Bruna Tomaselli, Bia Figueiredo & Carol Aranha make Brazilian motorsport history
With fifth place in class in the 500km of Interlagos, Bruna Tomaselli, Bia Figueiredo and Carol Aranha made Brazilian motorsport history and became the first all-female crew in the Porsche Carrera Cup Brasil – in a team filled with talented women mechanics and engineers.
At last weekend's 500km of Interlagos – final round of the 2021 Porsche XP Private Cup Brasil – one of the teams was aiming for an even bigger achievement than a podium: a place in history. The crew of the #440 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was in fact entirely made up of women; from the three racing drivers, to mechanics and engineers. It was the latest experiment in all-female teams in endurance racing – the first in Brazilian motorsport. In the driving seat, three important names alternated during the race, joining one of the most exciting grids that featured 84 elite drivers and 37 teams for one of the most competitive races in the country: series specialist Carol Aranha, W Series racer Bruna Tomaselli and former Indycar and IMSA star Bia Figueiredo. Figueiredo – a driver that has competed in some of the most important international championships – was coming back from racing 50 days after giving birth to her second child. She had last raced at Sebring in March 2020, in another fully-female squad for the 12H IMSA race. For 24 year-old Bruna Tomaselli, the 500km of Interlagos represented a return to endurance, after making her W Series debut in 2021 for Veloce Racing. Tomaselli had ventured into endurance in 2020, where she impressed in the Imperio Brasil series. Behind the three drivers were many more talented women – in a team led by experienced engineer Tamires Lustosa. “It's my first time working with an entire team made up of women, from drivers to mechanics" – Lustosa said. "Everyone has been exchanging information all the time and helping each other at all times", she continued. Tamires started her career in the Porsche one-make races in 2014, has been working with the German manufacturers on several programs both in Brazil and Europe and is currently a data engineer and strategist in GT3 competitions. Chief mechanic was another remarkable woman: Paula Mascari. “I've worked with female mechanics in motorsport before, but it's my first time with a crew entirely made up of women", commented Mascari. "Very happy to be together with them, Bia is a great reference for us, Bruna is our main star today and Carol the only [full-time] woman on the grid. All of them are very special, on and off the track". Bruna Tomaselli is undeniably considered one of the most exciting Brazilian prospects and, after a season in W Series – where she helped Veloce Racing to the team's title – the driver from Caibi was happy to accept the challenge to become part of the first all-female team in Porsche Cup Brasil. “I loved receiving the invitation and accepted right away. Being part of the first 100% female team in the history of the category is something special, even more so with the entire technical team also being formed by women” – Bruna said, who also had the chance to share the #440 car with one of her heroes. "It is the first time that Bia [Figueiredo] and I have raced together." – explained Tomaselli. "She has always been an inspiration to me and has encouraged me a lot since I was at the beginning of my career in race cars. So, I was very happy to be able to share the car with her." "I met Carol [Aranha] this weekend and I was in awe of her work on the Porsche Cup. She has only 1 year in motorsport and is very dedicated and focused on everything." The starting grid had some of the most impressive names in Brazilian motorsport, including Lucas di Grassi, Sergio Sette Câmara, Tony Kanaan, Nelson Piquet Jr, Rubens Barrichello, Caio Collet, Ricardo Mauricio, Thiago Camilo among the others. Figueiredo-Tomaselli-Aranha competed in the GT3 Cup class. And the final event of the season certainly lived up to its expectations. Defined by exciting duels, Safety Car interventions and great passes since the opening stages, the 500km of Interlagos was conquered by Ricardo Mauricio and Edu Azevedo, who crossed the finish line ahead of Rodrigo Mello and Nelson Piquet Jr, while Pedro Boesel and Sergio Sette Câmara were third overall. There was glory also for the fourth-placed team, though, as Enzo Elias and Jeff Giassi – the youngest duo in the field – secured the championship title. The #440 car of Aranha-Figueiredo-Tomaselli started from P15 in class but quickly moved up the order thanks to really solid stints by all three drivers. Figueiredo took the start and handed over to Aranha, before Tomaselli got behind the wheel for her driving shift. It would be Bia Figueiredo once again to bring the car across the finish line in a remarkable fifth position in GT3 Cup, having completed the almost 4-hour long race in P24 overall. "It was a great result. We had some setbacks that could have put us a little further forward, but it's normal in any endurance race" – commented Tomaselli after the race. "I would like to thank everyone who made this weekend a special one in my career. All drivers, mechanics and Porsche Cup Brasil, which hosted a wonderful event." "I'm very happy and I want to be here next year," said Bruna, who once again wrote a small chapter of her country's motorsport history. In 2020, in fact, Tomaselli became the first ever woman to win an Endurance Brasil race. “Women are increasingly conquering their space in motorsport. I'm happy to be able to contribute to this in any way”, she concluded. The GT3 Cup victory went to the #87 trio of Alan Hellmeister, Nelson Monteiro and Antonio Pizzonia. The former two also won the Endurance title. Carol Aranha was ninth in the 2021 drivers' championship in the GT3 Trophy class. "Very happy to be able to bring together competent women who are passionate about motorsport for the first time in the history of Porsche Carrera Cup Brasil", added Aranha. "I hope our team encourages more women to get involved, both seeking a career [in the sport] and an active role in the crowd. A woman's place is wherever she wants."