My life filled with passions!

Thomas Giuntoli

15 February 2022

My name is Thomas, I am a chef by profession and a racing driver for pleasure. 

Running a restaurant is a huge commitment that absorbs every minute of your life. However, whenever I find some free time I hardly hesitate about "what to do", I have no doubt about it. I put on my helmet, wear my Bianchi gloves and switch into driver mode. 

I've always loved racing, I've had a thing for engines and cars since I was a child. I've been racing since 1997, and from 2013 onwards I have always run with my adventure friend Luca (The Uncle).

An extraordinary feature of races is that each competition has a unique story and cannot be compared to any other except for one thing: the start.

The start is a ritual for any driver; every time we are at the starting point there is a sort of emotional limbo that embraces a lot of feelings; in a few fractions of a second you think of everything that could go wrong and everything that could suddenly happen. It's amazing how many similarities there are between a busy evening at work and a race, and how both situations require your utmost concentration and focus. 

Your attention is focused on two elements, the navigator on one hand and the road in front of you on the other. At that very moment you have to be aware that everything is concentrated in a few seconds and you have to do your best while dancing between speed and calculated risk. 

The moments preceding the start or the service are necessary to make the latest checks. You fasten your belt, wear your helmet, your apron and, just as I talk to Luca about the start, I talk to the kitchen staff about the dishes and daily menus. Thereafter I fall into a kind of trance, all the senses are activated to bring the car to the end of the test. 

The smell and the taste ready to detect a petrol leak or the burning smell of a forgotten pot; the hearing to catch the notes of the navigator or the dish called out by the customer; the sight that pierces the windscreen and scans the road ahead looking for the best line and the pitfalls of the route, or the plate ready to go to the customer that must be harmonious and inviting; the touch that, through the hands on the steering wheel, informs us about the reactions of the car and the road conditions or makes us feel whether the pasta we are about to cook has the right consistency.

The countdown begins and first gear is engaged:

Ready, steady, go! It's one of the most delicate moments because an aggressive start could irreparably damage the car, it's always essential to know how to balance aggressiveness and control. Off we go! 

The dance begins, we dance from curve to curve, jumping over bumps in search of the balance between maximum speed and minimum risk! When we finally reach the perfect balance it’s a magical and almost surreal feeling, as if we were travelling on a cushion of air.

It always amazes me when I realise that what I have learnt or improved in racing has proved useful in dealing with everyday problems. In a kitchen you often find yourself under pressure with unforeseen events and problems that require the ability to remain lucid and quick. In those moments I relive the adrenaline of competitions and I appreciate even more what I have learnt in these years, years of passion and challenges that I can no longer live without.