Marco Apicella started in karts and graduated to Italian F3, racing alongside Caffi, Tarquini, Larini and Barbazza in 1984. He was quick but somewhat erratic. In 1985 he joined Coperchini team and drove three different chassis, taking a couple of wins at Misano and finishing fourth in the championship.
In 1986 he was teamed with Larini in Enzo Coloni's Dallaras and the young hot-shots dominated proceedings, with Apicella taking the runner-up slot.
The following year he went to Formula 3000 with the Euroventurini without success, he also did his first F1 test in a Minardi in Estoril.
In 1988 he joined First Racing in 1988 and in 1989 he finished fourth in the championship behind Jean Alesi, Erik Comas and Eric Bernard without taking a win. In 1990 he got a test drive with the Modena Team in F1 and later in the year went to Japan to test the Reynard-Mugen F1 prototype. He also did some more F1 testing with Minardi.
1991 was his fifth season in Formula 3000. He joined Paul Stewart Racing but he finished a dissapointing fifth, so in 1992 he travelled to Japan to try his luck there with Dome. In 1992 and 1993 he finally started to win a few races and due to this he was offered a drive with Jordan for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He qualified 23rd and at the first corner got caught up in someone else's accident and retired. That was it for Apicella's F1 career.
However it must have given him confidence as the following year he wass crowned 1994 All-Japan F3000 champion driving for the Dome team. Although the following year, when he raced the 5-Zigen team's Reynard, proved less successful, Apicella continued competing in Formula Nippon, turning in some solid performances, while testing the Dome F1 challenger which ultimately failed to make the grid.
He raced sports cars at Le Mans in 1995 but in the late 1990s was not seen much, although he won rounds at both Vallelunga and Misano for Monaco Motorsport in the new Italian Formula 3000 series in 1999 and came fourth place at Brno in a Riley & Scott sports car. In 2000 he went back to Japan to race touring cars and since then has been a regular in the Japanese GT series.