This Italian racer is a former class podium finisher at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a former race winner in the International GT Open, and took the Italian GT Championship in 2005 with Miguel Ramos. He’s also been at the forefront of nine outright wins in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook for Scuderia Praha since 2014, and it turns out Matteo Malucelli has unfinished business at Daytona too after THAT accident.
Age? You can lie about that if you want…
Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?
“My first race in a car was, I think, Formula Renault in 2002.
What is the best moment of your racing career so far?
“I think victory at the Spa 24 Hours in 2007*.”
*Matteo collected the GT2 class win aboard the BMS Scuderia Italia Porsche 997 GT3-RSR alongside Emmanuel Collard and Marc Lieb. Both of whom, interesttingly,would secure World Endurance Championships in 2016, Lieb securing the outright WEC crown and the Le Mans win.
Which is your favourite circuit and why?
“I also think, again, Spa-Francorchamps. I like the place, the track and the atmosphere a lot.”
Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …
“Difficult to say because everything is strange in motor racing! But at the start of Le Mans one year – I think it was 2008 – I lost a wheel going to the grid! So we started from the pit lane because I had to complete the lap with three wheels. But in the end, we still managed to finish 2nd.”
Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…
“It doesn’t really signify anything in particular. It’s grey, red and green, and it’s been pretty much the same since I was 10 years old. Over the years, a few things have changed, but it’s still more or less the same design. Nothing crazy.”
What is your greatest strength?
“I don’t know! Maybe a quality to adapt my driving style to pretty much any car.”
If Hollywood made a movie about you, who would play you and why?
“Maybe Vin Diesel because he also drives a lot of fast cars! But honestly, I don’t really watch a lot of movies, so I’m not sure.”
What would you like to achieve before retiring?
“I would like to finish the 24 Hours of Daytona, because I had a big crash a few years ago. I would love to go back so I could finish the race.*”
*In 2014, and while touring back to the pits in Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 458 Italia, Matteo was nailed at sickening high speed by Memo Gidley in the GAINSCO Chevrolet Corvette DP prototype. Matteo was discharged from hospital that night, but Gidley underwent eight operations after sustaining leg, arm and back injuries.
Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…
“I really like motorbikes, and I have a few. I wish I could ride them as well as I can drive a car!”
Finally, what do you enjoy most about competing in the 24H SERIES?
“There’s a lot to enjoy. I like the tracks we go to, the races, and working with the team. Sometimes I complain about the BOP but that’s normal in GT racing!”