Gastone Brilli-Peri

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Count Gastone Brilli Peri

Count Gastone Brilli Peri (1893-March 1930) was a famous Italian racing driver, who won the 1925 Italian Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo P2 to secure the inaugural World Manufacturers' Championship title for Alfa Romeo. He was a racing driver with a heart of gold and a face permanently scarred in an accident during the tour of Italy motorcycle race. Count Brilli Peri, known simply as “Brilli”, he used to race wearing a hat similar to a flabby basque, and today these are known in Italy as a brilliperi. He first raced just after the World war I. In 1925, with Alfa, he won his first Grand Prix at the Italian GP in Monza.

In 1929, still in the Alfa P2 he won the Circuit of Cremona and the Tripoli Grand Prix - Libya. when he was killed during Saturday practice for the sixth Gran Premio di Tripoli. Free practice was scheduled from 11am to 15pm and Brilli-Peri, who knew the track well having won the race one year earlier, came to test the cars of his team, the Scuderia Materassi.

He first made one lap on his car, then moved to the vehicle of his team mate Clemente Biondetti which had carburation problems. Brilli-Peri made one lap with Biondetti's car and then jumped again in his Talbot for another stint but during the second lap he crashed heavily near the village of Suq al Jum`ah (also known as Suk el Giuma or Sugh el Giumaa (سوق الجمعة) and was killed on impact.

According to eye witnesses, while negotiating a fast left-handed bend the car bounced on the irregular surface of the track, the driver could not control it anymore and went straight into the right embankment being ejected from the vehicle. The accident happened around 12h50. The race (composed by two heats - the first of them for voiturettes only - and a final), was won by Baconin Borzacchini in a Maserati; one of Brilli-Peri's team mate, Clemente Biondetti, won the voiturette heat and was classified third in the final. Brilli-Peri used to race wearing a hat similar to a flabby basque, and today this piece is known in Italian as a brilliperi. Another curiosity: the famous Italian actress Nancy Brilli is niece of his.

He died at only 37 years old. Today the stadium of his native city, Montevarchi, is named in his honour.

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