Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Francesca Linossi

Francesca with her Ford Mustang

Francesca Linossi is a versatile Italian racer, active since the age of 16. She is from Brescia.

Her senior career began in 2007. Following several years of karting, she drove in four rounds of the Citroen C1 Cup, the youngest competitor to do so in Italian saloon racing history.

Unsatisfied with the little C1, she moved up to the Italian Touring Car Endurance Championship, in a BMW 120d, the following year. She was driving for Team Millennium with Stefania Grassetto. This earned her a third place in the diesel class. She also raced in the Porsche Cayman Cup, and was the youngest driver in Italian history to drive a 2000cc+ car.

By then, she was gravitating towards GT racing, and she raced in the Coppa Shell Ferrari Challenge in 2009. She was a solid eighth in the championship.

Ever-keen to advance, she drove another  Ferrari 430 in the Italian GT Cup in 2010, and scored her first podium places, a third and a second at Vallelunga. She also managed a fifth at Misano. The rest of her season was rather up and down, with several DNFs, and she was 21st overall. This year, she drove some races against her father, Luciano Linossi, who was racing a Lamborghini. They also teamed up for one round, at Mugello, but did not finish.

In 2011, she retained some involvement with the GT Cup, driving the Ferrari in the GT2 class this time, but she only did two races. These both resulted in class wins, and she was fifth in the championship. This was largely down to her third place overall at Mugello. Her co-driver was her father, Luciano.

However, apart from some guest runs in the Lamborghini Pro-Am Trophy, which did not result in many points, her focus this year was touring cars, once more. She raced in the Superstars championship in a BMW M3, which proved rather difficult, and her best finishes were a pair of elevenths, at Algarve and Misano. She was unplaced in both the International and the Italian championships.

Not surprisingly, she did not return in 2012, instead competing in a familiar Ferrari F430 run by Black Team. She was racing in the International GT Sprint Series, in which she was seventh, after nine races. Her best result was fourth, at her favoured circuit of Mugello.

In addition to this, she did a part-season in the MINI Rushour series, and was tenth.

Having found a tin-top she liked, she ran in all twelve Italian Mini Challenge races in 2013. It was a good career move, which saw her recording her first win, at Red Bull Ring, and four further top-three finishes, at Mugello, Franciacorta, Imola and Monza. She was fourth in the final standings.

In 2014, she raced in the NASCAR Whelen Euroseries, in a Chevrolet stock car. Her best finish was eighth, at the Nürburgring, and she was 20th overall. This was mainly down to a shaky start to the season; she had to miss one of the early races at Valencia, after a DNF, and then did not finish round three at Brands Hatch, either. She picked up speed shortly after.

Later in the year, she made an appearance in the EuroV8 Series in Germany, driving a BMW M3. She was substituting for Maurizio Copetti, and was tenth at the Sachsenring.

Most of 2015 was spent on a second season in the NASCAR Whelen Series, in the Elite 2 class. A more assured Francesca managed five top-ten finishes, the best of these being a seventh, at Brands Hatch. She was ninth overall in her Ford Mustang.

Early in the season, she also took part in the Mugello 12 Hours in a Porsche 911, but did not finish. She was driving for the Dinamic team, with Niccolo Mercatali, Tiziano Cappelletti and Alex de Giacomi, all from Italy.

In 2016, she moved away from stock cars again, and back to the Italian GT championship. In another departure, her car was not a Ferrari, but a Nissan GT-R Nismo, which she raced in the Super GT3 class with Lorenzo Bontempelli. Her best finish was a fourth place, at Misano, and she earned another top-five place, a fifth, at Monza. She was thirteenth in the championship, partly due to missing the last four rounds.

In addition to Italian GTs, Francesca did three races in the Italian Porsche Carrera Cup. She finished two of them, and was tenth at Mugello.

A second Carrera Cup season followed in 2017, driving for Dinamic Motorsport. A second place at Mugello mid-season really gave Francesca the push she needed to make an impression. During the second half of the season, she had five more top-ten finishes and started a race at Mugello from pole. She was seventh in the championship.

Moving from one one-make sportscar series to another, she contested the Pro-Am class of the European Lamborghini Super Trofeo in 2018. She earned third places at Vallelunga and Silverstone. At the end of the season, she was ninth and sixth in the two World Final races at Vallelunga.

(Image from http://www.bresciaoggi.it/)

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