Successful maiden Mini Challenge season for young driver Louie Capozzoli
Dean Cornish reviews Louie Cappozoli's car racing debut
Louie Capozzoli had an amazing debut season in car racing.
Louie was competing in the very competitive MINI CHALLENGE UK TROPHY CHAMPIONSHIP.
The Silverstone UTC high performance engineering student, only passed his ARDS racing licence in September 2020.
The season started with a BTCC test event at THRUXTON in early April, where Louie showed front running pace at the and was looking good for round 1 at Snetterton.
It was a mixed weekend, Louie was fast in practice showing top three pace but unfortunately qualifying didn’t quite go to plan. Louie got caught up in traffic so only qualified 16th.
Louie made up for his poor qualifying and had a fantastic race going from 16th to 6th on track with some excellent overtaking and setting the fastest lap. unfortunately the race got red flagged and ended early so went back a lap, meaning Louie finished 8th still an excellent result for his 1st race.
Louie started on reverse grid pole. he made a good start holding the lead for a few laps but then a small tap unsettled his car causing him to lose 2 positions but louie stuck with the front 2 and was looking good for a podium. Unfortunately mid race someone crashed into Louie causing a lot of damage, meaning Louie had a dnf.
A disappointing end to a positive weekend but still managed fastest lap award.
Round 3,4,5 was a BTCC event at Thruxton
Louie had a fantastic qualifying finishing 4th out 34 drivers
Race 1 was amazing. Louie started 4th and had a superb start and had got into the lead by the end of lap 1. It was a tough race with the lead was swapping between the front 4 every lap, with Thruxton being a very tow dependent track it was hard to drop the pack. Louie led the most laps throughout the race and was leading going onto the last lap but with the three behind working together they were able to pass him heading into the last corner.
It was so nearly Louie's first podium of 2021 but 4th was still a fantastic result, and a great way to bounce back from the incident at Snetterton.
Louie started 4th he made a great start and moved into 3rd through turn 1 but then disaster struck in turn 2 as Louie got hit from behind, spinning him around.
Louie was now facing the oncoming pack and unfortunately two cars couldn't avoid crashing into him head on, one car flipping over on to its roof. The race was red flagged.
Thankfully all the drivers were unhurt, but unfortunately for Louie his car was written off, meaning Louie would miss the two televised itv4 races.
It was nearly a season ending incident, luckily we had seven weeks until the next round which enabled us to get the finances together to build a brand new car.
Louie's team did an amazing job with only three weeks to go until Brands Hatch and round 3 they stripped his wrecked car salvaged anything still good and useable and transferred it to brand new car.
Round 6,7 Brands Hatch
The new car had a couple of teething problems in testing but the team worked hard and sorted any issues, Louie was then able to show his true pace in the wet, posting fastest times in the last two sessions.
Qualifying was tricky the track was damp but drying, but Louie was driving fantastic and was on pole from early in the session and held it until the very last lap being pipped to pole by 0.0002. So Louie qualified 2nd.
Louie made a great start and settled in following Championship leader Matt Hammond the pair were head and shoulders above the rest of the field and they worked together pushing away from the rest of the field. Louie took fastest lap on his way to his first podium of 2021 with a great 2nd place.
Race 2 Reverse grid
So Louie started 7th. He had a fantastic start and was cutting his way through the pack moving towards the front with some great overtaking manoeuvres.
By mid race Louie had set the fastest lap of the weekend and then soon took the lead of the race.
He pulled a small gap on 2nd but then a lap later he made a slight mistake at paddock hill bend dipping a wheel in the gravel it allowed the chasing pack to sweep past.
Louie tucked back into 10th. the car kept pulling left with possible damage to the tracking. Somehow he managed to get back up to 7th and with 1st to 7th nose to tail it was a close battle to the finish line.
Another solid weekend Louie's first podium fastest lap award and top rookie.
Round 8,9 Oulton Park international
Louie was unable to test on the Friday as it was sold out
Qualifying went well considering and Louie qualified a fantastic 6th.
Louie started 6th he made a good start and moved up to 4th, it was a good but hard race with the front 6-7 battling for the lead. With many position changes throughout the race.
