- November 04, 1976
- Not Active
Bruno Junqueira is a Brazilian racing driver who achieved the most in North American open-wheel championships, recording 124 starts and eight wins in the CART or IndyCar races. He was the CART Champ Car vice-champion for three years in a row from 2002 to 2004.
Earlier in a career, Junqueira was the Formula 3000 International champion in 2000 and South American Formula 3 champion in 1997. Most recently, he spent few seasons in sports car competitions (ALMS, IMSA).
Early F3 career ended with the South American championship title
Born in November 1976 in Belo Horizonte, Bruno Junqueira spent his teenage years in karting competitions before moving to Formula 3 in 1994. After one season in the Brazilian championship, he progressed to the South American Championship in 1995.
He won one race in 1995 and then one more in 1996, increasing the number of his wins to six in 1997 and taking the South American F3 Championship trophy.
Formula 3000 International champion in 2000
The next step in Junqueira's career was the Formula 3000 International Championship in 1998. In his rookie season, he was driving for Italian-Brazilian team Draco, finishing 18th in the points. He became a member of the Petrobras Junior Team in 1999 and scored his first F3000 victory at Hockenheim, finishing fifth in the final standings.
In 2000, Junquera fought for the title against Nicolas Minassian, defeating him by three points. Junqueira was a race winner four times. Some other notable rivals in that F3000 season were Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Justin Wilson or Sebastien Bourdais. Some of them later developed respectable F1 careers.
Formula 1 test drives with Williams
While racing in Formula 3000, Bruno Junqueira was close to Formula 1 and served as a test driver but he never made a final step into the world's premier open-wheel championship.
After spending a season with Winfield Williams team in 1999 as a test driver, Junqueira was a candidate to join BMW Williams F1 Team as a full-time driver in 2000 but Jenson Button was hired as a teammate to leading driver Ralf Schumacher. Junqueira stayed test driver only. As a consolation, he took F3000 title that year.
Moving to CART Championship in 2001
Having no future in Formula 1, Junqueira chose a direction of many other Brazilians before him - the CART Championship Series. He joined Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the #4 Lola-Toyota. His teammate was his old rival from F3000 days Nicolas Minassian.
Junqueira took his first pole position in the fourth round and the first win in the 14th round at Road America. He finished 16th in the overall standings and the second among rookies, behind Scott Dixon.
In 2001, Junqueira also made a debut at Indianapolis 500, a part of the Indy Racing League. Driving the #50 G-Force/Oldsmobile for Chip Ganassi Racing, he finished in the fifth place, what remained his best result at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
2002 - Champ Car runner-up and Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter
Junqueira improved his performance in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series, scoring two wins and four more podiums with Chip Ganassi Racing's Lola-Toyota. He finished second in the points, behind Newman/Haas Racing's Cristiano da Matta.
In 2002, Junqueira returned to Indianapolis with CGR, taking the pole position in the #33 G-Force/Chevrolet. He led the first 32 laps and then retired after 87 laps with gearbox failure.
CART vice-champion two more times in 2003 and 2004
In 2003, Junqueira left Chip Ganassi Racing to join Newman/Haas Racing. Driving the #1 Lola-Ford, he scored two wins at Road America and Denver to finish second in the championship, behind Paul Tracy.
In 2004, he was the race winner two times, at Montreal and Surfers Paradise, finishing as a runner-up for the third year in a row. This time, the champion was his teammate Sebastien Bourdais. In 2004, Junqueira returned to Indianapolis 500 after he skipped the race in 2003. Driving the #36 Panoz-Honda, he repeated his best result by finishing fifth.
An injury at 2005 Indianapolis 500 interrupted Bruno's career
In 2005, Junqueira had a great start of the Champ Car season with Newman/Haas Racing, finishing third at Long Beach and winning a race in Monterrey, Mexico. Then, in May, he crashed heavily during the Indianapolis 500 race, suffering a concussion and fractured vertebrae.
