Monza, 13 September. Felipe Nasr is the new Formula BMW Europe champion after winning the title at the final race of the season in Monza today. The Brazilian only celebrated his 17th birthday a few weeks ago, but he has already made a name for ...
Monza, 13 September. Felipe Nasr is the new Formula BMW Europe champion after winning the title at the final race of the season in Monza today. The Brazilian only celebrated his 17th birthday a few weeks ago, but he has already made a name for himself in motorsport.
When he sat on pole for the first round of the series in Barcelona he was only taking part in his third ever car race. He had been a guest driver in the two Formula BMW Americas races supporting the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008, but prior to that his experience was limited to karting. However, this lack of experience was not obvious in the Sao Paulo races, as in the first one he was sixth and then in the second joined Alexander Rossi and Daniel Juncadella on the podium.
The driver from Brasilia comes from a traditional motor racing family, with both his father and uncle racing in Formula 3 and Stock Cars in Brazil, and started karting at the age of eight. The first steps were in the kadet class and in his first year in 2000 he was crowned Brasilia Champion. Pole positions, race wins and titles came thick and fast and by the time he was ready to take the step up into single seaters he was already noted as a youngster to watch. He was ready to move to live in Italy to contest Formula BMW Europe with the Eurointernational team that is run by the experienced extrovert Antonio Ferrari.
It didn't take Ferrari long to see the talent on offer and his explanation of how this came about thanks to BMW Motorsport's Brazilian WTCC driver, Augusto Farfus, was: "We tested him two days after the world final in Mexico City. Augusto Farfus suggested we do this and in 18 laps in one of the cars that had done the world final he was four tenths quicker than the lap record we set in the World Final. Felipe has been absolutely incredible with 14 podiums and five wins. Amazing. I found him and supported him financially, and today is a big reward."
His first weekend in Formula BMW Europe saw him start both races from pole, come second in race one and win race two. These results were no fluke as since then he has gone on to start from pole four more times, win three more races and in total has set five fastest laps. He has never finished out of the points and has been on the podium for 14 of the 16 races.
By his own admission, he has exceeded all his expectations for his first year of single seater racing. "What has happened is more than I expected, and even the team was not expecting me to win the title. It has been a long road for me
but it has been the perfect season. To win the title in my first year in Europe is amazing, especially as I never saw any of these tracks before. I just arrived, did the tests and the races and had to learn them very quickly," he said.
While he has had many high points, citing Barcelona, his win in the wet at the Nurburgring and the battles in Valencia among them, he also had some lows. "My low was when I lost my two pole positions from Silverstone. It was just one of those things, but I had to not let that affect my races," he said. In fact he did just that and, after having to start from the back of the grid, he worked his way up to eighth in both races and gained a lot of respect.
Now the youngster has to decide what his next move is in the sport. However, he can also find some time over the winter for his hobbies, which include radio controlled model cars, and video games. He also loves competing in soccer, tennis and fishing, which is a very quiet sport for a racing driver. Surprisingly his favourite racing driver is not a fellow Brazilian, but Michael Schumacher, but not so surprising is he likes reading books about Ayrton Senna and Harry Potter, and his favourite films include the Star Wars Trilogy and all the James Bond ones.
-credit: fbmw eu