Scarfiotti, known for his impeccable manners and known to his friends as Lulù, was a son of a wealthy family of cement manufacturers in the Marche region. He was the nephew of Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli and started racing at the wheel of a Fiat Topolino before switching to a Gino De Sanctis tuned Fiat 1100cc saloon. With it he won his class in the 1956 Mille Miglia. He took another class win in 1957 and the Italian Hillclimb championship in a 2-litre Fiat 8V Zagato.
In 1958 he finished second in the non championship Naples Grand Prix driving an OSCA and once again took the Italian Hillclimb championship.
Driving a works Osca 1500 Sport he took the Italian Hillclimb title yet again in 1959.
In 1960 he first drove for Ferrari, sharing a 2.4-litre Dino with Froilan Gonzalez in the Buenos Aires 1000 Kms. They retired while lying fourth overall with ignition problems. He then finishing fourth in the Targa Florio with Giulio Cabianca and Willy Mairesse. He also drove the Dino 246S with Richie Ginther in the Nürburgring 1000 Kms and a 250 Testarossa with Pedro Rodríguez at Le Mans.
In 1961 he was back in a works Osca taking a single win at Vallelunga in an Osca S2000. He also shared a Maserati T63 Birdcage with Nino Vaccarella for Count Volpi di Misurata's Scuderia Serenissima.
Hillclimbing was very popular at that time, especially in Europe, with works participation from Ferrari and Porsche and in 1962 Scarfiotti, driving a work-supported Scuderia Sant'Ambroeus 2-litre Dino, won the European Mountain Championship.
He retired at Le Mans in a works Ferrari Dino shared with Giancarlo Baghetti and was third in the 1000 Kms of Paris at Montlhery with Colin Davis in a Scuderia Serenissima Ferrari 250GT SWB. He also won the Circuit of Lake Garda in a Fiat-Abarth 1000.
In 1963 he won the Sebring 12 hour race with Surtees and Le Mans with Lorenzo Bandini driving a Ferrari 250P. He also made his Formula 1 debut two weeks later standing in for the injured Willy Mairesse at the Dutch Grand Prix, finishing sixth. The following week he crashed in practice for the French Grand Prix at Rheims, hitting two telegraph poles and braking a leg. While recouperating in hospital he announced his retirement from F1.
However Scarfiotti was back with Scuderia Ferrari in 1964 with the sports car team. He was second at Sebring and won the Nürburgring 1000 Kms with Nino Vaccarella in a works Ferrari 275P. He also finished second at Mosport in the 330P and was third in the 12 Hours of Reims in a private Maranello Concessionaires 250 GTO with Mike Parkes. He was also back in F1 at Monza driving for Ferrari and finishing ninth after a spin. At the end of the season he finished 10th overall in the 1000 Kms of Paris, at Montlhery, driving a Maranello Concessionaires 250LM with a young Jackie Stewart.
He took his second European Hillclimb Championship in 1965 driving the lovely Ferrari Dino 206P and took another win in the Nürburgring 1000 Kms with John Surtees in a 330P2. He teamed up with Surtees again for the Monza 1000 Kms, finishing second. He also drove a Scuderia Centro-Sud BRM's to fifth in the non-championship Gran Premio Siracusa and had two F2 drives, one at Vallelunga in a De Sanctis-Ford finishing 6th and the other at Albi retiring in a Cooper T75-BRM belongong to Ken Tyrrell.
Then when Surtees quit midway through 1966, he was given the drive alongside Mike Parks and Lorenzo Bandini. He scored a popular victory at Monza, crossing the line in his Ferrari 312 six seconds clear of Mike Parks who in turn was just 0.3 seconds ahead of Denny Hulme in his Brabham-Repco BT20. However despite the win, Scarfiotti continued to be retained only on an occasional basis.
In 1967 he made three F1 appearances, 2 for Ferrari, scoring a single point for a 6th in the Dutch Grand Prix, and, after a dispute with the management of the Scuderia, 1 for Anglo American in Dan Gurney's Eagle-Weslake. In sports cars he finished second at Daytona in a Ferrari 330P4 with Parkes. He also finished second in the Monza 1000km and at Le Mans. He finished in a dead heat with Parkes to win the Syracuse GP but when Parkes was badly injured at Spa-Francorchamps, Scarfiotti, already depressed by Bandini's death at Monaco a month earlier, virtually retired.
However his love of racing brought him back in 1968 with Cooper-BRM in F1 and Porsche in the European Mountain Championship.
Cooper had offered him a drive for the opening round of the F1 season at Kyalami in January however he crashed badly but then signed a contract as their number one driver.
He began the 1968 sports car season with a retirement at Sebring with Joe Buzzetta in a 2.2-litre 907 shared. He was second in the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch with Gerhard Mitter and drove a new 3-litre 908LH at Monza. He was leading the Targa Florio before the retirement.
The hillclimb season started in Spain at Montseny with Scarfiotti finishing second behind Mitter.
In F1 he was fourth at Jarama and again at Monaco and was in fourth position in F1 World Championship as the Mountain Championship moved to Roßfeldhöhenringstraße (Rossfeld), virtually in the shadow of Hitler's "Eagles Nest" at Berchtesgarten Rossfeld in Germany, for the second round. Lucien Bianchi had stepped in to deputise for him at the wheel of the Cooper-BRM for the F1 round at Spa.
Scarfiotti was driving one of the 2 liter 8 cylinder lightweight Porsche 910 Bergspyders. During Saturday's second practice run, Scarfiotti was approaching a fast right bend when he inexplicably ran straight on, crashing into a ravine. The car and ended up against some trees. Scarfiotti's body was found some 50 meters away.
The car was still in fifth gear and there were skid marks for nearly 60 meters showing that he had been breaking very hard before the corner. Moments earlier Rolf Stommelen in a similar Porsche Bergspyder, survived a horrific accident when
The fatal accident was blamed on a stuck throttle. Moments earlier, Rolf Stommelen survived another accident in a similar Porsche Bergspyder, escaping with just a broken arm.
There are stories that Stommelen deliberately drove off the road to avoid another injured competitor who had crashed shortly before and was lying in the road but this was not the case.