Brazilian racing driver who specialised in the MecÃ¢nica Nacional series.
Waldemar Santilli was born in São Paulo, in the Lapa Quarter, the son of Antonio Santilli who owned a garage. Waldemar went to work for his father at an early age and got a taste for mechanics.
Later he went to work in other garages before, on the 7th of June of 1951, going into businesss with his brothers, Alfonso and Nelson, and four uncles in their own workshop, the Retífica Eclipse. The business was very successful and even Fangio visited them in 1957.
His uncle Alfredo had raced since 1940 and in 1956 Waldemar went with him to watch him race his Pontiac Hidramático. He loved it and the next weekend he entered a race himself and though the gearbox broke, he was bitten by the racing bug.
He was 30 years of age, married with 2 children, with another one on the way. He mixed his racing with his work at the Retífica Eclipse but he always kept his racing strictly for the pleasure. His father built his first Eclipse Special for the Mecânica Nacional and in the long distance carreteras races, he drove with his brother Nelson or his uncle Alfredo.
Nelson was born in 1928, and was one of the founding partners of the Retífica Eclipse. He only raced three times, all with Waldemar. He died in 1987 at just 59 years of age.
Waldemar chose to race in the Mecânica Nacional Força Livre at it was the category as he said that it was still affordable.
In 1961 it was invited by Arnaldo Pacini to race the IV 500 Kilometers of Interlagos. Pacini had entered two cars: the ex-Fangio Maserati Sport and a Maserti/Corvette Mecânica Nacional, that was aquirefd from Luiz Américo Margarido.
Waldemar wanted to enter the Mecânica Nacional, but the car was already assigned to Robert Gallucci, so he drove the ex-Fangio Maserati. He found the car hard to handle and spun off. He deceided at 35 years of age that it was time to quit.
Waldemar died on the 26th of August of 1984 at 58 years of age. His children still work in the Retífica Eclipse, in the Lapa quarter of São Paulo.
With thanks to Paulo Roberto Peralta