Vale Angelo Parrilla

Iconic karting identity and co-founder of the famous DAP brand, Angelo Parrilla passed away in Italy on Friday, April 14.

Parrilla had visited Australia multiple times and was last here in 2014 for the Australian Vintage Kart Prix at Ipswich.

Parrilla (right) with Harm Schuurman and a couple of Graham Powles’ restored karts prior to the 2014 Vintage event (pic – KA)

Journalist and former karter Chris Lambden posted the following on the British Historic Kart Club page:

Sad news, with the passing on Friday, aged 77, of Angelo Parrilla, head of the little Italian DAP kart engine (and chassis) business back in karting’s ‘golden era’.

The business was a partnership between Angelo and his (pianist) brother Achille. Angelo is of course most recognised as the person who ran Ayrton Senna through his international karting career – from mid 1978, full time through to end of 1980, and with occasional big event ‘returns’ after the young up-and-comer had started Formula Ford racing in ’81/2.

A little earlier in 1978, DAP – which had been a growing thorn in the side of the big dominant IAME kart engine company (Komet, Parilla – no connection – engines), won its first major international race, with Terry Fullerton (DAP-powered Zip kart) taking out the season-starting Champions Cup at Jesolo, before going on to win a host of races and championships that year.


Both Ayrton and TF came tantalisingly close to winning a world title for DAP – both would have been justified – in the end it was Dutchman Peter Koene who did so (at Ayrton’s expense, in 1979 – due to a one-off change in the three-final tie-breaker rules). TF had it shot to pieces in 1980, only for a cruel mechanical issue to take it away in sight of victory.

After that year (’78) the DAP-engined pair – Senna and Fullerton – went at it hammer and tongs through ’79 and ’80. It was almost a preview of Senna/Prost to come …

Come 1981 and the huge IAME engine company, stung by DAP’s success, had pulled political strings and helped push through a major change in engine spec for international karting (from 100cc to 135cc – by coincidence IAME already had a suitable 125cc Komet engine in production …). DAP was not equipped or prepared for the change and thus its period of world success came, rather sadly, to an end, along with what is generally recognised as the ‘golden era’ of international kart racing.

With Senna’s rise to F1 greatness, Angelo became something of a celebrity – known as the man whose karting business gave the Brazilian’s career its international kick start, something he was always immensely proud of.

Thoughts are with Achille and the Parrilla family – a sad day.