The front three were all defending making it tough to pass, it was a great race and another good result. He finished 4th and top rookie.
Louie started 5th he made a great start and made it unto 3rd but on lap 2 going into turn 3 he suffered brake failure, meaning louie dropped down the field, he managed to limp the car around for a couple of laps but then there was a major accident causing a red flag and race end meaning louie finished a disappointing 22nd.
Qualifying Louie had another solid qualifying finishing 4th with 0.122 separating the front 4
Louie had an amazing race starting 4th and gradually overtaking the 3 in front he hit the front and maintained a gap to 2nd setting the fastest lap on route to his first win.
Unfortunately after the race Louie received a penalty for slight contact. Meaning he dropped from 1st to 8th. A disappointing end to a brilliant race.
Louie started 8th on a wet/ damp track he made a fantastic start and within a few laps he was battling for the lead unfortunately the track dried quicker than anticipated and Louie's tyres started to overheat.
He dropped back from the lead and was involved in a 6 car battle for 2nd to 8th a great race with lots of place swapping, Louie eventually finished 6th.
A good solid weekend and fastest lap award
Thruxton 12,13,14 BTCC EVENT LIVE ITV4
Race 1 Louie was starting from 5th he had an absolutely amazing race with the top 6 swapping places every other corner throughout the entire race. Some amazing overtaking from Louie and he lead the most laps in a thrilling race.
Louie finally had his first win.
Top rookie and the win.
Louie started from pole, it was another thrilling race with multiple lead swaps throughout the race. Some fantastic overtaking and Louie managed to secure his 2nd win of the season.
Another top rookie and win
Race 3 Reverse grid
Louie started 9th and it was another amazing race with lots of overtaking and Louie making his way through the field trying to make it too another podium.
Louie had made his way through to 4th and was closing in on the front 3. It was looking like the last 4 laps would be very interesting as a 5 way battle was hotting up for the top step.
Unfortunately an incident caused a red flag and the race ended early.
Still a great result finishing 4th
Louie's best weekend of the season and it was on itv4, 2 x 1st, 1x 4th. Amazing!
Qualifying louie was amazing 3rd
Louie drove fantastic he moved into the lead early then had a battle with the championship leader, the lead changed hands twice but then Louie controlled the race from the front and he and 2nd built a comfortable lead.
A win at Louie's home track was amazing and top rookie as well as the win
Louie started from pole it was another fantastic race lots of lead changes early on then mid race it settled down louie was in 2nd hunting the leader but he just couldn't find away past.
Still a fantastic result 2nd and another podium. Top rookie.
What an amazing race live on tv, Louie started 9th in the reverse grid it was going to be tough but Louie would be giving it his all.
A fantastic start making up a few places early then gradually reeling in the leading group picking them off one by one with 4 laps to go Louie had got up into 2nd 1st was defending for his life. Louie was looking for ways to pass him but the leader kept closing the door, then going on to the last lap Louie sold 1st a dummy going one way then cutting back and getting under him the leader squeezed him over the kerb and onto the grass with Louie's car bouncing around, his dash lit up abs failure light on but he still took the lead.
Only 4 corners to navigate but now with abs failure. Louie managed to hold on until the last but one corner he knew he would have to brake earlier due to the abs problem. He was under attack from both sides he tried defending the inside as well as trying to cover off the outside, unfortunately his brakes were bad he just about made the corner despite breaking early.
It allowed one car braking later to get around him but it also opened the door for 3rd, 2nd went off track to carry momentum which then gave him the inside line for the last corner.
'3rd tried driving around my outside, both made contact with me ripping my front bumper virtually off," said Louie. "It was a 3 car drag race to the line I finished 3rd with my bumper dragging on the ground. Still a fantastic result 9th to 3rd, getting me a triple podium at Silverstone, a superb finale to my debut season in cars.
Over the year Louis finished as:
Vice champion 2021
Rookie champion 2021
6 x Rookie wins
3 x fastest lap awards
13 x top 10 finishes out 15 races
6 top 6 qualifying out 7
' It was an amazing season. I had the most laps lead throughout the season and I missed 2 races.
He would like to thank all his sponsors :
Simpson race exhausts
Piers dowell paintwork