Cape Motorsports has announced the second of its four Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship drivers for 2021, confirming New York native Michael d’Orlando will return to contest his second year with the team.
The 18-year-old scored a victory at Mid-Ohio and four additional podium finishes with Cape Motorsports in 2020, ranking fourth in the final season standings. With the top three in the final championship points battle moving up the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder this season, d’Orlando becomes one of the presumptive favorites to capture the scholarship valued at $401,305 which guarantees a full season of competition in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2022. He joins Thomas Nepveu as the first two confirmed drivers for the Indianapolis-based squad.
“We started this journey with Michael over a year ago and we’re extremely excited to have him back for our 2021 campaign,” said Dominic and Nicholas Cape. “Michael finished fourth in the 2020 championship with a victory, five podiums, and 10 top-five finishes. He will be one of the main contenders for the 2021 championship, and as a team we will give him all the tools he needs to accomplish his goals.”
Cape Motorsports brings a wealth of experience to the 2021 title chase, with 13 driver championships to their credit – including nine of the last 10. D’Orlando hopes to add his name to the illustrious list.
“I’m super excited to be back with Dom and Nick [Cape] and the entire team for my second full year in the USF2000 championship,” said d’Orlando. “The amount I learned last year is impossible to put into words and I can’t wait to build on it this season. We were quick in the off-season testing so I’m super excited to see what speed we can bring to all of the races this year. Together we have the ability to fight for the championship.”
Starting his karting career at age 6, d’Orlando scored a number of championship titles including the 2013 US Rotax Grand National Mini MAX championship, the 2014 Florida Winter Tour TaG Cadet championship, and the 2016 Florida Winter Tour Rotax Junior MAX Championship. He competed at the top level of national and international karting, earning a spot on Team USA for the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals Micro & Mini invitational in 2013 and the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals in 2016. He was runner up in the 2016 US Rotax Grand Nationals and in the Florida Winter Tour TaG Cadet class and competed as a factory driver for Italy’s Birel ART team in CIK-FIA (2016) and the WSK Masters (2017).
Transitioning to cars, d’Orlando competed in four USF2000 race weekends in 2018, capturing three top-10 finishes. He also competed in four F4 US Championship Powered by Honda events in 2019, with a podium at COTA and five top-10s. Signing with Cape Motorsports in 2020, he had a breakthrough season, earning a dominant victory at Mid-Ohio along with four additional podiums to claim fourth in the season-ending championship.
The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires opens April 15-18 at Barber Motorsports Park.