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Gabriel Rindone is one of the fastest amateur drivers in Lamborghini Super Trofeo, and a natural jetsetter. Born in France to Italian parents, he grew up in Luxembourg, studied in the United Kingdom, worked in the United States before finally settling in Dubai.
It’s where the 50-year-old forged a successful career in the finance sector and where life got in the way of his racing passion.
But unlike a lot of amateur drivers, who continue to combine work with racing, Rindone is in the rather fortunate position of being able to effectively stop working and concentrate almost exclusively on his motorsport activities with German outfit Leipert Motorsport.
“I am from a finance background, so I have worked a bit everywhere, in the UK, US, Europe,” explains Rindone, who has raced in the Am class of Super Trofeo Europe since 2020. “Now, I have decided to put more effort into my racing and, in a way, sort of stopped working a full-time job in finance and devoted a lot of my time to racing.”
In some ways, it’s the dream scenario for Rindone, who had flirted with a full-blown racing career in his late teens. Having been drawn in by motorsport at a relatively late stage in his adolescence, Rindone narrowly missed out on a funded season in France, forcing him to make a difficult decision.
“It all started when I was about 18 or 19 years-old, so not so young, in the French system La Fillière,” Rindone recalls.
“I did a trial and the shootout, but I didn’t finish first; I think I was in the top three or four, I don’t remember. But for the winner, the FFSA would pay the full season for the next year, and they told me that they thought I had some talent so they couldn’t pay the full season for me, only the half season. So, that was the end of my first career, let’s say, because I went to finish my studies.”
So often, young drivers face the very real dilemma of pursuing their racing dreams or forging a more stable, predictable career. Rindone was no different to a lot of his contemporaries, but the interest and desire to race didn’t disappear when his professional aspirations fell through.
Instead, they manifested themselves later in life, once he had established his own successful career in the corporate world. Stints at home in Luxembourg, then in the UK followed by the US and then back to Europe left no time to pursue racing opportunities while still working full-time.
Eventually, Rindone took the plunge and began racing. It was time to get back on the horse.
“After quite a while, I was doing trackdays and got my racing licence and started racing immediately,” Rindone says.
“So that was quite eventful as you can imagine because I had never raced before. It was a great experience, racing Cup cars in Italy, Germany and Switzerland, and then one day, I moved to Lamborghinis in 2021.”
The Am class is where Rindone has plied his trade since joining Super Trofeo, twice finishing runner-up in the championship and always being at the sharp end of the grid. Arguably, Rindone should already be a champion in class, had it not been for a missed round in 2021, but the quality of competition has meant drivers need to be more consistent than ever before.
“There is no class within Lamborghini Super Trofeo where the competition is weak,” reckons the Luxembourgish driver.
“If you look at the Lamborghini Cup, the field is really tight and competitive, and the drivers are very closely matched. Everyone is doing their best, within their own limits. Even as an Am, I am always comparing myself against the Pros because I am looking for ways that I can improve my own driving.
“Driving both GT3 and Super Trofeo, I get a lot of seat time and I have improved a lot over the years, but the competition is so much more now so you have to be on your toes. When I first joined, it was easier.”
And that’s Super Trofeo in a nutshell; classes race together based on driver experience. The cars, Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2s are identical, and it is up to the teams and drivers to get the best out of them.
It’s an area where Rindone is really starting to revel in after three seasons in the one-make category. Even if it comes with its own unique pressures.
“I am in a lucky position, when I see a lot of the young professionals with all the pressure to perform. I put pressure on myself but it’s not the same where if they don’t perform, they don’t race. I have a lot of sponsors and friends who help fund my racing.
“And I can control that pressure that I put on myself; of course, you have team-mates that put you under pressure and you want to beat them and if you are competitive, then of course you want to do well, but it’s an easier pressure.”
“In my four years since the start of my second career, I have done around 120 races. So, seat time is important and that is what helped me during the down times in the first years.”
Although less focused on the day job and more on racing, Rindone remains a jetsetter in his “second career”, as he dovetails his Super Trofeo Europe campaign with a full season of Le Mans Cup, on the support bill of the European Le Mans Series.
Partnered with Patrick Kujala at Leipert Motorsport, the pairing took their first win together in the second race of the Paul Ricard weekend and have raced at the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans itself.
“[Moving to GT3] was always the plan” says Rindone.
“My aim was to move to the highest series as possible, progressively and GT3 is the highest profile. I really like GT3 driving; we’ve done Asian Le Mans Series last year, currently doing European Le Mans Series in the Le Mans Cup this season and obviously we have one goal in mind which is to race in Le Mans.
“Patrick is a really, really fast driver and together we are one of the fastest crews on the grid. This year has been a learning year and we are getting better and better and focusing on the last races to do as best we can. It’s fun to also compete against the other brands and the prototypes.”
It’s a Pro-Am line-up and that suits Rindone just fine. He may be 50 years-old, but make no mistake, Rindone is as fit as he has ever been, and boasts a professional attitude to his racing that would compete with many young talents on the grid too.
“Except for my age, I am a very professional driver; I try to be as competitive as possible. I work out a lot, do a lot of training, sport and eat well to maintain the best physical shape in order to perform in the car.
“I have a coach who is with me during all the events; we go into detail of what I have done right and what I have done wrong, always trying to find the little things that can get me up to the pro times. I see myself as a hybrid of amateur and professional driver.
“The Super Trofeo car is very difficult to drive and a bit of a handful, so you need to be in decent shape to be able to drive it fast. If you sit in it for an hour, you certainly feel it. For the GT3 car, it’s also a challenge and although aero is a big help, you need to have courage to drive it too.”