Stars Cars - Le Mans legend Dindo Capello
Who: Rinaldo "Dindo" Capello.
Born: June 17, 1964, Asti, Italy.
Resume: Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times, the famed endurance driver began racing go-karts aged 12, graduating to Formula Fiat Abarth before showing a talent for endurance by winning the 1997 Vallelunga 6 Hours in a VW Golf. Finished third at Le Mans driving an Audi R8 in 2000, before scoring two second places in 2001 and 2002 and his maiden win in 2003 driving a Bentley Speed 8. Won the 24 Hours again in 2004 and 2008, both with Audi, a marque he has also scored five 12 Hours of Sebring wins in 2001, 02, 06, 09 and 12, retiring after this final victory.
AN ENDURANCE racing legend, Dindo Capello has had a lifelong passion for cars thanks to his father's influence and the stunning driving roads around his hometown in Northern Italy.
He talked us through his incredible life with cars during a flying visit to Australia to see the Bathurst 12 Hours.
What was your first driving experience?
It was as a little child, probably only 10 years old, and it was my aunt's yellow Fiat 500. I was living in a very little village and every time she went to sleep, about 9 or 10pm, I could take the car on a little tour, and then back into the garage. There are still some very old people in my village who remember seeing this Fiat 500 driving alone almost, because I could not see outside.
What cars did your family having growing up?
My aunt's Fiat 500 of course, while my mother had a Fiat 126 - the car after the 500. My father had a great passion for cars. I became a racing driver because he took me to the race track when I was very young. He had a Fiat 124 Sport, and a Jaguar after that.
What was the first car you owned?
It was a Fiat Panda, a very cheap and common car. When I was 20 I moved on to a Renault 5 GT Turbo, and then the first "big" sportscar I got was a BMW E30 M3; now that was a really nice car to drive.
What cars do you have now?
For the last 20 years I've only been driving Audis, who produce probably the best road cars (Dindo owns a few Audi dealerships in Italy, by the way). With the quattro, even the very powerful Audis are easy to drive. The balance and driveability of an Audi, even the more basic ones, is really something outstanding. I also own the first Audi 80 I raced in 1994, and also the Audi R18 (Le Mans prototype racer) I won my last race in, which Audi gave to me as a present for the end of my career.
What's your favourite driving road?
Spa Francorchamps in Belgium for a race track, and for the road the Targa Florio route in Sicily, Italy, with 70km through the mountains.
What's your dream car if money were no object?
The cars that give me the most emotion are the Group4/Group 5 racing cars of the 1970s, so I'd like one of them (we'll pick a Porsche 917 Le Mans winner for Dindo).