Brazilians love to brag about the leading race drivers that they have given to the world: Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa all rank among the top Formula 1 drivers of their generations. Fittipaldi also went on to make his mark in the Indy Series. It should be no wonder then that Brazil hosts major international motor sports events and boasts a healthy domestic racing scene.
São Paulo Auto Racing Attractions
In addition to attending the races, auto racing enthusiasts often like to visit the Interlagos Kart Track, where many leading Brazilian drivers got their starts, and the grave of Ayrton Senna in the Morumbi Cemetery.
Formula 1 Brazil
The 2010 Grande Prêmio do Brasil will take place on November 7 at São Paulo's Interlagos Speedway; the track is formally named the Carlos Pace Autódromo, but no cab driver will know that name. Ask to be taken to the “Autódromo de Interlagos.” For tickets, go to the official GP Brasil website (Portuguese only) or the official Formula 1 website. For personalized service, try the travel agency Easygoing Brazil.
Where to Stay for the Formula 1 in São Paulo
Hotel Transamerica - The Transamerica serves as headquarters for the race. If you aren’t careful, you’ll run into drivers at the breakfast buffet during the week before the race. Avenida Nacões Unidas, 18.591; telephone: +55 11 5693-4511.
The Formula Indy Series in Brazil
On March 14, 2010, São Paulo will host the opening race of the F-Indy series, marking the return of that category to Brazil after an extended absence. The Streets of São Paulo Race will open the F-Indy schedule for the year. The course will start in the Anhembi Sambódromo, the parade grounds used for the annual Carnaval spectacle, and run through nearby streets. Tickets are expected to be made available through the event’s anchor sponsor, the (Portuguese only), and via the official F-Indy website.
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The Brazilian Stock Car Series
The Brazilian Stock Car Series is the country’s most important domestic auto racing championship. It consists of 12 races in 10 different cities. Races are generally held on Sundays. The average attendance per race in 2009 was about 35,000. The best known track is São Paulo’s Interlagos, which also hosts the Brazilian leg of the international Formula 1 Series. Some races, notably the one in Salvador, take place on open road courses. According to driver Nonô Figueiredo, the stock car series is most popular in the southern part of Brazil. The series is televised by the Globo network.
The series began in 1979. For the better part of two decades, it operated at a semi-pro level. Through most of the early years, racers drove a souped-up version of the Opala, a mid-sized Chevy that General Motors used to sell in Brazil. Now the 32 drivers from 16 multi-sponsored teams race cars specially designed and built by JL Racing Products in a factory just a few kilometers outside of the city of São Paulo. JL Racing Products is run by Zequinha Giaffone, younger brother of Affonso Giaffone, the driver who one the first race in 1979. The cars are similar to those in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) Series in Europe, but in recognition of Brazil’s economic constraints, they ring in at about one-tenth of the price. To control costs, parts are often adapted from high performance passenger vehicles. The main drawback is that the car weighs in at about 100 kilos more than a DTM model. Starting in 2010 Brazilian stock cars will run on 100% ethanol fuel. The series organizers plant trees to off-set carbon emissions.
Prior to the races, fans can visit the boxes. Sponsors hand out caps and other paraphernalia, and drivers sign autographs and pose for pictures.
The 2010 Brazilian Stock Car Series Schedule
March 28 – São Paulo - Autódromo Municipal de Interlagos. For travel information, see our Guide to São Paulo.
April 11 – Curitiba, Paraná - Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba. For more about the city of Curitiba and the state of Paraná, browse our section on Southern Brazil.
April 25 – Santa Cruz do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul - Autódromo Internacional de Santa Cruz do Sul. For more about the state of Rio Grande do Sul, browse our section on Southern Brazil.
May 23 - Rio de Janeiro - Autódromo de Jacarepaguá. For travel details, see our Guide to Rio de Janeiro
June 6 – To be determined
August 8 – Salvador, Bahia – street circuit. For more about the city of Salvador and the state of Bahia, browse our section on Northeastern Brazil.
September 5 – Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul - Autódromo Internacional Orlando Moura. For more about the city of Campo Grande and the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, browse our Central Brazil section.
September 19 – São Paulo - Autódromo Municipal de Interlagos. For travel information, see our Guide to São Paulo.
October 10 – Londrina, Paraná - Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna. For more about the city of Curitiba and the state of Paraná, browse our section on Southern Brazil.
November 7 – Porto Alegre - Autódromo Internacional de Tarumã - For more about the city of Porto Alegre and the state of Rio Grande do Sul, browse our section on Southern Brazil.
November 21 – Brasília - Autódromo Nélson Piquet. For more about Brasília, browse our Central Brazil section.
December 5 - Curitiba, Paraná - Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba. For more about the city of Curitiba and the state of Paraná, browse our section on Southern Brazil.