jennifer papa

Alessandro Baccani

jennifer papa
Alessandro Baccani

We met up with racing driver Alessandro Baccani, his mind set on the European Le Mans Series in the new Porsche GT3 R, to talk about his speedy career…behind the wheel. 

Words by Jennifer Papa - Photo by Dario Garofalo

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What drew you to racing when you were younger?

I’ve been passionate about cars and speed since I was a child. I used to race on everything—bikes, motorbikes, cars, skis. Then I started channeling that energy and passion toward competitions.

Can you describe what racing means to you? 

A race is a place where you’re obliged to remove your mask. In a serious competition, you can’t cheat—you have to face your fears. You zoom in on the other competitors, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and understand your own capacities and limitations. Many drivers who tend to choose easy championships where they know they’ll win are afraid of facing their own fears.  

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What do you love most about this sport?

Feeling as one with your car. It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it usually means you’re leading the race.

You must be a very competitive person, so how do you bounce back from a bad race?

I don't like to hide behind excuses. I’m rather severe with myself and self-critical, so I analyze my performance and try to learn from my mistakes.

Finish the sentence: “To be a successful racer you need to …”

Believe in yourself. And you need to trust the fact that where there’s a will, there’s a way, at least within certain limits.

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Is there an age limit on racers?

Gabriele Tarquini won the Mondiale Turismo in 2018 when he was fifty-six years old! But that’s an exception. Usually you stop racing when you’re around 40 to 45—I’m still holding on!

What’s more important in this sport, a strong body or a strong mind?

Both. In endurance races, for example, a strong body is fundamental, but in the end, it’s the mind that commands everything.

Who’s your favorite racer these days?

I love Kimi Raikkonen: he’s brilliant. He’s an old-style kind of driver.

Racing can be dangerous—are you ever afraid of the risks?

Never. But I’m fifty years old, and if I were to be in an accident, I’d see that as a sign to stop.

What’s been the greatest moment and the most painful moment in your career?

The most beautiful moment was my first competition. I think my last competition will be the least happy moment of my career.

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