Francisco 'Chico' Serra
- February 03, 1957
- Not Active
Francisco 'Chico' Serra is a Brazilian former racing driver who recorded 33 participations in Formula One World Championship (18 starts and 15 DNQs) between 1981 and 1983.
Earlier in a career, Serra was British Formula Ford champion in 1977 and British Formula 3 champion in 1979. Later in a career, he triumphed three times in the Brazilian Stock Car championship in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Born in February 1957 in Sao Paulo, Francisco Serra was active in karting competitions as a teenager, ending his karting career with a title of the Brazilian champion in 1976. He moved to England in 1977 and won the British Formula Ford Championship in his first year. He was a race winner nine times, winning also at Formula Festival.
The next step in his career was a Formula 3. In 1978, Serra finished third both in BARC and BRDC F3 championships, driving a Project Four March 783-Toyota. In 1979, he stayed with Project Four Racing and he won the Vanderwell British F3 Championship, beating Andrea de Cesaris and Mike Thackwell.
On his way to Formula 1, Serra spent one season in the European Formula 2 Championship, driving a March 802-BMW for Project Four in 1980. Without wins or podiums, he finished tenth in the points.
Serra made a debut in Formula 1 in 1981 with Fittipaldi Automotive, a team founded by Wilson Fittipaldi and his brother, F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. Serra spent a season in the #21 Fittipaldi F8C-Cosworth, recording five starts and eight DNQs.
His best result was the seventh place in the season-opening US West Grand Prix at Long Beach. At his home event, the Brazilian Grand Prix, he crashed out on the opening lap. Serra's teammate was Keke Rosberg who also finished a season without points on his account.
In December 1981, Serra participated in Mil Milhas Brasileiras sports car race, taking a victory in a Chevrolet Opala stock car. His co-drivers were Affonso Giaffone and Zeca Giaffone.
Serra stayed for one more season with Fittipaldi's team, driving the #20 Fittipaldi F8D and F9. His former teammate Keke Rosberg moved to Williams and became the world champion.
Serra's highlight of the season was the sixth place at Belgian Grand Prix where he captured his only championship point. He recorded nine starts over the season, finishing 26th in the championship standings. The point he won was the last championship point for Fittipaldi as the team left Formula 1 at the end of 1982.
In 1983, Serra joined Arrows Racing Team to drive the #30 Arrows A6-Cosworth. He made F1 starts with the team, appearing in four championship races and at Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. He scored three top 10 results, finishing 9th at Brazilian Grand Prix, 8th at San Marino Grand Prix and 7th at Monaco Grand Prix. After five rounds, he was replaced by Thierry Boutsen and it was the end of his F1 career.
In 1983, Serra participated in one race of the FIA World Endurance Championship, joining Joest Racing at Kyalami 1000 Kilometers in December. Sharing the #8 Porsche 956 with Bob Wollek and Stefan Johansson, he didn't finish the race.
Serra was out of racing in 1984 and then he had one attempt in the 1985 CART PPG Indy Car World Series. In June, he joined Theodore Racing to drive the #15 car at Portland International Raceway. He finished at the back of the field.
In 1987, Serra worked with Tiga Team which competed in the World Sports-Prototype Championship but he didn't start either one race.
During the 1980s, Serra returned to Brazil to compete in the Brazilian Stock Car Championship. It was his main competition in the next decade and the first success came in 1999 when he became a champion, driving the Havoline-Texaco Chevrolet Vectra for WB Motorsport.
Driving the same car, he defended championship titles two times, in 2000 and 2001. In 2002, he finished second in the championship behind Ingo Hoffmann. Serra was a regular in the stock car championship until 2009. He recorded the one-off attempt in 2015.
In the meantime, Serra also developed a sports car racing career. In 2007, he was driving a Ferrari F430 GTC for JMB Racing at Mil Milhas race, finishing 13th together with Francisco Longo and his son Daniel Serra.
In 2009, Chico Serra spent a full season in the Brazilian GT3 Championship, driving the #33 Lamborghini Gallardo LP520 GT3 for Scuderia 111. His co-driver was Bruno Garfinkel and they finished 10th in the points. In 2010, Serra was sharing the #77 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 GT3 with Joao Adibe, finishing ninth in the Brazilian GT3 Championship.