Pietro Fittipaldi targeting first family Le Mans win

Grandson of two-time Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, 19-year-old Pietro is aiming to become the first in the family to win the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The Fittipaldi family can boast wins in F1, NASCAR, the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Daytona, leaving the iconic Le Mans endurance classic as the biggest accolade missing from the list.

"Of course, I want to do Le Mans," Fittipaldi told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview. "No one in my family has won it, although we have finished second several times.

"We have won F1, Indy 500, Daytona 24 hours, even in NASCAR, but we have never won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so if I get an opportunity to race in a good team, I'll be the first one.

Christian Fittipaldi and Pietro's uncle Max Papis have both competed in Le Mans, with Papis finishing second in class twice in 2004 and 2005.

Although he wants to do Le Mans, Pietro ruled out sportscar racing for the time being, as he sets out a clear goal of competing in F1, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Emerson.

Talking more about his family tradition, the Brazilian noted the contribution of Christian, Papis and Nelson Piquet Jr towards his fledgling career.

"My uncle Max Papis married to my mom's sister, he helps me a lot and also Christian Fittipaldi, my mom's cousin. I don't see them as idols but more like friends or mentor.

"Also Nelson Piquet Jr, I am really good friends with him and he also helps me out, guides me."

Piquet's younger brother Pedro is poised to move to European F3 next season, but when asked about the Brazilian rivalry in racing, Pietro was quick to dismiss the 'nationality' factor.

"I don't see it like that, Pedro is my friend. On track, I don't really care what flag or name he has, I am competing against him as a driver and racing everyone," he said.

Difficult F3 season

In his first year in the European F3 with Fortec Motorsports, Pietro finished 17th overall and eighth in the rookie standings after a tough season in a competitive class of 2015.

"It was difficult, I was expecting a bit more, I did the best job I could, the team did the best job they could but for some reasons we were just inconsistent," the Brazilian said.

"It was me or the car, I don't know. From one round, we were competitive, like in the top four or five and we go to the next round, we were 25. The car suited some of the tracks and others it didn't."

With Pietro not racing in Macau, the 19-year-old is already looking ahead for the next season of F3.

He competed in the Indian-based MRF Challenge at Yas Marina, where he notched up three podium finishes, including a win, to keep himself prepared as he analyses his options for next year.

Next logical move is GP2

As he aims for a F1 drive, Pietro looking ahead reckons his next move will be to GP2 and not GP3.

"People keep saying that GP3 is ahead of F3 but for me honestly I think they are quite similar," he said.

"If you see throughout the field, the top GP3 drivers are obviously good, but in general if you look at the whole field, F3 is more competitive. So, for me the next step will be GP2 than GP3."

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About this article
Series Le Mans , F3 Europe , Indian Open Wheel
Drivers Pietro Fittipaldi
Article type Interview
Tags mrf challenge