Marino Alessandro Cesare Franchitti is a British racing driver who competes mostly in various endurance championships.
Late start of a career
He was born on 7th of July 1978 in Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland. As a teenager Marino, who was influenced by his older and better-known brother Dario, began to race in the lower categories of single-seaters in the second half of the 1990s. The results were pretty poor but Marino learned quickly and gained some valuable experience.
Marino Franchitti was the 2001 British GT GTO class champion
In 2001 Franchitti switched to sports cars and enjoyed instant success. Marino raced in GTO class of the British GT Championship and won the title after scoring eight wins driving the Porsche GT3 RS. In the following year, Marino joined his brother in the United States and appeared in four races of Grand-Am and American Le Mans Series. He scored one win in LMP 675 class and also had other three podiums.
Le Mans 24h debut and departure to the US
In the following years Franchitti shared his duties with considerable success between various championships and categories. In 2003 Marino finished 4th in the class at Le Mans 1000km driving the Ferrari 360 GT. In 2004 he won the pole position at Sebring 12 Hours driving the LMP 670 Lola-Nissan while in 2005 Franchitti made his debut at Le Mans 24 Hours GTLM class in Panoz Esperante but he failed to finish the race.
Marino with his brother Dario
The season of 2006 was pretty fine for the Scot. He raced with Scuderia Ecosse’s Ferrari 430 and finished 2nd in GT2 class at Petit Le Mans. That year Franchitti also raced in the FIA GT Championship. He won the round at Adria Raceway and finished 3rd at 24 Hours of Spa.
Finally, in 2007 Franchitti was able to sign a full-time deal to drive for Andretti-Green Racing in the P2 class of the American Le Mans Series. Driving the Acura alongside Bryan Herta he scored modest results and left the team at the end of the season. Marino stayed in the ALMS in 2008 but this time driving the Dyson Racing’s Porsche RS Spyder alongside Butch Leitzinger. Their best result was 2nd place at 12 Hours of Sebring but Marino's highlight of the year was the victory in the VLN race at Nurburgring where he was a member of Hisaq Racing.
Marino Franchitti and Butch Leitzinger, 2008 ALMS
Franchitti stayed with the Dyson Racing in 2009 and that proved to be a good decision. Driving a Lola-Mazda, Franchitti and Leitzinger won the races at Lime Rock Park and Petit Le Mans before finishing the season as vice-champions in the LMP2 class.
Valuable team driver
In 2010 Marino helped Patron Highcroft Racing to win Teams’ Championship title in the ALMS LMP2 class. Driving alongside David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud he triumphed at Petit Le Mans, won the pole position for 12 Hours of Sebring where he eventually finished 2nd in the race, and also scored his best result at Le Mans 24 Hours so far. Driving an Acura alongside David Brabham and Marco Werner, the Scot of an Italian origin finished 9th in the LMP2 class and 25th overall.
The following campaign was unusually quiet. Franchitti appeared in a very limited number of events but still was able to finish 2nd overall at 12 Hours of Sebring, again with Pagenaud and Brabham as co-drivers.
Pagenaud, Franchitti and Brabham celebrating
Signing with Peugeot to become LMP1 factory driver had to be a big step forward in Franchitti’s career but the program was subsequently canceled. However, in 2012 Marino was Race and Development driver for the Nissan DeltaWing which included Le Mans 24 hours but the most famous motorsports event ended with a retirement on lap 75. Marino also drove for the PR1/Mathasian Motorsports PC team in selected events and won the event at Mid-Ohio.
The season of 2013 probably was the best so far in a career of younger Franchitti. Driving the Level 5 Motorsport’s HPD ARX-03b alongside Scott Tucker, Ryan Briscoe, and Guy Cosmo, Marino won 5 out of 10 races in the LMP2 class of ALMS before becoming the series champion.
Marino Franchitti, Level 5 Motorsport, 2013 ALMS LMP2 class champion
In 2014 Marino Franchitti finally scored an overall win at Sebring 12 Hours. As a driver of Chip Ganassi Riley-Ford, British driver triumphed in one of the most important endurance races in the US, with Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett as co-drivers. The season of 2015 was marked with a class victory at Nurburgring 24 Hours where Franchitti shared the seat of Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 003C with David Jahn, Franck Mailleux, and Manuel Lauck.
Marino Franchitti, Ganassi racing Ford GT
Driving for the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK in the LMGTE Pro class of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship was the next challenge for the experienced racer. His co-drivers were Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, and they finished 2nd at 6 Hours of Spa and 9th at Le Mans 24h but Franchitti was dropped from the team for the last three rounds of the season.