The injuries, unfortunately, stopped his career temporarily. He missed the remainder of the Champ Car season, being replaced by Oriol Servia.
Representing Brazil in the A1 Grand Prix Series
In 2006, Junqueira returned to the cockpit of Newman/Haas Racing's Lola-Ford. For the first time in his career, he did not win a race, scoring three podiums and finishing fifth in the championship. His teammate Sebastien Bourdais won his third straight title.
Between seasons 2006 and 2007, Junqueira joined Team Brazil in the A1 Grand Prix Series, participating in three rounds but without notable results. He rejoined Team Brazil in two rounds of the 2007-2008 A1 GP season.
Two seasons with Dale Coyne Racing
In the 2007 Champ car season, Newman/Haas replaced Junqueira by rookie Graham Rahal. Junqueira signed to drive the #19 Panoz-Cosworth for Dale Coyne Racing. After scoring three podiums, he finished seventh in the points.
In 2008, Champ Car unified with the rival Indy Racing League, forming the IndyCar Series. Junqueira stayed with Dale Coyne Racing and entered the championship in the #18 Dallara-Honda, alongside Brazilian teammate Mario Moraes. Junqueira's best result was the sixth place at Watkins Glen and he was just 20th in the final standings.
Out of full-time racing in 2009 and 2010
Junqueira was out of racing in 2009. He made a deal with Conquest Racing to drive the #36 Dallara-Honda at Indianapolis 500. He qualified the car on Bump Day but then he was asked to withdraw for the team's regular driver Alex Tagliani, who had failed to qualify his car due to a technical failure.
A year later, Junqueira came to Indianapolis 500 with FAZZT Race Team. Starting 25th on the grid, he spun and retired after just seven laps.
Starting a sports car career with Jaguar in 2011
After two seasons out of full-time racing, Junqueira made a switch to sports car racing in 2011 by joining Jaguar RSR in the American Le Mans Series. He was driving the #99 Jaguar XKR in GT class, sharing a car with compatriot Cristiano da Matta. The results were pretty disappointing and he finished just 26th in the points.
In 2011, Junqueira returned to Indianapolis 500 but he was again forced to withdraw from the race after he qualified AJ Foyt's car in 19th position. The team sold the car's entry to Andretti Autosport and Ryan Hunter-Reay was driving a car instead of Junqueira.
Junqueira's last IndyCar start followed in 2012 when he was asked to replace injured Josef Newgarden at the Grand Prix of Baltimore in Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's car.
A lot of success in Prototype Challenge class
For the 2012 American Le Mans Series season, RSR Racing switched to Prototype Challenge class, running the #9 Oreca FLM09-Chevrolet prototype for Junqueira and Tomy Drissi. They were class winners at Mosport and finished third in LMPC classification.
In the 2013 ALMS season, Junqueira stayed in the #9 Oreca, sharing a car with Duncan Ende. They were race winners at Lime Rock Park and Road America but he finished only 7th in the points. In 2014, ALMS and Grand American Rolex Series merged into the IMSA United SportsCar Championship. Junqueira stayed with RSR Racing for the third year in a row, again sharing a car with Duncan Ende. Without wins, they were 10th in the Prototype Challenge standings.
In 2015, Junqueira's workplace was a cockpit of the #11 Oreca FLM09. He was sharing a car with Chris Cumming, scoring two wins at Laguna Seca and Road America to finish third in the points.
A part-time racer since 2016
The season 2015 was the last on a full-time schedule for Bruno Junqueira. In 2016, he made just two starts in the IMSA Championship with BAR1 Motorsports' Oreca FLM09 and one start in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Greaves Motorsport's Gibson LMP2 prototype.
In 2017, he raced even less, joining BAR1 Motorsports in just one IMSA race. In 2017, he also recorded interesting one-off appearance in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, participating in the American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch.
In 2018, Junqueira participated in just one IMSA race, joining 3GT Racing to drive Lexus RC F GT3 at Daytona 24 Hours.