The Most Famous

RACING DRIVERS from Brazil

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This page contains a list of the greatest Brazilian Racing Drivers. The pantheon dataset contains 888 Racing Drivers, 30 of which were born in Brazil. This makes Brazil the birth place of the 7th most number of Racing Drivers behind Germany and Spain.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Brazilian Racing Drivers of all time. This list of famous Brazilian Racing Drivers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Brazilian Racing Drivers.

Photo of Ayrton Senna

1. Ayrton Senna (1960 - 1994)

With an HPI of 79.28, Ayrton Senna is the most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 86 different languages on wikipedia.

Ayrton Senna da Silva (Brazilian Portuguese: [aˈiʁtõ ˈsẽnɐ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ] (listen); 21 March 1960 – 1 May 1994) was a Brazilian racing driver who won the Formula One World Drivers' Championship in 1988, 1990 and 1991. Senna is one of three Formula One drivers from Brazil to win the World Championship and won 41 Grands Prix and 65 pole positions, with the latter being the record until 2006. He died in an accident leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix driving for the Williams team. Senna began his motorsport career in karting, moved up to open-wheel racing in 1981 and won the 1983 British Formula Three Championship. He made his Formula One debut with Toleman-Hart in 1984, before moving to Lotus-Renault the following year and winning six Grands Prix over the next three seasons. In 1988, he joined Frenchman Alain Prost at McLaren-Honda. Between them, they won all but one of the 16 Grands Prix that year, and Senna claimed his first World Championship. Prost claimed the championship in 1989, and Senna his second and third championships in 1990 and 1991. In 1992, the Williams-Renault combination began to dominate Formula One. Senna nonetheless managed to finish the 1993 season as runner-up, winning five races and negotiating a move to Williams in 1994. Senna was recognised for his qualifying speed over one lap, and from 1989 until 2006 he held the record for most pole positions. He was also acclaimed for his wet weather performances, such as the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, and the 1993 European Grand Prix. He holds a record six victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, is the fifth-most successful driver of all time in terms of race wins and has won more races for McLaren than any other driver. Senna courted controversy throughout his career, particularly during his turbulent rivalry with Prost. In the Japanese Grands Prix of 1989 and 1990, each of which decided the championship of that year, collisions between Senna and Prost determined the eventual winner.

Photo of Emerson Fittipaldi

2. Emerson Fittipaldi (1946 - )

With an HPI of 74.54, Emerson Fittipaldi is the 2nd most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

Emerson Wojciechowska Fittipaldi (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈɛmeʁsõ fitʃiˈpawdʒi]; born 12 December 1946) is a semi-retired Brazilian automobile racing driver who won both the Formula One World Championship and the Indianapolis 500 twice each and the CART championship once. Moving up from Formula Two, Fittipaldi made his race debut for Team Lotus as a third driver at the 1970 British Grand Prix. After Jochen Rindt was killed at the 1970 Italian Grand Prix, the Brazilian became Lotus's lead driver in only his fifth Grand Prix. He enjoyed considerable success with Lotus, winning the World Drivers' Championship in 1972 at the age of 25, a youngest F1 world champion record that he held for 33 years. He later moved to McLaren for 1974, winning the title once again. He surprised the paddock by moving to his brother's Fittipaldi Automotive team prior to the 1976 season, being replaced by James Hunt. Success eluded him during his final years in Formula One, with the Fittipaldi cars not competitive enough to fight for victories. Fittipaldi took two more podium finishes, before retiring in 1980. Following his Formula One career, Fittipaldi moved to the American CART series, achieving successful results, including the 1989 CART title and two wins at the Indianapolis 500 (in 1989 and 1993, the final at an unprecedented 46 years old). Since his retirement from Indy Car racing in 1996, Fittipaldi races only occasionally. In 2008, he was one of only three people in history to have a Corvette production car named in his honor. At age 67, he entered the 2014 6 Hours of São Paulo.

Photo of Nelson Piquet

3. Nelson Piquet (1952 - )

With an HPI of 73.21, Nelson Piquet is the 3rd most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.

