Gimmi Bruni – New Challenges

At speed in the Proton Porsche 963. [Photo by Jack Webster]

At speed in the Proton Porsche 963. [Photo by Jack Webster]

By Jack Webster & Eddie LePine

The last time we caught up with Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni was back in 2014 at the FIA-WEC race at the Circuit of the Americas, where he was driving for Ferrari. The man had quite the career driving for the Prancing Horse, before switching to Porsche in February of 2017. Just like at Ferrari, Gimmi has been consistently quick, and just like at Ferrari, he continues to win races.

After a career that started in go karts when he was only 10 years old (he lied about his age, saying he was 12 so he could race), he progressed through the single seater ranks through GP2 (where he won races in two seasons) and then on to Formula One with Minardi in 2004. The bitter lesson learned in Formula One was that no matter how talented the driver, if the car is not competitive, you are finished. As Gimmi told us back in 2014: “F1 is very difficult without a good car and it is difficult to prove how good you really are. It is a shame I couldn’t make a big impact in F1, but I’m lucky now. I have a good job and I really enjoy driving.”

Bruni went on to win class 2 times for Ferrari in the GT ranks at Le Mans and the European Le Mans GT Championship in 2011. Plus, in 2013 and 2014, he was FIA-WEC GT-Pro Champion. With those championships, plus a successful career in the US racing in the American Le Mans Series, it is no wonder that his achievements came to the attention of Porsche, who lured the multiple time Ferrari champion to the German marque. If you can’t beat him, hire him to drive for you.

It has been a successful transition for Bruni, who won the GT-Pro class at Le Mans in 2022 (his 3rd class win) driving for Porsche and who won the ELMS LMGTE Championship for Porsche the same year.

Now Gimmi is back in the US, taking on the challenge of piloting the all-new Porsche 963 in the GTP class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, for the remainder of this season and beyond. Having just taken delivery of their new Porsche 963 at the Monza round of the FIA-WEC race before heading to Wisconsin to compete at Road America in the IMSA series, Gimmi knows the challenge the Proton team faces – up against teams that have been racing all season with their GTP cars (from Acura, Cadillac and BMW), and the likes of Penske, who got their Porsche 963 cars first and has had all season to fine tune them.

As Gimmi told us: “It’s a new experience for me, for the team, for Proton. We just got the car a few days ago. The mechanics just finished the build on the car yesterday and they haven’t slept for two days…we just drove in the WEC race at Monza and then shipped the car directly here (to Road America).”

Actually, they did pretty good at Road America, with Gimmi and teammate Harry Tincknell taking 8th overall in the race, with a fastest lap less than one second slower than the winning Porsche Penske 963 over the 4-mile circuit.

Transitioning from the GT ranks to the space age and hi-tech Porsche 963 is challenging. “It’s completely different from what I was used to, feeling wise, how you lose the car, how you react with the car, how you work on the car – everything. But it also brings me back to my young days, you know, some of the fire. It is good.”

“The last time I was here (Road America) was six years ago in a GT – it was the first time I drove for Porsche, having just moved from Ferrari to Porsche. So yes, I have good memories here, but now I am in a car that goes 15 seconds a lap faster – so it is very different!”

We are sure that Gimmi Bruni will be a major factor in making the Proton Porsche 963 faster, and before you know it the team will be right up front, racing for wins with Acura, Cadillac, BMW, and of course, the Porsche Penske. That’s because Gimmi Bruni is fast, always has been, always will be.

See you at the races…

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