Legendary Parma Karting track owner Umberto Pellegrini dies at 86

Columns: Close Up
Umberto Pellegrini passed away in his Parma at the age of 86. He was the manager, promoter, and driving force behind the San Pancrazio Track, which marked the history of karting for over 50 years. The memory of his live commentaries of the most epic races of the 80s and 90s will remain indelible in the minds of those who loved the Golden Age of karting. (fm)

There is no historical legend of karting that doesn't pass through Parma, the university of karting, one of the most beloved tracks in history, “the place where you went to dream,” as Max Papis put it, who even wanted to create an exact replica of it in the USA, employing the best track designers in the world. That track, which meant so much to many, was born from the mind of Umberto Pellegrini, who, sensing the great success that the new American invention, the “go-kart,” would achieve even across the ocean, agreed to manage the facility at the end of the 1960s.

The track was originally established in 1961 with a layout that only after Pellegrini's arrival, thanks to substantial modifications, became the one that made Parma famous in the karting world. First in 1970 – with an extension from 450 to 650 meters, then in 1975 following the acquisition of adjacent land that allowed for further expansion, Umberto's pen designed, on the famous “paper napkin,” that place of worship that the track, by then 1160 meters long, was for decades thanks to curves like the Alen, the "Ferrovia" braking point, or the legendary ‘saltino.’ From 1976, the new track hosted five World Championships, the first in ’77 (from which the famous name “Mondialpista” originated), four European Championships, and over 30 rounds of the Italian Championship until its definitive closure in 2009.

Pellegrini, who during the years of managing the facility was always supported by his three children Donatella, Tiziano, and Germano, was honored over the years with various titles related to his sporting activity, such as Knight of the Republic by then President Francesco Cossiga, by CONI as well as the Municipality of Parma. After the track’s closure, as his loved ones recount, he dedicated himself to his other two great passions, cycling and ballroom dancing. His figure, emblematic of what karting has been in the history of our country, will surely be missed by those who raced on that track and began to love karting thanks to that magical place.

The Pellegrini family receives the deepest condolences from the Vroom editorial staff.

Created by: fmarangon2 - 27/05/24

Browse by Columns





SIM - Racing Simulator




Stay tuned!
Sign up for our mailing list