Italy's Alessandro Donnini has a plan. The first year Formula Dodge racer is working his way through the Skip Barber Race Series, first in the Midwestern Region, hoping to land podiums and points, and positioning himself for a bid in the 2002 ...
Italy's Alessandro Donnini has a plan. The first year Formula Dodge racer is working his way through the Skip Barber Race Series, first in the Midwestern Region, hoping to land podiums and points, and positioning himself for a bid in the 2002 Formula Dodge National Championship or perhaps the Barber Dodge Pro Series. His race resume includes 1997 Rookie honors in the Formula Ford Italian Championship and second overall in the same series a year later. Also in 1998, he won the Rombo Trophy presented to the most promising young driver of the year. His race debut in the states suggested similar promise as the Italian registered two podiums at Road America.
Donnini started racing five years ago, when he attended the Henry Morrogh Racing School in Italy during some challenging winter conditions.
"I learned to race in winter. There was snow all around the track! We even had to postpone class for one day because conditions were so bad."
While snow might have suggested a future in rally, Donnini's focus was clearly on road racing. Tough conditions are a metaphor for this young racer, who has overcome limited funds to develop a sponsor network that allows him to pursue his racing career.
The 27-year old racer is backed primarily by SAPORITO, a factory that produce zippers and other metal fastenings. Saporito is the exclusive agent for Lampo factory, which currently sponsors Formula One driver Eddie Irvine. Donnini's other sponsors include SABELT, one of Europe's most respected producer of racing safety equipment and apparel, RB HELMETS and TESSITURA FARINI.
"My sponsors and I see the value of racing Formula Dodge. It's a great opportunity. I'm getting a lot of exposure here in Italy. Motorsports magazines and even some newspapers are covering my career more than if I raced in Italy."
Prior to open-wheel formula cars, Donnini competed in karts, building a foundation of skills that have served him well in Formula Dodge Regional competition. After karts, Donnini then moved on to single seaters in Italy, with Formula Ford and Formula Opel. A lack of sponsorship in 1999 forced him into idleness.
Now back in competition, the resurgent Italian is constantly looking for areas to improve. His ability to assess his driving style clearly helps turn weaknesses into strengths.
"Sometimes I forget to use my intuitive skills. I lose time if I don't contemplate my strategy clearly. These are areas I have to improve on to find more time."
While Donnini concedes that a career in Formula 1 is unlikely, he is confident he can make a legitimate challenge to race Champ Cars, leveraging the series' relationship with CART to his advantage.
"I've put a lot of time into this plan. For the next year I hope to continue racing in United States, moving up to the National Championship or the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Of course it depends on my budget and ultimately on my track record."
- Andrew Torres