Over the last 15 years, Emanuele Pirro and Dindo Capello have emerged as the winningest Italian drivers in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with five and three victories, respectively. Here's a look at these two great figures in the recent history of the 24 Hours.
One of the remarkable factors of Emanuele Pirro's and Dindo Capello's history at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is loyalty. Pirro shared his five wins with German driver Frank Biela, while Capello was one of the most assiduous of teammates for Tom Kristensen, win record-holder at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with nine victories. Other similarities also characterize the long Le Mans journey experienced by these two Italians.
-When Capello competed at his first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998 in a McLaren F1 GTR, his teammates were Thomas Bscher...and Emanuele Pirro. The latter had one participation, in 1981, already under his belt.
-In 1999, Audi set out to dominate the 24 Hours. Pirro and Capello joined the quest, finishing third and fourth, respectively.
-Pirro and Capello have each won three victories at Le Mans along with Tom Kristensen: Pirro in 2000-2001-2002, Capello in 2003-2004-2008.
-Pirro won three consecutive victories at the 24 Hours in three participations with Tom Kristensen, while Capello had the Danish driver as a teammate nine times out of 14 starts.
-In 2006, for the first time ever a diesel engine won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, thanks to Pirro, along with Frank Biela and Marco Werner. That same year, the trio Dindo Capello-Tom Kristensen-Allan McNish was formed, lasting until 2012, with one win in 2008.
-Pirro and Capello claimed a podium finish nine and 10 times respectively at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
...While Marco Bonanomi continues today to embody the prestigious lineage of transalpine Audi drivers, this story wouldn't be complete without including Michele Alboreto, the third great Italian pioneer in Audi's history at Le Mans. Sadly, he passed away during a free practice session on April 25, 2001. "Michele was my friend and my teammate, remembers Capello. Audi's adventure in endurance owes a great deal to his immense experience, gleaned as much in Formula 1 as in endurance."
Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO
Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY & SUNDAY JUNE 7-8 1998. It was at the wheel of a McLaren F1 GTR that Emanuele Pirro and Dindo Capello took on the adventure of the 24 Hours of Le Mans together for the first time.