- October 22, 1977
- Not Active
Gabriele Gardel is a Swiss racing driver who achieved the most in the sports car racing, scoring two Le Mans victories and taking few international championship titles. He was FIA GT1 champion in 2005 and two-time GT1 class Le Mans Series champion (2006, 2010). At Le Mans 24 Hours, he won GT1 class in 2010 and GTE Am class in 2011.
Racing in different Formula competitions until 2002
Born in October 1977 in Milan, Italy, Gabriele started racing career at the age 17 in the 1995 Formula Ford. In 1996, he progressed to the Italian Formula 3, spending three seasons in the championship. In 1999, he joined Benetton Junior Team in the German Formula 3.
The next step was a Formula 3000, in which he spent three seasons (2000-2002), not scoring notable results. At the end of 2002, Gardel made a switch, leaving single-seater racing and entering sports car racing.
FIA GT Championship debut with Freisinger Motorsport
Gardel's first sports car competition was the 2003 FIA GT Championship, in which he joined Freisinger Motorsport to drive the #51 Porsche 996 GT3 RS in the N-GT class. He was sharing a car with Bert Longin.
They participated in all ten races, with third place at Donington Park as their best result. At Spa 24 Hours, they didn't finish the race.
Two FIA GT wins in a Ferrari 550 Maranello
For the 2004 FIA GT season, Gardel joined BMS Scuderia Italia to drive the #1 Ferrari 550 Maranello alongside defending GT class champion Matteo Bobbi. They won two races and finished second in the championship, behind teammates Luca Cappellari and Fabrizio Gollin.
They were race winners at Hockenheim and Dubai Autodrome. At Spa 24 Hours, they finished seventh overall and third in GT class.
FIA GT1 champion with Larbre Competition
They won the season-opening race at Monza and then two more races in Brno and Dubai. At Spa 24 Hours, Gardel was third, sharing a car with Christophe Bouchut, Vincent Vosse and Kurt Mollekens. The team finished third in the points but Gardel became drivers' champions, just one point ahead closes rivals.
2006 Le Mans Series champion in an Aston Martin
They won the season-opening race in Istanbul and then the third round at Nurburgring. With two wins in five races, they became LMS GT1 champions.
Le Mans debut in a Ferrari
Outside Le Mans Series, Gardel participated in different competitions in a Ferrari, including his debut at 24 hours of Le Mans. He was driving the #50 Ferrari 550 Maranello for Larbre Competition, sharing a car with Patrick Bornhauser and Jean-Luc Blanchemain. They retired after 222 laps.
Gardel was also driving Ferrari 430 GTC for GPC Sport in one round of the Spanish GT Championship, one round of the GT Open and in the Spa 24 Hours (DNF). He also appeared in a Larbre Ferrari 550 Maranello in one round of the French GT Championship and Dubai race of the FIA GT Championship.
In 2007, Gardel stayed in the Le Mans Series with Labre Competition, still driving the #50 Aston Martin DBR9. Scoring no wins, he failed to defend championship title, finishing fourth in the final points, together with his co-drivers Christophe Bouchut and Fabrizio Gollin.
2008 in North America, 2009 in Italy
For 2008, Gardel made a move to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, driving a Doran JE4-Ford prototype for Doran Racing. In a series debut at Daytona 24 Hours, he finished 41st in the #77 car, sharing it with Memo Gidley, Brad Jaeger and Fabrizio Gollin. Later in a season, Gardel was sharing the #47 car with Burt Frisselle.
In 2009, Gardel's main competition was the Italian Porsche Carrera Cup. He was driving for Centro Porsche Padova, not scoring wins or podiums in 16 races and finishing 14th in the points. He also made a guest appearance in the Porsche Supercup.
Victorious return to Larbre Competition
In 2010, Gardel returned to Larbre Competition and it turned to be his most successful season in a career, as he became Le Mans Series GT1 class champion and scored GT1 class victory at 24 hours of Le Mans.
He was driving the #50 Saleen S7-R (Ford) together with Patrice Goueslard and Julien Canal. They were race winners four times in five races, at Circuit Paul Ricard, Algarve Circuit, Hungaroring and Silverstone. At Le Mans, Gardel's co-drivers were Julien Canal and Roland Berville.
One more Le Mans victory in a Chevrolet Corvette
One more successful season with Larbre Competition followed in 2011. Gardel was the GTE Am class winner at Le Mans, sharing the #50 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R ZR1 with Patrick Bornhauser and Julien Canal.
Over a season, Gardel was driving Larbre's Corvette in different competitions (American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup). He won the ILMC race at Silverstone.
Driving Jaguar and Maserati in 2012
In 2012, Gardel slowed down his racing activities, participating in three races of the Blancpain Endurance Series with Emil Frey Racing's Jaguar XKR, including Spa 24 Hours.
He was also driving Maserati GranTurismo MC GT3 for Swiss Team in two rounds of the International GT Open, scoring one victory together with Alessandro Pier Guidi.
Racing with Porsche, Aston Martin and Ferrari in 2013
In 2013, Gardel was combining three manufacturers in three different championships. He was driving Porsche 911 GT3 for Ebimotors in the Italian GT Championship, scoring one victory and finishing ninth in the class.
He stayed with Emil Frey Racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series, driving an Aston Martin Vantage GT3. He drove Aston Martin also in one round of the ADAC GT Masters. Gardel also joined Kessel Racing to drive Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in one round of the International GT Open.
Two more seasons with Emil Frey Racing's Jaguar
Gardel spent two more seasons with Emil Frey Racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series, driving their Jaguar XKR G3. His co-drivers were Lorenz Frey and Fredy Barth. Jonathan Hirschi joined them at 2014 Spa 24 Hours, where they didn't finish the race.
At 2015 Spa 24 Hours, the same crew finished in the 27th place. Gardel's last race with the team was 3 hours of Nurburgring in September 2015, when he, Frey and Barth were Pro-Am class winners.
NASCAR debut in 2014, full season in 2016
In 2014, Gardel made a stock car racing debut, participating in one round of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in the PK-Carsport Chevrolet SS. He even has won one race in the Elite 2 class.
In 2016, Gardel entered a full season with PK-Carsport's #24 Chevrolet SS. He won two races in Elite 2 division, at Adria International Raceway and Circuit Zolder, finishing second in the points at the end of the season.