PEOPLE: CARLO VALLARINO GANCIA
Name: Carlo Vallarino Gancia
Fratelli Gancia is one of Italy's most famous wine-making companies. It was founded in 1850 and became famous for pioneering the production of sparking wines in Italy, using methods from the Champagne region of France. The company was based in the town of Canelli, to the southeast of Turin, and its Asti Gancia wine is world famous.
Carlo Gancia was not one of the Italian branch of the family, however, as he was born and brought up in Brazil. His father - - Piero Vallarino Gancia - raced Alfa touring cars in Brazil in the 1950s, competing against other wealthy Brazilians, including Umelio Diniz, father of F1 driver Pedro. After he retired from racing Gancia Sr. helped to found the Confederacao Brasileira de Automobilismo, the national motorsport authority of Brazil, of which he was president and - until 1990 - represented Brazil on the World Motor Sport Council.
Carlo was educated in Brazil but was then enrolled in the University of Southern California at San Diego from where he graduated with a masters degree in economics. He spent a year working in Saudi Arabia before returning to Brazil to run a car dealership. In 1979 he joined the Banco Denasa but in 1984 moved to Europe and worked for a Luxembourg-based finance company. In 1990 he opened his own asset management business in Monaco.
Gancia had been involved in motor sport from a very early age, growing up in the company of such drivers as Emerson Fittipaldi, Carlos Pace and Nelson Piquet - all of whom he helped with sponsor-hunting - while also enjoying his own racing career, which won him a series of Brazilian Touring Car titles. He also ran a go-kart factory which helped launch Ayrton Senna's racing career.
In 1992, while helping Pedro Diniz to find a Formula 3000 drive, Gancia met Guido Forti. A deal was struck and while Forti Corse ran Diniz for the 1993 and 1994 seasons in F3000, Gancia bought out Forti's partner Paulo Guerci and took over the fund-raising for the team. With Diniz as the driver there was no problem but after he departed to join Ligier the team struggled. The 1996 season was a struggle and by mid-season Gancia was looking at starting a team in the Indy Racing League. This coincided with the arrival of a mysterious group called Shannon Racing. Gancia sold out while Shannon and Forti fought over control of the team. By the time the issues had been settled in court, the team had collapsed.