Rally & Racing

Andrea De Adamich

From race tracks to car collecting: perfection or nothing

Photo credit: Archivio De Adamich, Attualfoto, Wheelsage, Franco Lini, Gabriela Noris Archive

Andrea de Adamich is driven by an innate attraction towards perfection. He demonstrated this during his debut while competing with a Triumph TR3 so carefully prepared it put the dominant Porsches in difficulty, he confirmed it while racing in Formula 3 when he invented a cornering technique during hard rain that avoids the water that accumulates in the apex, and he it did when the Alfa GTAs dominated the European Championship over a two-year stretch.

De Adamich at his race debut at the uphill Castell’Arquato-Vernasca race with the Triumph TR3

Perfection accompanied him even after he retired from racing and victories with the Alfa 33 in the World Sport Prototypes Championship: his first job gave him management over the Philip Morris clothing brand, after which he concentrated his efforts on the driving schools at Varano de’ Melegari with Alfa Romeo and at Fiorano with Ferrari.

After winning the 1966 and 1967 European Championships with the Alfa Giulia GTA 1600, De Adamich before the start of the 6 Hours of Nürburgring in 1970 which he won together with Gianluigi Picchi

There was only one moment in which things weren’t perfect, a moment he remembers as a fortunate one today. We’re talking about an incident at Brands Hatch in 1968 when he was an official Ferrari Formula 1 driver together with Ickx and Amon (at that time more than two drivers could be used) and was competing for pole position against Jackie Stewart when he had an accident that stopped him for the entire season. “Thinking about it today, I have to thank that accident: I realized I was faster than my teammates, but I took risks which, knowing myself, the cars and the tracks of the time, would have ended up killing me”. His career resumed with victories at the Temporada Argentina with Ferrari Formula 2 and then with Surtees, McLaren and March, as well as with Alfa in the Sport Prototipo cars.

Andrea De Adamich celebrates victory with the Ferrari Dino at the 1968 Formula 2 Temporada Argentina together with Henri Pescarolo and Jochen Rindt

Today his business, that goes by the name of “Scuderia de Adamich” is a global affair: he has a base in the United States and organizes courses in the Middle and Far East, including China with over 100 professional instructors. Visiting his driving centre in Varano, you can see the real “noses” of the many cars he drove in anger in the large meeting room. It’s slightly more difficult to see his personal collection of cars, each one perfectly preserved, of course. Ferrari, Maserati – including the one once owned by Luciano Pavarotti – and especially Alfa Romeos. There is also a blue Triumph TR3. Is that the one you debuted with? No, unfortunately, I was unable to find it, but it’s identical and I have already given it to my daughter Anna so that when she turns 18, she understands how her father’s adventure started”.

De Adamich leading the Targa Florio with the Alfa 33 TT12. He went on to being stopped after colliding with car he was lapping, his best result was second place in 1971, again with Alfa Romeo