Former Grand Prix driver Marco Apicella – the man who holds the record for the shortest race distance covered in his Grand Prix career – is celebrating his 48th birthday today!
Click here to read last year’s exclusive interview with Marco, and you can also read on to learn more about this fascinating Italian…
Apicella’s career in F1 is statistically the shortest of any driver: just 800 metres in anger at the start of the Italian Grand Prix for Jordan before he was taken out at the first corner. It marked the end of his career, for at the next race, the merry-go-round that was the second race seat at Jordan in 1993 went to Emanuele Naspetti, and later to Eddie Irvine just a round after that.
While Irvine was able to use his Jordan debut as a platform to launch a race-winning F1 career, for Marco, his career in F1 ended then and there.
Marco’s talent was clear for all to see in his early years, and it certainly looked like he would graduate to F1 based on his early form. A success in karting, he leaped straight into Formula 3 in 1984, and competed there for three seasons against the likes of Stefano Modena, Fabrizio Barbazza, Gabriele Tarquini, Alex Caffi and Nicola Larini – to whom he would finish runner-up in 1986.
In 1987, he graduated to Formula 3000 with the Euroventurini outfit, but it was not a success – although he had his first taste of F1 machinery with a test for Minardi at Estoril.
In 1988, he moved in with the FIRST team, staying there for two seasons and finishing fourth overall in 1989 – behind Jean Alesi, Erik Comas and Eric Bernard despite not winning a race. He jumped ship to Paul Stewart Racing – figuring its race-winning pedigree would surely propel him into F1 – but they were saddled with the Lola chassis just when Reynard started to come good.
He stayed in Japan for 1994 and took the Japanese crown with some impressive wins and podium finishes. He stayed on in the championship in 1995 and 1996, but couldn’t replicate the same success.
But it was his lengthy association with DOME that saw him drafted in to test their F1 prototype, but sadly it came to nought.
By now, Marco had switched to GT racing – debuting at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1995 – and his involvement in motorsport tailed off in the late 1990s, although he returned to his homeland and won races in the Italian F3000 championship in 1999.
He returned to Japan in 2000, where he has largely remained ever since in their domestic GT series, driving for the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini and Toyota.