Gianpiero Moretti, driver and founder of race equipment manufacturer MOMO, passed away in his home in Milan this month after a lengthy illness. The 71-year-old began making steering wheels in his 20s, eventually translating his business into international success after Ferrari factory driver John Surtees adopted a MOMO wheel in his 158 F1 racing car in 1964. That car went on to carry Surtees to his only Formula One title, but Moretti's success blossomed. He opened a factory in Verona in 1966 and ran MOMO for three decades before selling it to a larger supplier.

In the interim, Moretti tried his hand at both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Daytona 24 Hours, campaigning multiple Ferrari and Porsche models but only managing to take the checkered flag once. In 1996, he came within a minute of victory at Daytona, but lost to the Riley & Scott team. Moretti returned in 1998 to seal the deal on his 15th attempt.

Moretti has left behind an indelible mark on the motorsports industry. His humble steering wheel operation grew into a mammoth race supply operation with everything from racing suits to shift knobs and the MOMO brand is synonymous with quality and style even now.

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