Being Brazilian, my inspiration for motor racing came from Emerson Fittipaldi. Like him, England was the place to learn motor racing, so I moved there, and it was an English marque I had a long association with. My driving career saw me, in the main, driving Reynard chassis—right from my beginning racing in the junior formula through to the winning of the CART series in 2000 and 2001. Firstly, I was in Formula Ford, then Formula Three, then I signed with Paul Stewart Racing for Formula 3 and 3000, after that I moved to Indycar racing for Jim Hall. All these races were with Reynard; I was Formula Three Champion and just missed out on the Formula 3000 championships in 1993 and 1994. In my first year in Indycars I was Rookie of the Year. It will come as no surprise then that I chose a Reynard as my greatest racecar.
It was in the 2001 season of CART racing where Penske got hold of the Reynard chassis and made it their own. It was a highly customized car powered by the equally amazing Honda engine that gave over 900 hp. It was highly developed throughout the season and fabulously finished. Of course, the Penske base for all this work was in Poole, Dorset, England. The quality of workmanship from that factory was second to none—and I appreciated that. I had a couple of really great races in the car, the most memorable being at Houston, Texas. It was a street circuit, I loved street circuits, not that Houston was really the best, but nevertheless it was very enjoyable. The whole weekend was just great, everything went right. I got pole, led from start to finish, and cemented my second championship.
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