|First race||United States Grand Prix||Watkins Glen||October 1, 1978||Race results|
|Last race||Caesars Palace Grand Prix||Caesar's Palace||October 17, 1981||Race results|
Beppe Gabbiani began in karts, and his serious motor racing career got off to a sensational start when he won his first race at Paul Ricard in 1977 in his Chevron-Toyota in the European Formula Three Championship. He followed with a brace of seconds in a remarkable debut season.
He moved into Formula Two in 1978, albeit in an uncompetitive Chevron-Ferrari, but soon secured a Formula One drive with a Surtees team in the middle of a rapid turnover of drivers. He was unable to qualify in either F1 outing he made.
In 1979 he returned to Formula Three but at times appeared to be trying too hard to cement the reputation he had made in his first season, and as a result his driving actually deteriorated. His nadir came when he withdrew from the non-championship Gran Premio Dino Ferrari at Imola after some awful practice sessions, although he salvaged some credibility with a string of better late-season displays.
In 1980 he got an F2 drive with Maurer but made little impression. Nevertheless, he found a way back into F1 when he gained a seat with Osella although it turned out the car was anything other than reliable. He qualified only three times in 15 attempts and even then collisions and an engine failure meant he never completed a race. That Jean-Pierre Jarier, who joined the team midway through the season, did so much better in a similar vehicle in effect signalled the end of Gabbiani's F1 aspirations.
Back in F2, he finished second in the drivers' championship in 1982, and in 1983 led the standings by a long way after four wins in the first five races before being overhauled by Jonathan Palmer. Had he managed to win the title then he might have been given another crack at F1; as it was, by blowing what seemed a sure-fire championship he merely confirmed his reputation for unreliability.
Gabbiani continued to race in Europe where he enjoyed more success in sports and touring cars.
Martin Williamson January 2010