History-making win for Bruna Tomaselli in Curitiba
W Series new entry Bruna Tomaselli made history in Curitiba by becoming the first ever woman to win a race in the Brazilian Endurance Championship.
After a remarkable season in the US-based USF2000, part of the Road to Indy program, Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli was selected as one of the new entries in the all-female F3 championship W Series, which was set to get underway in May. When the 2020 and second season of W Series was scrapped due to the Covid crisis, many of its drivers were left to find alternative solutions to get back in a racing car and to avoid the one-year hiatus that would have influenced their preparations.
Tomaselli, the only South American driver in the woman-only field, joined the Imperio Endurance Brasil Championship - the top national endurance series - making her sportscar debut in September. Competing behind the wheel of a MRX prototype run by Satti Racing in the P3 category, Bruna had a series of notable results in her first races and quickly got up to speed with both the endurance format and machinery - which she shares with Fernando Fortes and Fernando Ohashi.
Returning to the Curitiba racetrack last weekend, Bruna tackled the fifth and penultimate round of the championship on a familiar circuit.
“I made my debut here in September and it was a very good weekend, where we took pole position and went up on the podium." - said the 23-year old from Caibi.
"For this round, our eyes are on the victory and we are working on it ”.
The #75 Satti Racing crew had a good Friday in both practice and qualifying, where Tomaselli helped her team to second in the timesheets.
"We were doing very well in practice, leading a good part of it."
"We lost pole position for fractions, but we certainly have a good car for the race. Now we are focused on defining the best strategy", said Bruna before the race, as she was in charge of two of the four hours of the competition.
And, after a thrilling and incident filled race on Saturday, the 4-hours event at Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba went down in history: Bruna Tomaselli became the first ever woman to win a race in the series.
Starting from second on the grid, the team encountered some minor setbacks in the opening hour, when a contact had caused damage to the front-end of the MRX prototype.
Tomaselli took over for the second stint and started to make up for the lost time, before returning behind the wheel of the P3 car for the final driving stint and across the finish line.
“Already in the first hour of the race we had some setbacks and we were losing positions", said the young Brazilian lady, as she had to chase back the leaders into the final hour.
With a clean and very consistent run, Bruna showed great pace and seized the opportunity when the front-runners started to suffer from technical failures.
"We were behind and we had a lot of setbacks. Even so, our goal was to maintain a fast pace on the track, because in an endurance race anything can happen. In the end, with the problems for the leaders, we managed to recover and claimed our first victory of the year", said Bruna, as she became the first woman to stand on the highest step of the podium in the Império Endurance Brasil championship.
"I am very happy with the victory. It is always very good to win. The whole team is to be congratulated, because nobody has given up on this race at any time."
The decision to give endurance racing a try thus revelead to be a fruitful move for Tomaselli, who has been maximising track-time and found a competitive program in preparation for her 2021 W Series debut - a series that will provide her with the biggest motorsport stage: the Formula 1 paddock.
“We chose to accept the invitation to compete in the championship [the Império Endurance Brasil] so that I could keep up with racing. As the level of the competitors is great and we drive a lot during the weekends, it was the right decision. Even more in a team that gives us a car to fight for victories. I am very happy and ready for the final stage ", said Tomaselli after the history-making victory in Curitiba.
The lady from the Santa Caterina state will tackle the last round of the season on December 19th, as Império Endurance Brasil rounds out its 2020 championship. The race meeting was initially scheduled to be held in the city of Santa Cruz do Sul, but there is a realistic chance that the race might be moved to Interlagos, São Paulo - arguably the most famous racing venue in the country and home of the Brazilian F1 GP.