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Dindo Capello – A True Champion

Dindo Capello behind the wheel of the Audi R10 at Mid-Ohio.  [Photo by Jack Webster]

 

Dindo Capello powering the Audi R15 through the hairpin at Sebring in 2009.  [Photo by Jack Webster]

Dindo Capello powering the Audi R15 through the hairpin at Sebring in 2009. [Photo by Jack Webster]

Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen at Sebring.  [Photo by Jack Webster]

Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen at Sebring. [Photo by Jack Webster]

Dindo Capello behind the wheel of the Audi R10 at Mid-Ohio.  [Photo by Jack Webster]

Dindo Capello behind the wheel of the Audi R10 at Mid-Ohio. [Photo by Jack Webster]

Dindo Capello behind the wheel of his other passion - his super fast and beautifully restored General Lee, which must be quite the sight on Italian roads!  [Photo: Dindo Capello collection]

Dindo Capello behind the wheel of his other passion – his super fast and beautifully restored General Lee, which must be quite the sight on Italian roads! [Photo: Dindo Capello collection]

Legendary teammates at Le Mans in 2011 with the all new Audi R18 - Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello.  [photo by Audi Motorsport]

Legendary teammates at Le Mans in 2011 with the all new Audi R18 – Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello. [photo by Audi Motorsport]

Dindo Capello and co-driver Emanuele Zonzini enjoying the overall victory at the Misano World Circuit this past weekend in Italy.  [Photo by Audi Motorsport]

Dindo Capello and co-driver Emanuele Zonzini enjoying the overall victory at the Misano World Circuit this past weekend in Italy. [Photo by Audi Motorsport]

The hands of a champion - Dindo Capello waiting his turn behind the wheel of the Audi.  [Photo by Jack Webster]

The hands of a champion – Dindo Capello waiting his turn behind the wheel of the Audi. [Photo by Jack Webster]

One thing is for sure in motor racing – change is inevitable. Teams change, cars change, sponsors change and drivers change.

 

Over the past couple of seasons, we have seen a couple of Audi Motorsport legends hang up their helmets – Dindo Capello after the 2012 season and Allan McNish after the 2013 season.

 

I want to focus here on Dindo, who not only is one of the most popular Audi drivers of all time, but a good friend as well. Whenever he happens to be in Orlando, we get together to take in one of his favorite pastimes – shopping in American malls. We speak by phone constantly, and it is always a joy to hear from Dindo, whose enthusiasm for racing and stories about the same are seemingly endless. Dindo was always popular in the American Le Mans Series in the US and developed a great relationship with the press, his fellow drivers and teammates and the fans as well.

 

Always quick with a smile and a laugh, no matter what was transpiring on the track, Dindo’s personality will be missed in the paddock.

 

Fortunately, we will get an occasional chance to see him in his new roll as an ambassador for Audi and his US fans should make a point of going to the Austin FIA WEC race this year at the Circuit of the Americas to say hello.

 

Not to be forgotten is the incredible race record that this very quick Italian driver has amassed over his career. It compares very well to some of the most legendary drivers of all time. Dindo started racing in 1976, driving go-karts as most of his contemporaries did and soon moved on to real cars. In 1990 he won his first major championship, the Italian Supertourismo Championship in a Volkswagen Golf. He won this championship again in 1996, this time in an Audi A4. In 1999 he was selected by the Audi Sport Joest Team to drive the all new Audi R8R prototype and in his first Le Mans for Audi, finished on the podium.

 

The rest, as they say, is history. Capello continued his stellar career with Audi and through 2012 stayed with the German manufacturer as a factory driver. In that time period he won Le Mans 3 times, the 12 Hours of Sebring 5 times, Petit Le Mans 5 times, and was the American Le Mans Champion in 2006 and 2007. In 14 career starts at Le Mans, he finished 3rd or better an astonishing 11 times!

 

Even though Dindo has retired as an Audi factory driver on the prototype team, he keeps his hand in, driving the occasional race for Audi in the Audi R8 LMS in GT races. He keeps adding to his winning record as well, having just this past weekend taking victory in the opening round of the Italian GT Championship.

 

The man is unstoppable.

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Eddie LePine

Eddie LePine

Eddie has been involved in motorsports for over 30 years as photographer, columnist, and driver. Eddie also is now a retired racer (well, retired unless a good ride pops up).
Eddie LePine

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