How did your passion for motors come about?
I definitely got it from my father. In the 1980s, he participated in the Dakar Rally, when it was still a genuine adventure, with a truck to bring visibility to the work tools that the family company manufactured. And then, there are the racers of the olden days like James Hunt and Niki Lauda: true champions, practically rock stars, who struck my imagination.
You have a small car collection…
Yes, I love to collect them. I buy them for a steal, fix them up, have fun, and then re-sell them. Sometimes, I take part in auctions to see amazing cars that are hard to find, just to look at them close-up. Mine are fun: I personally take care of them, as if they were little jewels. The one I am most proud of is my Martini Edition Delta Integrale: a car that, in my opinion, made history.
What is your personal style like when not racing?
It’s not my natural habitat… I live it by reflex because I sometimes accompany my wife (Margherita Maccapani Missoni) to events and fashion shows. But I observe it from a distance. I don’t like excess and extravagance, the obligation to have an opinion about everything, and that certain know-it-all attitude.
Are you attached to your origins?
Very much. I was born in Canada, but I have always lived in Varese. I love this place and I love the idea of knowing who I am and where I come from. I travel the world, both for work and to compete, but in the end, I love to go back to where I really feel at home. As if that weren’t enough, I married the sister of one of my best childhood friends. And at the moment, I live in the house where I used to come and play as a child.
You are a slow-food enthusiast…
Yes and I am an enthusiast of food in general. I get by pretty well in the kitchen; when friends come to dinner, I’m the one that cooks. I like to prepare traditional Italian dishes, the ones I used to see my mother make. I consider myself a carb fanatic – I go heavy on the pasta dishes, but also do a lot of roasts.
In fact, the project you are about to launch is linked to food…
Yes – with a friend, I just created a brand for a street food chain that will make its debut in London. It’s called Giallo. Our “restaurants” are Ape-Cars (small three-wheeled vehicles, yellow, obviously) in 1950s style, situated in strategic areas of the city. The menu revolves around polenta, a typical Italian dish that lends itself well to the street food concept. It will be served “on tap” and flavored with various toppings, just like frozen yogurt: there will be meatballs, vegetables, fish… all prepared with ingredients of the highest quality. The rotating menu was conceived by a good friend of mine who is also a chef.
Cars, street food… the street is a recurring theme.
Yes. It seems like my destiny. I worked in the real estate market for several years. I left it almost a year ago to dedicate myself to a project that is all mine. And in my opinion, the street is the place where people spend most of their time, where they live the most.