For a driver who achieved so much so early, Ivan Capelli’s post-F1 career has been relatively quiet. From 1994 for three seasons he raced a Nissan Primera in Germany’s STW championship. “We were up against Audi and BMW, both of whom had bigger budgets,” he says. “At the end of ’96 I received a call from one of the Nissan management at Germany and he asked what passport I had. I said, ‘Italian.’ He replied, ‘Okay, next season we will be using German drivers,’ and put the phone down! That’s how it ended.”
Capelli made his single Le Mans appearance in 1995 in a Honda NSX but the car lasted only seven laps.
“I spent many years as an F1 analyst with RAI and had to attend every grand prix,” he says. “That meant I was unable to commit to a championship programme, though I did a few races in the Italian GT Championship for fun.”
In recent years Capelli has come to love the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia. “I have a long-standing friendship with Jim Manolios, who owns the Trofeo Motorsport team.” Capelli made his Bathurst debut in 2013 at the wheel of a Trofeo Corvette and has since contested the event on three further occasions in Lamborghini Huracáns. “It’s an incredibly challenging event,” Capelli adds, “but I enjoy it. Despite my lack of training and time in the car, it takes me only a few laps to get up to speed with my team-mates. If I can do the event next year, I’ll be there.
“I’d like to do more races but usually the first question is, ‘How much do you have?’ It’s not about my experience, it’s nearly always about money!”