Mauricio Gugelmin, who hails from the Brazilian city of Curitiba, at the request of the Brazilian Government filmed a Public Service Announcement in support of strict new driving rules recently introduced into law. In the 30 second spot, ...
Mauricio Gugelmin, who hails from the Brazilian city of Curitiba, at the request of the Brazilian Government filmed a Public Service Announcement in support of strict new driving rules recently introduced into law.
In the 30 second spot, Gugelmin says, "My wife gets worried when I drive my race car on the track, But she doesn't know that I probably worry more every time she drives on the street." He then briefly explains the Transit Code and encourages safe, responsible driving. Gugelmin, 34, was named the Top Brazilian Driver of 1997 by Racing, Brazil's top motorsports publication. He took one victory and three pole positions in CART competition, including a world closed-course speed record of 240.942 mph at California Speedway. Brazil has produced a large number of world-class drivers in Formula 1 and Champ Cars, including Ayrton Senna and Emerson Fittipaldi.
But the nation's reputation for developing fast and aggressive racing drivers as carried over onto its streets and highways. Around 50,000 Brazilians are killed in road accidents annually, compared to around 41,000 Americans - despite ten times as many vehicles in the United States. The new Transit Code is intended to make driving in Brazil a safer proposition through greater enforcement of laws and tougher penalties. In addition, a point system has been introduced to penalize frequent traffic offenders.
"The new rules will be a bit of a culture shock for Brazilians," said Gugelmin, who kicks off the 1998 FedEx Championship on March 15 at Homestead, FL. "The most important thing is for the new laws to be strongly enforced, but also with fairness and consistency. Drivers need to understand and accept the new rules and then driver responsibly. Hopefully many lives will be saved."
Gugelmin, affectionately known as "Big Mo" within the racing community, filmed the Public Service Announcement in a studio near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, It will be broadcast regularly on Brazilian network television during primetime viewing hours.