2/10/1940 - 12/10/2019
Record updated 16-Oct-19
Giovanni Giuseppe Gilberto Galli, nicknamed Nanni, is an accomplished Italian former saloon and sports-car racer of the 1960s and 1970s.
Giovanni Galli, known as Nanni Galli, to confuse his family, which disapproved of his racing career The son of a wealthy textile manufacturer in Florence, he was born in Prato at the height of WWII. He started racing in karts at the comparatively late age of 24. He switched to touring cars in 1964 competing in road races with a Steyr-Puech and then in 1965 with a Mini Cooper S which he entered into the Italian Touring Car Championship. He proceeded to take ten class wins in ten starts.
In 1966 he was recruited by the Alfa Romeo factory and raced a GTA. His successes with Alfa Romeo included winning the Circuit of Mugello race, a second place on the Targa Florio in 1968 with Ignazio Giunti and fourth in the Le Mans 24 Hours with the T33/2.
He began racing single seaters in 1967 in Formula 2 with a privately-entered Brabham BT23 but he did not compete seriously until 1969 when he joined the Tecno Formula 2 team alongside Francois Cevert. He beat the Frenchman on several occasions and finished seventh in the European Championship. That same year he also did a few sportscar races for Matra.
In 1970 he made a brief foray into F1, debuting in the 1970 Italian Grand Prix in a McLaren-Alfa.
In 1971 he went back to Alfa Romeo and finished second in the Sebring 12 Hours before returning to Grand Prix racing via a somewhat erratic Alfa Romeo engine supply deal with March. For 1972, he became involved in the well-funded but unsuccessful Tecno F1 project, his best result being a third place in the poorly supported GP of the Italian Republic at Vallelunga.
In 1972 he drove the flat-12 Tecno as well as being a member of the Ferrari sportscar squad. When Galli was drafted in to replace the indisposed Clay Regazzoni at the Austrian GP. He got one opportunity to make his mark and failed to do so. He qualified poorly in 21st and in the race could not manage more than a lowly 13th.
For 1973, 'Nanni' joined Frank Williams to race his new Iso-Marlboro car, but after a handful of disappointing outings, he quit the team and announced his retirement, although he was to return briefly in 1974 at the wheel of a works Abarth sports car.
His "Fruit of the Loom" clothing brand was briefly a Williams team sponsor in 1978, well after Galli's retirement. Though retired from racing, he played an important role in convincing the Benetton Family to invest in Formula 1.
After some time away he returned to the tracks racing an Arbath in historic events.
Sadly he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in October 2019 at the age f 79.