Picture special: Gabriele Tarquini’s illustrious touring car career

Following the news that touring car legend Gabriele Tarquini is planning to retire from racing at the end of the 2021 season, TouringCars.Net takes a look back in pictures at the Italian’s extensive tin-top career in a picture special.

Tarquini initially pursued a single-seater career, moving from karting to Formula 3000 by 1985. After three seasons, he moved into Formula One in 1987, making a sole appearance with Osella at the San Marino Grand Prix.

That same year, Tarquini embarked on the start of his touring car career, taking part in six World Touring Car Championship races in Alfa Romeo machinery.

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In 1988 he took part in a full F1 season with Coloni, but failed to qualify for half of the races in an uncompetitive car.

Tarquini continued in uncompewtitive F1 machinery for the next four years, dovetailing with Italian touring cars in 1989, 1990 and 1992.

By 1993 a full-time siwtch to touring cars was made with Alfa Romeo, with Tarquini ending the year third in the Italian championship and also taking part in the FIA Touring Car World Cup event at Monza (pictured below) which is where we begin our picture special.

Gabriele Tarquini, Alfa Corse, Alfa Romeo 155
In the 1993 Touring Car World Cup, Tarquini took a best finish of tenth in race two at Monza. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, Alfa Corse, Alfa Romeo 155 TS
Tarquini took on the British Touring Car Championship in 1994, winning the title in spectacular fashion with eight wins. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, Alfa Romeo Old Spice Racing, Alfa Romeo 155 TS
In 1995, Tarquini raced in part-campaigns in both the BTCC and DTM, but in the former the 155 was less competitive with wings. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, JAS Motorsport Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI
Tarquini on his way to victory in the 1996 Silverstone International Touring Car race in the mighty Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, Team Honda Sport, Honda Accord
Tarquini, pictured here at Snetterton, made a sensational switch to Honda for 1997, returning to the BTCC and clinching another win. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, JAS - Team Honda Sport, Honda Accord
In 1998 he reuinted with JAS Motorsport, who he had been with in the ITC, to race in the German Super Tourenwagen Cup. Photo: JAS Motorsport

Gabriele Tarquini, JAS Engineering, Honda Accord
Again, 1998 yielded just one race win, at the Lahr Regio-Ring airfield circuit. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, JAS Team Honda Sport, Honda Accord
Continuing in STW for 1999, albeit with the new Accord, Tarquini claimed fourth overall, with one win. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, Redstone Team Honda, Honda Accord
Tarquini returned to the BTCC in 2000, remaining with JAS in a one-car entry which bolstered the factory Honda presence to three cars. He won three times. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, GTA Racing Team NordAuto, Alfa Romeo 156 GTA
After missing out on the Euro STC title in 2001 with Honda, despite an impressive nine wins, Tarquini largely sat out 2002 before returning to the European Touring Car Championship in 2003 with Alfa Romeo, winning the title with six victories. Photo: WSC

Gabriele Tarquini, AutoDelta Squadra Corse, Alfa Romeo 156
Tarquini again won six times in the 2004 ETCC but ended the year third overall. Photo: PSP Images

Gabriele Tarquini, Alfa Romeo Racing Team, Alfa Romeo 156
2005 was the first year of the reborn WTCC, but Tarquini’s last with Alfa Romeo. He won twice but was not a genuine title contender. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, SEAT Sport, SEAT León
Tarquini switched to SEAT for 2006. He is pictured here on his way to victory at Istanbul. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, SEAT Sport, SEAT León
Tarquini again just took one victory in 2007, here at Zandvoort, on his way to eighth in the drivers’ championship. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, SEAT Sport, SEAT León TDI
Tarquini gained momentum in 2008, pushing friend Yvan Muller all the way for the title, after picking up three wins. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, SEAT Sport, SEAT León TDI
In 2009, Tarquini finally secured the drivers’ title in the WTCC, in SEAT’s final year as a factory entrant. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, SR-Sport, SEAT León TDI
Without official SEAT backing, Tarquini and SUNRED stayed on in 2010, and he was the main threat to Chevrolet’s Muller, picking up five further wins. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, Lukoil-SUNRED, SEAT León 2.0 TDI
Just one win came in the 2011 WTCC, here at Zolder, at the start of Tarquini’s association with Russian sponsor Lukoil. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, Lukoil Racing Team, SEAT León WTCC
Tarquini had a more competitive season in 2012, but again won just once, here at the Slovakiaring, on his way to fourth overall and the ‘best-of-the-rest’ behind the Chevrolet drivers. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, Castrol Honda WTC Team, Honda Civic WTCC
After 12 years, Tarquini reunited with Honda in 2013 for the start of the Japanese marque’s return to touring car racing. There were just two wins, but in a year dominated by Muller, Tarquini finished second overall. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic Type-R TC1
The dawn of the TC1 era in 2014 saw Honda and Tarquini outclassed by the dominant Citroën cars. He won just once, at Suzuka. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic Type-R TC1
A challenging season in 2015 saw Tarquini endure the first winless full-season touring car campaign of his career. He is pictured here at the Nürburgring Nordschleife – a circuit he didn’t get on with. Photo: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini, LADA Sport Rosneft, LADA Vesta WTCC
After being dropped by Honda, Tarquini found a seat at LADA for 2016 and returned to winning ways, including sensationally in the wet on home soil for the Russian marque. Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Gabriele Tarquini, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i30 N TCR
As LADA pulled out for 2017, Tarquini was left without a full-time drive, instead joining Hyundai Motorsport to develop their new TCR programme with the i30 N. He won on his début at Zhejiang in China. Photo: TCR Media

Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR
The new FIA WTCR in 2018 reinvigorated Tarquini – after winning three of the first six races, he went on to clinch the title with a total of five wins. Photo: Francois Flamand / DPPI

Gabriele Tarquini
Tarquini became the oldest FIA World Champion at the age of 56 in 2018. Photo: Francois Flamand / DPPI

Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR
Remaining with BRC Racing in WTCR for 2019, Tarquini won twice and helped team-mate Norbert Michelisz to lift the title. Photo: Clement Luck / DPPI

Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR
2020 was a challenging year not only for Tarquini but also Hyundai, and he had another winless season on his way to 14th in the drivers’ championship. Photo: Xavi Bonilla / DPPI

Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR
Helping to develop the new Hyundai Elantra N TCR for 2021, Tarquini is taking part in his final full-season of touring car racing, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious career which has lasted more than three decades. Photo: Xavi Bonilla / DPPI

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