19/10/1942 - 21/5/2016
Polo playing racing driving playboy who nearly made it to the ranks of Formula 1 but for a tragic racing accident that left him confined to a wheelchair in his last race before taking up the position. Andrea Vianini died 6 years ago, he was 74 , He would have been 80.
Andrea Vianini was born in Milan but emigrated to Argentina with his family when he was young.
His father, Giuseppe, was an importer for Moto Guzzi so it was no suprise when he made his racing debut on two wheels at the age of 18.
However is was not long before he switched to four wheels and took up motor racing. Cars where not his only passion though as Polo was also important to him, and his family, as his mother, Dolores Blaquier, wasa pioneer of women’s polo in the 70s. Andrea’s father had also raced so the combining of both sports came very naturally.
He raced in the local Mecánica Nacional Fórmula 1 series and Turismo Carretera as well as some international races in Formula 2, Formula 3 and the World Sportscar Championship.
In 1964 driving with his longtime friend, Nasif Estéfano, he raced a Porsche 904GTS. In the 12 Hours of Reims they won the GT2.0 class and finished 4th overall. They also raced in the 1000 km of the Nürburgring finishing 10th. He then teamed up with Bruno Deserti and raced the Porsche 904 in the Targa Florio but retired on the third lap. He also raced in the Targa Florio the following year with Baron Antonio Pucci but a crash in practice meant they failed to start.
In 1964 he also raced an Alfa Romeo Giulia TI in the European Touring Car Championship, finishing third of class, 15th place overall in the Großer Preis der Tourenwagen, Nürburgring 6 Hour race, once again with Estéfano.
For 1966 he raced a Brabham BT21 in the inaugural season of Temporada Argentina Formula 3, finishing 9th at the Circuito Golf, Mar del Plata. Later that year he entered the Turismo Carretera series driving for the works Ika-Renault team alongside Eduardo Copello, Jorge Ternengo and Héctor Luís Gradassi. He became a leading driver in the championship driving the destinctive yellow 'La Garrafa', a Chevrolet powered Bergantín chassis tuned by Aldo and Reynaldo Bellavigna, taking his first win the following year in the the Turismo Carretera at the Autodromo de Buenos Aires.
In 1968 Vianini he drove in the local Temporada Internacional de Fórmula 2. Up against International stars including Clay Regazzoni, Andrea de Adamich, Pedro Rodríguez, Tino Brambilla, Jo Siffert, Jochen Rindt, Carlo Facetti, Jackie Oliver and Piers Courage, Vianini was the best of the Argentineans driving a Tecno PA68 Cosworth entered by Oreste Berta.
In 1970 he was due to drive with Johnny Servoz-Gavin in the 1000 Km of Buenos Aires for Equipe Matra-Simca, but the Matra-Simca MS630/650 failed to start the race. A week later he drove a Martini -entered Porsche 908/02 in the subsequent 200 Miles Temporada on the same track, finishing 9th with Gerhard Koch. Then he spent the rest of the season driving the Baufer Chevrolet in the Argentine Sport Prototipo Championship.
At that time the Automobile Club of Argentina were looking to set up a Formula 1 team and planned to sign Vianini and Carlos Reutemann as their drivers. Tragically Vianini decided to have one more race in the Sport Prototipo category. Sadly it was to become his last race. On 04 October 1970 at the Autódromo de Las Flores in Buenos Aires, while chasing the leader, Carlos Ruesch, he and Gastón Perkins’ car collided on a fast bend. His car somersaulted over the barrier at an estimate speed of 260 km/h (162 mph). In the ensuing crash he suffered life changing multiple injuries leaving him aquadriplegic confined to a wheelchair.
For a while he lived with English model, racing driver and polo player, Jodie Kidd, with whom he had a son.
He passed away on May 21, 2016 in his native Italy at the age of 75.