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24 Hours of Daytona: 1st (2-litres-division), January 31st/February 1st
5th OA together with Carlo Facetti and Martini Finotto in a Martini-entered Lancia Beta Monte Carlo.

24 Hours of Le Mans, June 13-14
Pirro teamed up with Giuseppe Gabbiani in the Martini Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Turbo. Dropped out in the fourth hour after a collision with the WM P81 of Raulet/Mamers.

European Formula 3 Championship

6th (scored 19 points) in the European Formula 3 Championship in a Martini MK34-Toyota; Mauro Baldi became the champion, scoring 94 points overall in his March 813-Alfa Romeo.

Pirro scored in the following events:

June 28 

Croix-en-Ternoix 3rd 4points

July 19 

Misano 5th 2 points

August 9 

Knutstorp 6th 1point

September 6 

Jarama 4th 3 points

October 4 

Mugello 1st 9 points

In the renowned German magazine "Auto-Jahr", Pirro - who had been virtually unknown up to then - is called "The revelation of the year".

In 1981, the "young gun" Pirro was part of the Martini Racing Team which was responsible for Lancia's engagement in the sportscar world championship. In Le Mans, he teamed-up with Gabbianni who badly crashed the car in the fourth hour. Up to that point of the race, a driver and a marshal had been killed in an accident; for the first time in his career, Emanuele had been confronted with the possibility of death in a race, hence he felt somehow eased by the fact that it was already over for him.
During his first season in Formula 3 racing, Emanuele Pirro formed a part of the Crugnola Team, driving a Toyota-powered Martini Mk 34. The photograph shows the car at the beginning of the season when it featured a pretty old-fashioned looking nose.
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