Bruna Tomaselli takes pole, victory and vice-champion title in Brazilian Endurance finale
From a cancelled racing season in Europe to her endurance debut and her first victory: W Series' first South American driver Bruna Tomaselli rounded out her 2020 racing season with a pole position, a race win and the Vice-Champion title in the Imperio Endurance Brasil season finale.
From a cancelled racing season in Europe to her endurance debut and her first victory in the championship - it was a busy and unexpected year for Brazilian up-and-coming talent Bruna Tomaselli. Just a few days after being confirmed on the grid of the 2021 W Series championship, the only South American in the all-female F3 category was back in the seat of the MRX prototype by Satti Racing, as the Imperio Endurance Brasil series headed to Velopark circuit, in the Nova Santa Rita municipality, for the final round of 2020.
Coming from a history-making performance at Curitiba - where Tomaselli claimed the first ever victory for a woman in the series - the 23-year old driver from Santa Catarina kept momentum and clinched pole position on Friday in the P3 class, a result that allowed Bruna and her teammates of the #75 crew to start Saturday's race with the title hopes still very much alive.
“I like the Velopark track and our team is confident for the race", she commented before the season finale. "Fernando Ohashi and I were responsible for driving the prototype: he went out first and then I went in. We were in second position and the team radioed that I needed two tenths more to secure pole. I did a clean lap and managed to beat the best time”, explained Bruna, who once again shared the MRX car with Fernando Ohashi and Fernando Fortes.
When the lights went out for the final race of the season, three teams had their eyes on the title. Contested in very challenging mixed-weather conditions, the four-hour race was action-filled and full of thrilling moments and Safety Car interruptions: in the early stages, one of the P3 class contenders came to a halt, leaving the fight for the crown down to two outfits.
After a heavy downpour in the first hour of racing, the #75 Satti Racing crew maintained the class lead and advanced to 10th place overall, thanks to flawless performances by Fortes, Ohashi and Tomaselli. The young lady, like the previous round, drove two of the four hours and completed the final stint of the race, taking the MRX ptototyope across the finish line in first position and with a two-laps advantage from the closest pursuer in the P3 category.
“We arrived in the last race with some points lost in the previous rounds." - said Bruna.
"On the track, we focused on having a good pace to stay calm in the lead and everything worked out to win", she added. Unfortunately, their efforts were not rewarded with the class title, as Tomaselli, Fortes and Ohashi were ultimately awarded with the Vice-Champion title.
"We were fast and confident that we could fight for the victory. The title depended on a combination of results, but we had to do our part to win."
But it was nonetheless an impressive first season for Tomaselli in endurance racing - a format that the young lady enjoyed and adapted well to, also proved by the two victories and the several podiums.
"It was a very safe championship, with the organization being very concerned about control during the rounds", praised Tomaselli. "In addition, the on-track battles were intense and the level of the competitors is excellent. Certainly, if I'll have new opportunities, I will be back."
After the cancellation of the 2020 W Series campaign, The Brazilian was among the drivers left searching for a seat in order to stay fit and prepare for the upcoming season, and Bruna found in Imperio Endurance Brasil an excellent testing ground in this unusual year.
“We ran out of a calendar this year and soon we were looking for a competitive category to run. Satti Racing welcomed me very well, as did my teammates. I have to thank all of them very much, because I achieved my goal, which was to keep myself active and ended up becoming the first woman to win in Endurance Brasil and they were fundamental in this achievement. For sure, it will be a season that I will remember with great affection and that gives me an even greater motivation to represent Brazil in the W Series next year.”
While there are no official testing dates yet for the sophomore W Series season in 2021, Tomaselli will now look forward to get back behind the wheel of a formula car after her remarkable USF2000 season in 2019, which granted her a spot in the 2020 W Series selection process of Almeria in September 2019.
She will be the first Brazilian (and South American) driver to enter the women-only championship - a peculiarity that will certainly attract the interest of the many passionate South American fans.
"Since yesterday [Friday 18th, when the W Series driver's announcement was released] I have received many messages of support and I am very happy about the affection of the public ", she added, as she now gets ready to tackle competitors like Jamie Chadwick, Beitske Visser and Alice Powell.
The first round of the W Series is scheduled to get underway at Circuit Paul Ricard on 25-26th June, in support of the F1 French Grand Prix.