Vittorio Brambilla (11 November 1937 – 26 May 2001) was a Formula One driver from Monza in Italy. He raced for the March, Surtees and Alfa Romeo teams. He was also a solid endurance driver. His older brother, Ernesto (“Tino”), was also a capable racing driver.
Vittorio Brambilla was a very good driver in wet conditions, and was nicknamed “The Monza Gorilla”, due to his aggressive and spectacular racing style and his sense of machismo. He won one Formula One Grand Prix in 74 starts, the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix at Zeltweg, held in the wet.
The Italian reached the Formula One in 1974 after impressing in F2 with the March team and was soon as quick as his highly regarded team mate Stück, although more accident-prone. In 1975, he amazed many at the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder, where he led until he was halted by problems with his brakes. He then took pole at the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp but in the race was halted by transmission problems. Everybody understood by now how fast he was.
His day of glory came at Zeltweg (Austrian Grand Prix) in the summer of 1975. The Italian was leading the race, in the pouring rain, well in front of the Hesketh of James Hunt, when surprised he spun off and wrecked the nose of his orange March as he took the checkered flag waved at half distance, and completed his slowing down lap with the front of the car destroyed while waving to the crowd (picture below).
More stories about the spectacular Italian to be found on the website.