One of Italy's top sports car drivers in the 1960s and 1970s, Pietro Lo Piccolo rarely raced outside his native country. Italian 2 Litre Sports Car Champion in 1970, he made eight starts in the Targa Florio, taking a class win in 1969 and a class second in 1970.
Racing driver, president of the Unione provinciale Panificatori and trade union leader of the Confcommercio in Palermo, in the sixties and seventies, Pietro Lo Piccolo was one of the most famous people in the city of Palermo, Italy.
His father started a bakery in 1910 in Palermo, the Corsican Calatafimi, and, in the 1950s, Pietro and his brother Francis took over the business. In the 1990s he became involved in the fight to lower the cost of bread and unsuprisingly in 1997 the business was the victim of an arson attack. In 2005 he was appointed member of the Confidi Fideo Confcommercio and, in 2007, Vice-President of Fenacom. Despite all this, Lo Piccolo was best known for his passion for racing and the success of his business gave him the means to indulge this passion.
He started competing on motorcycles while he was still quite young and, having shown his talent on two wheels, he bought a kart and showed he was equally suited to four wheels.
In 1964 he entered the Trapani-Mount Erice hill climb. That year they allowed Karts, the only time this happened. Pietro also decided to enter his road going Fiat 1500 complete with roof rack for transporting his kart!
It marked the start of his racing career and in 1965 he bought an Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ. Almost immediately he started beating more experienced drivers. He entered the Targa Florio for the first time but racing against far quicker cars he finished 29th just behing the Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ driven by 'the Tortoise' and 'Ben Hur'!
For 1966 Lo Piccolo upgraded to an Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ 1600, and was with this car he firmly established himself as one of the best sports car drivers in Italy. Again he entered the Targa Florio driving with Salvatore Sutera. This time, though he comfortable beat 'the Tortoise' and 'Ben Hur' (43rd), he finished 28th overall.
He failed to finish in 1967, then, in 1968 he bought a 1966 Ferrari Dino 206S (022) from Clemente Ravetto. Though he continued to drive the Giulia TZ in the Targa Florio. He finished 4th in class in 1968 and took a class win in 1969. He raced the Ferrari Dino 206S for three seasons winning many Italian 2 Litre Sports Prototype races, culminating in winning the Italian Championship in 1970. That was the first year he drove the Ferrari in the Targa Florio finishing 11th overall and second in class. During this time the car was updated and in 1971 after persuading Enzo Ferrari to sell him a 212 E Montagna body, this was also fitted.
After winning the national title, Lo Piccolo began to cut back on his racing and his last entry into the Targa Florio came in 1973 at the wheel of an AMS 273 Alfa Romeo. Unfortunately the car retired before he got to drive.
In 1972 he raced in the 1000Km race at Monza. This was the last appearance of a 2.0 Ferrari Dino 206S in a round at the Manufacturer's World Championship. However Lo Piccolo ended up in hospital after a collision with Herbie Müller's De Tomaso Pantera.
He returned to racing in the late 1970s driving a Group 1 Opel Kadett GT in hillclimbs and rallies. He also raced a Golf in the ETCC in 1982.
Pietro Lo Piccolo was also a pilot and competed in air races including the Tour of Sicily. He could be seen cycling around Palermo as he could not be bothered with the traffic.
He eventually sold the bakery and retired though he was always happy to talk to people about racing and flying. His daughter is a well known researcher and doctor specialising in pediatric oncology in Los Angeles, USA.