An Italian nobleman, Starrabba was a regular in the Targa Florio for many years. He raced an F1 Lotus Maserati in the Italian Grand prix in 1961, his only World Championship appearance.
Prince Gaetano Starrabba di Giardinelli, from in Palermo in Sicily, started racing in 1955, making his first of many appearances in the Targa Florio, sharing a Maserati A6GCS with Salvatore La Pira, finishing 10th.
In March 1956, he took delivery of a Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa Spyder Scaglietti. With it he took 2nd at Casserta in Naples, and finished third at both the Giro di Sicilia and at Sassari. He also raced in the Sardegra International Trophy, the Bari, Pescara and Roma GPs, plus races at Calabria and Messina. He also shared the car with Giorgio Meyer at the Grand Prix Supercortemaggiore, coming 7th overall.
After a year away he returned in 1958 with another Ferrari 500 TR. He shared the car with Franco Cortese in the Targa Florio, finishing 7th. He raced the car locally that year and in 1959 teamed up with Domenico Lo Coco for the Targa Florio but the pair retired early in the race.
In 1960 he joined the Scuderia Serenissima team for the Targa Florio to drive an OSCA MT4 with Giovanni Giordano. Once again he retired. However he did finish 2nd at Caserta in a Porsche.
For the 1961 Targa Florio he partnered Gaspare Cavaliere in the Segesta Porsche 718 but failed to even make the start.
Starrabba tried out the single seaters in 1961 and he purchased a Lotus 18 with a 1.5 litre four-cylinder Maserati engine. He raced in a number of non-championship races before entering the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Starrabba qualified 30th out of the 32 entries some 21.6 seconds slower than Wolfgang von Trips on pole.
Von Trips on the verge of sealing the World Championship, but after a slow start he came under pressure from a young Jim Clark in a Lotus. Clark went to pass just as Von Trips moved across to block. The cars touched and the Ferrari was launched into the air. Von Trips was flung out of the car and perished along with 14 spectators. Starrabba had moved up to 15th, partly due to attrition, but his race ended on lap 19 when his engine blew.
Starrabba continued to race his Lotus Maserati and in 1963 he took a 6th at Syracuse and 5th in the Rome Grand Prix.
He continued to compete in the Targa Florio, driving a Ferrari 250 GT SWB in 1962 Targa Florio with Alberico Cacciari and an Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ in 1963.
In 1964 he tried Formula 3 with a Giannini-Brabham F3 but without success.
1965 saw him return to sports cars joining the Pegaso team to drive a Ferrari 250 GTO. Driving with Clemente Ravetto, he finished that year's Targa Florio in 12th overall but first in class. He stayed with Pegaso for the race in 1966 driving their 250 LM with Ravetto to 16th and 2nd in class.
Starrabba teamed up with Ravetto again in 1967 to race a Ferrari Dino 206S. They failed to show for the Targa Florio, and retired from the Monza 1000km race with engine problems.
1968 saw Starrabba driving a Scuderia Brescia Corse Porsche Carrera 906 with Everardo Ostini. He made two entries for the Targa Florio, one in Ostini's 906, the other in Corrado Ferlaino's Porsche 911S. The 906 retired, but the 911S came 16th and 3rd in class.
Starrabba due to drive Ostini's 911T in the Targa Florio in 1969, but Ostini teamed up with Gianpiero Moretti and Starrabba decided to retire from racing.