `94 to `98 and after that came the sports cars, it was a really wonderful time. I was able to win the 24h of Le Mans five times and I was on the podium nine times in a row, which is a record until today! TSS: Does any of these five wins stand above the others or are they all equally valuable? E: Of course all of them are special for me, but the feeling of the first win was wonderful. Also the first win with the Diesel car was special for me, because I love technology so much. You only have one chance to be the first and to achieve this was awesome. TSS: Nowadays you are doing a lot of historic racing, and you are a regular competitor in Goodwood. Lord March is the host of these events: How did you get in touch with him? E: That is a good question…  Lord March did the “Mille Miglia” together with Roberto Ravaglia who is a very good friend of mine and I met him there. I this “Mille Miglia” with somebody else`s car and we got in touch there. We liked each other and he asked me if I would like to come to Goodwood for the Revival meeting – it was love on first sight and now we are really good friends and we speak often. TSS: You are still contracted to Audi? E: Yes, I am a brand ambassador but I can do historic racing also with cars of other manufacturers, like I do here with this Alfa Romeo 33. TSS: So you also drive the pre-war Auto Union cars for Audi from time to time? E: Yes, this is also a wonderful experience for me. But these cars should be driven at the places where Nuvolari and Varzi competed in the thirties, not on modern race tracks! TSS: Do you get special orders when you drive these valuable cars? E: Not really, just to be careful! As we only do demo-runs and not real races there is no big danger of an accident luckily. TSS: You also work as a race steward for Formula One. That’s a different job than driving cars. How do you get along with that? E: It is not easy, really not easy! You have a lot of responsibility and often it is not as straightforward as it should be. The FIA is working hard to get a good consistency in the decisions, we do seminars and reports to improve all the time. It would probably better to have one steward going to all the races, but not that much better.  Every incident is different, and you can never make everybody happy. But it is a rewarding job for me because I do something good for the sport and I like it! TSS: We learned now about your big passion for the history of the sport and for racing these old cars, but we also have to look into the future. So my next question would be: what is your opinion about Formula E? E: I think Formula E is a good experiment for motorsport, but I do not like people to see Formula E as the future of motorsport , because I don`t think electric cars are the future of motoring. If people would like to be kind to the environment, there are other ways to build road cars a lot better and cleaner as they are now. So, I like Formula E as long its one way of motor racing, but it`s not ok to make all the rest of motorsport look bad. Whatever type of motor racing you do, the impact on the environment is zero! TSS: Ok Emanuele, one last question: Choose a race car, and choose a circuit to drive on! E: Hahaha…, may be my Le Mans winning Audi R8 in Suzuka! TSS: Thank you very much again for your time and enjoy your weekend here in Hungary! E: Thank you also, it was my pleasure!
I AM REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT RACING - I LOVE THE  CARS AND THE AMBIANCE
SENNA AND PROST? THE TWO WERE AT A LEVEL THAT WAS INCREDIBLE, PUSHING EACH OTHER SO MUCH! IT`S BEEN AN IMPORTANT TIME IN MY CAREER TO BE WITH THEM AND LEARN FROM THEM
Emanuele Pirro Talking to… pirro Le Mans` secret champ I DO NOT LIKE PEOPLE SEE FORMULA E AS THE FUTURE OF MOTORSPORT