A former consultant engineer, Lavaggi began competing in local rallies, but then got his kicks skiing and hang-gliding until a broken leg ended this dangerous pastime. Returning to the track, Giovanni quickly found a niche, successfully handling a Kremer Porsche 962 sports car in 1989. But with Formula 1 his long-term aim, he cut down on his business commitments to spend a preparatory year in F3000. His 1992 season with Crypton was disappointing to say the least, with the Italian failing to qualify for eight of ten races. Undaunted by the collapse of the March F1 team, for whom he had hoped to drive, the personable and friendly Lavaggi had a brief tilt at Indy Car racing in 1994 before he raised enough finance to buy his four-race stint at Pacific in 1995. Giovanni was briefly back on the Grand Prix stage the following season with cash-strapped Minardi, where, to his credit, he was not that far off the pace of team-mate Pedro Lamy. Lavaggi had found his true level in sports car racing, his victory in the 1995 Daytona 24-hour race, in which he shared a Kremer Porsche, being the undoubted highlight of his career. But in recent years he was been enthusiastic owner driver in the World Sportscar Championship with his Ferrari when his flourishing insurance business allows.