A student of technical design, Alboreto started racing in 1976 with a car built by himself and friends. This was called a CMR and was raced in Formula Monza without much success. It was not until 1978 that he began winning races in more conventional machinery. He moved to Formula 3 in 1978 in an old March and the following year finished second in the Italian F3 series. He moved to the European Championship in 1980 while also doing endurance races for Lancia. The following year, driving for Euroracing, he won four races (Osterreichring, La Chatre, Monza and Kassel-Calden) and won the European title. This resulted to a move to the Minardi Formula 2 team in 1981, while he maintained his connections with Lancia, partnering Riccardo Patrese to victory in the Watkins Six Hours and helping the company to win the Manufacturers' title.In Formula 2 he won at Misano - scoring Minardi's only F2 victory - and made his Grand Prix debut at the 1981 San Marino GP driving a Tyrrell.He stayed with Tyrrell in 1982 and won at Las Vegas, finishing seventh in the World Championship, and also continued his sportscar racing with Lancia and won three times: twice with Patrese (Silverstone Six Hours and Nurburgring 1000) and once with Piercarlo Ghinzani at Mugello.Signed on one of Tyrrell's famous three-year deals, Alboreto won at Detroit in 1983 but then signed to drive for Ferrari in 1984, the first Italian to race for Ferrari for over 10 years. He won the Belgian GP and finished fourth in the World Championship. The 1985 season saw Michele score wins in Canada and Germany but his World Championship challenge was beaten off by Alain Prost.In his three remaining seasons at Ferrari he failed to win another race. After he left Maranello at the end of 1988 he thought he had a deal with Williams but went in the end back to Tyrrell. He fell out with Ken Tyrrell in midseason and switched to Larrousse at the end of the year.In 1990 he joined Arrows and stayed with the newly-named Footwork operation in 1991, hoping his career would be revived with Porsche V12 engines. They were a disaster and in 1993 he switched to Scuderia Italia which was using Lola cars and Ferrari engines. Scuderia Italia merged with Minardi in 1994, which was to be Alboreto's last year in F1.After leaving F1 he embarked on a career in sportscars and in 1997 won the Le Mans 24 Hours with his former Ferrari team mate Stefan Johansson and Tom Kristensen in a TWR-run Porsche.He was killed testing an Audi sportscar when he suffered a high-speed tire failure at the Lausitzring in eastern Germany.