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It’s been almost 20 years since Andrea Montermini’s single seater career drew to a close at Surfer’s Paradise in the North American CART series. A career that included pole position in his debut Formula 3000 race in 1990, a runners-up spot in the championship two years later, and 29 Grand Prix participations, the first in Spain, 1994, in the Simtek S941-Ford recently driven by the late Roland Ratzenberger. In later years, Montermini’s new endurance racing GT career included a race win in the FIA GT Championship (2006), and even a couple of title in the International GT Open. January 1991 at Fiorano though will forever remain a career highlight…

“I’m Andrea Montermini, nice to meet you.”
Age? You can lie about that if you want…
“Small lie or big lie?! No, I’m 54.”
Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?
“My first race ever was at Monza in 1987 with the Formula Boxer series, which is the equal of Formula 4 today.”
What is the best moment of your racing career so far?

“24 January 1991 when I had the opportunity to drive a Ferrari Formula 1 car [the 642] for the first time at Fiorano. That’s also my home town, and I was born 5km from there, so I’m never going to forget it.”
Which is your favourite circuit and why?
“I love Monza. Beautiful! It’s my second home. It’s maybe not my absolute favourite because I have four or five circuits that I love, which are Monza, Monte Carlo, Suzuka in Japan, Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone. Oh, and Bathurst in Australia.
“If I had to pick one? Monte Carlo. Not just because of the glamour, but because it’s so exciting to drive there. It’s a quick circuit despite the average speed – there are some really slow corners by the casino – and it’s really challenging, whether you’re in Formula 3 or Formula 1 car, or a GT.”
Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …

“I was leading my first race in Formula 3000, and that was my first time racing in England. It was at Donington [in 1990], and after a pit stop, after three or four turns, I lost my rear left tyre. The car turned over, three or four times. That was quite strange!”
Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…
“I started racing very late – I was nearly 24 when I first started – but I had been a fan of motorsport for a long time, even as a kid. So I started to choose, with a couple of my friends, the finished design of the helmet I would use one day. At the time, I was not even racing, but it was my dream. So when I started to do some racing, my helmet was already designed!”
What is your greatest strength?
“I really never give up, which can also be called stubbornness!”
If Hollywood made a movie about you, who would play you and why?
“A lot of people might say that Sean Penn, at some angles, we have some things in common!”
What would you like to achieve before retiring?
“I really enjoy driving, even today, and I’d like to come back racing at a circuit like Le Mans or Daytona. Obviously not Formula 1 because at my age, you can’t drive there anymore! But maybe, sometime, I’d love to drive one of my old Formula 1 cars again.”
Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…
“Not every fan knows about the work that went into Ferrari, particularly the 13,000km of testing. At that time, more than 20 years ago, many people might not remember this, but this is something I would like fans to remember.”
Finally, what do you enjoy most about competing in the 24H SERIES?
“It’s nice. It’s very challenging, first of all, because while you’re running there are lots of cars and people that are slower than you, so you really have to pay attention. You also have to be quick, even in a lot of traffic, for 12 hours or 24 hours. You can’t slow down at all. Sometimes that can be scary, but it can be very exciting. I really enjoy that.”