It’s evident when driving through the streets of Sao Paulo that Brazilians are extremely passionate about motorsport.   Ayrton Senna murals are painted on building sides and under bridges all over this massive city.  As a result this South American country has not only produced the world’s most legendary driver (Senna) but also some great racing circuits and outstanding INDYCAR drivers.

One of my favorite racetracks is here in Brazil.  Without a doubt, it was one of the most unique ovals ever built (the exception being Trenton, NJ). The Circuito de Jacarepaguá in Rio was quite a site to be seen in the mid-90’s when INDYCAR came to town.

Rio, in every definition of the word, was a Roval.  Turn 1 was a sharp corner, requiring the drivers to get on the brakes, downshift once (maybe twice) and jump back on the throttle. Turn 2 was wide open all the way to turn 3 which was full throttle for some drivers and then back on to the brakes for turn 4.  The layout produced great passing and promoted aggressive driving.

Rio was also the site of one of the most spectacular shunts in INDYCAR history.  Mark Blundell essentially tore down the outside wall in Turn 1 when his brakes failed going down the front stretch.  He made an attempt to collect his teammate to help soften the impact but he just  barely missed.  The resulting impact is terrifying and miraculously Blundell emerged from the car unscathed.  Fast forward in the above video to the 10:40 mark for video of the incident.

The list of Brazilian drivers who have driven in INDYCAR is long and prestigious.  With names like Fittipaldi, Kanaan, and Castroneves, Brazilian drivers have proved that they are and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

Emerson Fittipaldi, one of the greatest drivers in any car, was one of my favorite drivers growing up. “Emmo” was fast, brave, and exciting to watch.  Below is video from one of Emerson’s hard fought battles with Nigel Mansell.

For many people when they think of the IZOD IndyCar Series they think of Helio Castroneves.  The personable, excitable, and energetic Brazilian 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner has been a staple of the IZOD IndyCar Series for many years now.  His personality, passion for racing, and on camera antics have been great for the sport.  What some seem to miss, especially lately, is how impressive Helio is behind the wheel.

Tony Kanaan is without a doubt one of the fiercest competitors in the IZOD IndyCar Series.  The tough driver from Salvador, Brazil has proved this year that just because he’s changed teams it doesn’t mean he can be ignored.  Taking KV Racing Technologies to some of their best finishes in recent memory TK has proudly positioned himself in 3rd position in the overall points standings.  If you watched the Indianapolis 500 last year and didn’t pay attention to Kanaan’s drive you missed one of the most exciting and entirely legendary performances a the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Starting 33rd and passing 22 cars to finish in 11th position was nothing short of miraculous.  TK showed once again that he’s not lost a step and certainly hasn’t lost any of his nerve, the man is still a master of the outside pass.

Comments

There are 9 comments for this post.

  1. Marco Andrade on April 30, 2011 10:25 am
    Marco Andrade

    Welcome to Brazil, we really loves motor sport.
    Welcome all the Indy racing fans!!
    Its possible to race in any others states, its a big contry with diferente landscape, accent, adventure, etc.
    We love this race!

  2. anthony on April 30, 2011 3:06 pm
    anthony

    This was awesome. Go back!!! NOW! better spectacle in racing. Indy needs to fix it’s street course/road course ratio to ovals. Bottom line MORE OVALS. Streets and road courses are cool in moderation but come on! single file parades is what they usually translate to. That and strategy. That’s not racing. Chicagoland had amazing racing action and super close finishes. I blame the track promoters at Chicagoland for that. It was so fun to go there. no bad seat in the house and awesome action. Randy Barnhardt MORE OVALS please! 70 % ovals and race 30% streets/roads. Oh yeah and please make an indycar game for xbox 360. Come on get with it. Not everyone can afford or be an I-racing snob. Get a good developer behind you like codemasters or the folks who just made the NASCAR game. Make it fun and very playable. and don’t rush it!!!

  3. Greg on May 1, 2011 12:53 pm
    Greg

    the IndyCar officials should be embarrassed to start the race today! The choice to start the race in the rain…idiots! what…6 ruined cars in the first 9 laps. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Hey, how about waiting 30 minutes, an hour, 2 hours to start the race…or modifying the start of the race to single file…poor choices. poor leadership.

  4. Ken on May 1, 2011 9:35 pm
    Ken

    Sao Paulo, a JOKE; INDY CARS on road/street courses, a JOKE. Witness the absurdity of Indy cars trying to race in the rain. A junk pile materialized. When will the Indy league wise up and drop all road/street courses and get back to the real grass roots of Indy Car/Open wheel racing and RUN on ALL OVALS ONLY.

  5. Chris on May 2, 2011 7:45 am
    Chris

    Hi, I think ovals are supermega boring… As a 3rd world country, we are trying our best to make a great race. I don´t know if the drivers are being just polite, but I´ve heard that pilots found the track very interesting. Sorry for the weather…

  6. Tom on May 2, 2011 3:34 pm
    Tom

    Please, you Americans are so boring

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