6/3/1933 - 4/2/2003
Record updated 06-Mar-23
Hector Luis Gradassi was one of the great stars of Argentine Motorsport in the 1960s and 1970s, never the less he never achieved the fame that perhaps he should. He won the Turismo Carretera Championship in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976 in addition he was runner-up in 1967, 1973, 1977 and 1978.
Gradassi had his debut in motorcycle races, riding in 100 cc and 125 cc classes. He won the National title in 1960, 1961 and 1962 before switching to cars in 1964.
In january of 1964 he co-drove a DKW with Manolo Calviño in a race held at the Pan de Azúcar circuit, near Villa Carlos Paz, Córdoba. Unfortunately Calviño crashed and was killed. Gradassi sustained arm injuries in the accident but made a full recover. In the following months he took the wheel of a Renault 1093 and later an Auto Union 1000, competing in Turismo Mejorado races.
In 1967 he made his debut in Turismo Carretera, winning his very first race in San Pedro. That year he also raced in the Mecánica Nacional Fórmula Uno, the Argentine F1 championship finishing 7th overall in the title driving a Maserati with a AMC Tornado V8, winning the 500 Millas de Rafaela.
He won the Turismo Carretera Championship in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976 always driving a Ford Falcon. Hector would always make claim to a fifth title in 1979 as that year he was leading the series when the organizers decided to extend the championship into part of 1980. Francisco Espinosa in a Chevrolet eventually was declared the winner of the double-year championship. In 1967, 1973, 1977 and 1978, Hector finished runner-up
He also drove sports cars and in 1972 he drove a Lola T212 Ford with Emilio Bertolini in the Buenos Aires 1000 Kilometres finishing 14th overall.
In his 15 year career, he participated in 244 races, winning 49 times.
Later on after he quit driving, he suffered from hemiplegia, a condition where there is paralysis in down one side of the body. This affected his left side but still did not lessen his enthusiasm for the sport.
"Pirín" Gradassi died of cancer at Córdoba hospital, on Tuesday, 04 February 2003, at the age of 69.