Brazilian Auto Racer Full Speed Ahead on Canadian Tracks.
by Marta Almeida
Translated by Loretta Murphy
Born in Juiz de Fora, in the state of Minas Gerais, Bruno Chapinotti has been passionate about auto racing since he was a child. He inherited his passion for speed from his father, Mauri Chapinotti, a Rally driver. As with many drivers, he began his career with kart racing. Bruno raced on a team that belonged to his father’s company. His first time is engraved in his memory: “My father had to train harder and he came home with a kart on the truck. When I saw it, I was amazed. I couldn’t even sleep that night. The next day at practice, I stayed on the sidelines watching my father drive, and I was so eager to drive as well. At the time I had a lot of allergies, but despite the dust from the track and the smoke from the kart, I didn’t have any reactions: I think that was the day I was cured!”
At the end of the session, Bruno got in the kart and didn’t want to get out. His father had to promise a kart just for him as a birthday present and before he was 8, he had already begun competing on the race tracks. His first victory was in 1989. In his first year of auto racing, he had the privilege of being trained by Tche, Ayrton Senna’s mentor and first coach. “He taught me how to study every turn, how to stop the car faster and how to pick up more speed,” said Bruno. There were several championships in Brazil. Bruno won national titles competing with drivers such as Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna, Nelson Piquet Jr., Cristiano da Matta, Antonio Pizzonia and Raphael Matos who would later become the elite of the Brazilian auto racing scene. Among his many victories, one win was very special, “I was Brazilian Shift Kart champion, just months after losing my best friend, my greatest supporter, my father … It was not easy to hold back the tears, but that hard-won victory was for him.”
Challenges and Victories in Canada
In 2005, Bruno immigrated to Canada. He found another job, but motor racing remained alive in him. After 13 years away from the tracks, he made a comeback. In 2014, he competed in the “Toyo Tires F1600 Championship/Super Series, BGR Team Grote” and this year he also won the “GT3 Porsche Cup Challenge” race. “Winning the first race in the Porsche GT3 Cup this year after having stopped for so many years was very exciting for me. After so many struggles, my passion was even greater. I dedicate this victory to Jesus who is with me at all times.” For the Brazilian driver, the greatest challenge of his career these days is getting sponsorship.
Bruno works with a team of five people: Jack Cayne (Manager), Adam McDonald (Physical Trainer), Marcelo Freitas (Photographer and Public Relations), André Freitas (Marketing & Web) and his wife Thamyris Chapinotti. For the next season, he also has the support of his friend Blair Hilder, who has followed every race and wants to invest in the Brazilian driver next year.
The preparation never stops. Bruno trains 3 times a day in the gym and practices cycling. Costs are high. He has met with more than 30 entrepreneurs seeking support. “I feel that many companies in Canada are not well informed of the possibilities and the benefits granted to those who invest in a sport,” he laments. Even with these difficulties, he is preparing to compete in Spain with Porsche and in the Stock Car Brazil in São Paulo and Goiania. His goal is the Formula Indy and to win the Indianapolis 500. He doesn’t lack motivation. “I have the support of my family, which is always present, and my passion for racing. I was born with something inside of me and I have to be near a steering wheel, tires, the sound of engines, and the smell of oil. ”