Nelson Piquet Souto Maior (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈnɛwsõ piˈke], born 17 August 1952), known as Nelson Piquet, is a Brazilian former racing driver and businessman. Since his retirement, Piquet, a three-time World Champion, has been ranked among the greatest Formula One drivers in various motorsport polls.Piquet had a brief career in tennis before losing interest in the sport and subsequently took up karting and hid his identity to prevent his father discovering his hobby. He became the Brazilian national karting champion in 1971–72 and won the Formula Vee championship in 1976. With advice from Emerson Fittipaldi, Piquet went to Europe to further success by taking the record number of wins in Formula Three in 1978, beating Jackie Stewart's all-time record. In the same year, he made his Formula One debut with the Ensign team and drove for McLaren and Brabham. In 1979, Piquet moved to the Brabham team and finished the runner-up in 1980 before winning the championship in 1981. Piquet's poor performances in 1982 saw a resurgence for 1983 and his second world championship. For 1984–85, Piquet had once again lost chances to win the championship but managed to score three wins during that period. He moved to the Williams team in 1986 and was a title contender until the final round in Australia. Piquet took his third and final championship in 1987 during a heated battle with teammate Nigel Mansell which left the pair's relationship sour. Piquet subsequently moved to Lotus for 1988–89 where he experienced his third drop in form. He eventually went to the Benetton team for 1990–91 where he managed to win three races before retiring.After retiring from Formula One, Piquet tried his hand at the Indianapolis 500 for two years. He also had a go at sports car racing at various points during and after his Formula One career. Piquet is currently retired and runs several businesses in Brazil. He also manages his sons Nelson Piquet Jr. and Pedro Piquet, who are also professional racing drivers.

Photo of Rubens Barrichello

4. Rubens Barrichello (1972 - )

With an HPI of 67.09, Rubens Barrichello is the 4th most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Rubens "Rubinho" Gonçalves Barrichello (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʁubẽjz ɡõ'sawviz baʁiˈkɛlʊ], [ʁuˈbĩjʊ]; born 23 May 1972) is a Brazilian racing driver who competed in Formula One between 1993 and 2011. He scored 11 Grand Prix wins and 68 podiums.Barrichello drove for Ferrari from 2000 to 2005, as Michael Schumacher's teammate, finishing as championship runner-up in 2002 and 2004, and third in 2001, while contributing to five constructors' titles for the team. At the end of 2005 Barrichello left Ferrari to drive for Honda. In 2009, he finished third in the Drivers' Championship for Brawn GP, as his teammate Jenson Button won the driver's championship, and the team won the constructors' title. He was also appointed chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association in 2010.After two years with the Williams F1 team, Barrichello moved to the IndyCar Series in 2012 with KV Racing Technology. After only one year and being unable to find a ride for the 2013 season, he moved back to Brazil to participate in the Brazilian Stock Car V8 Series, winning the championship in 2014 while driving for Full Time Sports.In 2013 he started covering F1 race weekends for Brazil's TV Globo, interviewing drivers and team members on the grid and commentating during qualifying and race coverages.

Photo of Wilson Fittipaldi Júnior

5. Wilson Fittipaldi Júnior (1943 - )

With an HPI of 66.44, Wilson Fittipaldi Júnior is the 5th most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Wilson Fittipaldi Júnior (born December 25, 1943, São Paulo, Brazil) is a Brazilian former racing driver and Formula One team owner. He participated in 38 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on May 1, 1972, scoring a total of three championship points. He ran the Fittipaldi Formula One team between 1974 and 1982. He also participated in numerous non-Championship Formula One races.

Photo of Carlos Pace

6. Carlos Pace (1944 - 1977)

With an HPI of 65.73, Carlos Pace is the 6th most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

José Carlos Pace (October 6, 1944 – March 18, 1977) was a racing driver from Brazil. He participated in 73 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting at the 1972 South African Grand Prix. He won one race, achieved six podiums, and scored a total of 58 championship points. He also secured one pole position.

Photo of Felipe Massa

7. Felipe Massa (1981 - )

With an HPI of 65.18, Felipe Massa is the 7th most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 65 different languages.

