Brazilians invest in the Indy

Brazilian fuel, drivers and investors secure their presence in one of the main automobile competitions in the world.

By Sacha Vaz


The Indaycar series is one of the most favourite sports for North Americans, just as soccer is for Brazilians. On average, around 93,000 people attend each race. The most important of the Indy races, the Indianapolis 500, is televised to over 344 million homes in 203 countries. According to research, the profile of the Indy fan is a citizen with a good scholastic level and high income (US$ 81 thousand/year), and with a higher brand loyalty than the average consumer.

Apex-Brasil, a Brazilian promotional export and investment agency, was a pioneer in identifying the Indycar series as an opportunity to promote business between Brazilian and foreign companies during the races in Brazil, Canada, the United States and Japan. In 2010, the partnership between Apex-Brasil and the Indy yielded US$ 589 million in business for Brazilian companies. The expectation is that it will reach a value of US$ 700 million, in 2011.

“We have expanded our contacts during the races, which would have been impossible if it were not inside the Indy environment. For us, this project was a great opportunity to reinforce the image of Brazilian coffee abroad”, says Nathan Herszkowicz, Executive Director of the Associação Brasileira das Indústrias de Café (ABIC) / Brazilian Association of Coffee Industries.

According to the Special Project Coordinator for Apex-Brasil at the Indy, Maurício Manfrê, the main focus of the project are companies who already have some maturity in exports. “Participants can take guests to networking events; develop actions for image and media for the Internet, TV and radio; promote products by distributing gifts and sampling, and also suggest different actions”, he states.

“Apex-Brasil knows how to incredibly explore the Indy races and the Toronto Grand Prix, is no different. The structure is perfect for uniting Brazilian exporters with Canadian importers, with a wide range of products and services”, comments Afonso Cardoso, the Brazilian General Consul in Toronto.

The Brazilian presence at the Indy is even more notable when we see the ranking in the 2011 season. In all, six Brazilian drivers participate in the races. Tony Kanaan is in the best position in the championship, and up to the closing of this edition, he was in 5th place. Hélio Castroneves, follows in 12th place. Vitor Meira in 13th, Ana Beatriz in 22nd, Raphael Matos in 27th and finally Bruno Junqueira, in 41st place.

Besides this, all the cars run on Brazilian ethanol, supplied by the União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar (Unica), making it the first and only race run on 100% clean and renewable energy. The partnership with Unica and the Indy was sealed in 2009, through Apex-Brasil.

Brazil x Canada

Apex-Brasil has already “taken off” in the Canadian market. In 2010, the company participated in Brazilian Flavours, on the Harbourfront in Toronto, and also at the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), where Brazilian companies were introduced to the great investment potential of the Greater Toronto Area. In 2011, Apex-Brasil supported ABVCAP (Brazilian Association of Venture Capital and Private Equity) at a conference of the Canadian investment fund, in Vancouver.

According to data from the Central Bank, Canada has already invested US$ 504 million in Brazil in 2011, which places the country as the 7th largest investor in Brazil this year. Recently, Talon Metals, for example, acquired two large iron mines in the state of Pará. This year, Petrobras visited Canada to prospect petroleum equipment exploration companies. Right now, petroleum is one of the most attractive sectors for investment in Brazil, as a result of the exploration of oil reserves in the pré-sal in the Atlantic Ocean.