Without question, Dario Capitanio was one of the revelations in the inaugural season of the Renault Sport Trophy. Demonstrating impressive consistency, the Oregon Team driver steadily raised his game on his way to winning the Prestige title, but also in Endurance with David Fumanelli. Winner of a drive in the 2016 24-Hours of Le Mans, the Italian prefers to concentrate on the long term !
After a short stint in karting where he finished second in the national 100 Junior category Dario Capitanio jumped to single-seaters via the Challenge Tricolore Formula Renault 2.0 Italia. At the age of 17, the Rome native dominated his team mates, taking four podium results and third place in the general classification.
From single-seater to GT
Moving to Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS in 2013, he got off to a slow start before showing promise the following year finishing the season seventh overall. Over the winter, Dario Capitanio decided to join the Renault Sport Trophy. Regularly in the top three of the Prestige drivers in testing, he confirmed his stature of contender in triumphing, with David Fumanelli, in the first-ever race of the category.
“I want to become a professional“, confides Capitanio. “It is extremely banal, but also very hard to make happen. Happily, from my first tests with Oregon Team and the Renault Sport R.S. 01, I knew I had a chance and the prize was motivating !”
Indisputable regularity and speed !
His retirement in the Sprint race at Spa dropped him to eighth place in the category. Nevertheless, the Italian came back quickly with a podium results, both in Sprint and the intermediate classification in the Endurance races. At the Nürburgring, he took his first victory before going on for more at Le Mans and Jerez.
“We had to work to close the performance gap to the best. At the Nürburgring it all came together and it was great to get my first individual win in motor racing and get the better of some excellent adversaries.”
Like a sign, it was at Le Mans where the Roman won his championship and a drive in next year’s 24-Hours of Le Mans in the LM P2 category, less than 24 hours after clinching, with David Fumanelli, the Endurance title.
“We battled with Richard and I was able to take the lead at the first corner before managing my race and the attacks. On the radio, no one told me how many laps remained. When I saw the chequered flag, it was indescribable ! In one word : paradise !”
The Elite in 2016 !
At the conclusion of the season, Dario Capitanio declined his prize and the 24-Hours of Le Mans and set new objectives.
“The prize in the Prestige Class was enormous and influenced my decision to turn towards the Renault Sport Trophy. Before that, the 24-Hours of Le Mans was a dream that to me seemed extremely hard to reach.”
“During the season, I realized that the title was a real possibility and I began to think about it. My budget is not unlimited and at my age, it is important to be supported and show my potential over the course of a season rather than on one race, even as legendary as it is. It seems more reasonable to me to put in a second year in the Renault Sport Trophy, in the Elite category. I will be up against stronger competitors and the possibility to take part in the official Nismo driver selection at the end of the year. So, I asked Renault Sport Technologies if it would be possible to convert my prize and they agreed. I want to thank them and I look forward to start my preparation for 2016 !”
“This phase is ideal for my career. The categories organized by Renault are at a very good level and furnish the best preparation for getting started, learning and progressing. I’m going to push my limits and please the people who help me. It is fantastic to share my emotions and victories with them, as well as Jerry and Giorgio at Oregon Team. They offered me this opportunity, while believing in me no matter what happens. You can’t put a price on that.”
Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault Sport Technologies Motorsport Director : “In the space of one season, Dario has taken his place in the history of the Renault Sport Trophy : first race winner, first champion and first to win two titles ! These results didn’t come by accident. Dario used all his talent to mix speed and consistency ; two must have qualities to be successful in motor racing. The competition was fierce, but he was able to win with style and conviction. Dario was to take part in the 2016 24-Hours of Le Mans in LM P2, but he has chosen a different, long-term, route. After discussions, we now look forward to seeing him battle with the Elite drivers in the superior category and hope he will show the quality of the formation he received after a year in Prestige !”
Born : 11 April 1995 in Rome (Italy)
2008-2011 : Karting
2012 : Formula Renault 2.0 Italia (3rd)
2013 : Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS (22nd)
2014 : Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS (7th)
2015 : Renault Sport Trophy Prestige (Winner), Renault Sport Trophy Endurance (Winner)