Felipe Massa (Portuguese pronunciation: [fiˈlipi ˈmasɐ], born 25 April 1981) is a Brazilian racing driver. He competed in 15 seasons of Formula One between 2002 and 2017, where he scored 11 Grand Prix victories, 41 podiums and finished as championship runner-up in 2008 by one point. Massa started his career in go-karting from the age of eight continuing in national and regional championships for seven years. He moved into Formula Chevrolet and claimed the championship. He moved in Italian Formula Renault in 2000 and won the title along with the European championship. He went into Euro Formula 3000 taking the championship in 2001. Massa started his Formula One career with Sauber before joining Scuderia Ferrari as a test driver for 2003. He returned to Sauber for 2004 and 2005 before rejoining Ferrari where he won two races in 2006 including his home Grand Prix becoming the first Brazilian since Ayrton Senna to win the Brazilian Grand Prix. He won three races in 2007, finishing 4th in the Drivers' Championship. He finished second in the 2008 Drivers' World Championship after a long title battle with Lewis Hamilton, winning six races to Hamilton's five. At the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, he was injured by a suspension spring off the Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello. He was forced to miss the rest of the season but returned in 2010. He suffered a dip in form in 2011 scoring no podiums but consistently scoring points. He contributed to Ferrari's Constructors' Championships in 2007 and 2008 and was under contract to race for the team until the end of the 2013 season. On 10 September 2013, he confirmed he would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the 2013 season. He replaced Pastor Maldonado alongside Valtteri Bottas at Williams from 2014.Massa announced that he would retire from Formula One at the end of the 2016 season. However, the abrupt retirement of 2016 Formula One Champion Nico Rosberg from Mercedes precipitated the late move of Valtteri Bottas from Williams to Mercedes, leaving a late vacancy at Williams. Massa subsequently postponed his retirement, returning to Williams to partner rookie Lance Stroll for the 2017 season. On 4 November 2017, Massa confirmed that he would be retiring from Formula One at the end of the 2017 season.Since retirement from Formula One, Massa has pursued a career in the FIA's all electric series Formula E. He retired from Formula E at the end of the 2019-20 Championship. He then joined the 2021 season of the Stock Car Brasil series.

Photo of Roberto Moreno

8. Roberto Moreno (1959 - )

With an HPI of 62.02, Roberto Moreno is the 8th most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Roberto Pupo Moreno (born 11 February 1959), usually known as Roberto Moreno and also as Pupo Moreno, is a Brazilian former racing driver. He participated in 75 Formula One Grands Prix, achieved 1 podium, and scored a total of 15 championship points. He raced in CART in 1986, and was Formula 3000 champion (in 1988) before joining Formula One full-time in 1989. He returned to CART in 1996 where he enjoyed an Indian summer in 2000 and 2001, and managed to extend his career in the series until 2008. He also raced in endurance events and GT's in Brazil, but now works as a driver coach and consultant, and although this takes up a lot of his time, he is not officially retired yet, as he appears in historic events. Away from the sport, he enjoys building light aeroplanes.Moreno was known as the "Super Sub" late in his career as he was used to replace injured drivers several times.

Photo of Luiz Bueno

9. Luiz Bueno (1937 - 2011)

With an HPI of 59.91, Luiz Bueno is the 9th most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Luiz-Pereira Bueno also known as Luiz Bueno (16 January 1937 – 8 February 2011) was a race car driver from Brazil. He participated in one World Championship Formula One Grand Prix, on 11 February 1973. He scored no championship points. He also participated in several non-championship Formula One races. Bueno died of cancer, aged 74.

Photo of Chico Landi

10. Chico Landi (1907 - 1989)

With an HPI of 59.86, Chico Landi is the 10th most famous Brazilian Racing Driver.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Francisco Sacco Landi (July 14, 1907 – June 7, 1989), better known as Chico, was a racing driver from São Paulo, Brazil. He participated in six Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on September 16, 1951. He scored a total of 1.5 championship points, awarded for his fourth-place finish in the 1956 Argentine Grand Prix, a drive he shared with Gerino Gerini. He was the first Brazilian ever to take part in a Formula One Grand Prix, and also the first to score points.

Pantheon has 30 people classified as racing drivers born between 1907 and 1992. Of these 30, 25 (83.33%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living racing drivers include Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, and Rubens Barrichello. The most famous deceased racing drivers include Ayrton Senna, Carlos Pace, and Luiz Bueno.

Living Racing Drivers

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Deceased Racing Drivers

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Which Racing Drivers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Racing Drivers since 1700.