With a career spanning over two decades, Christian Fittipaldi justifies the weight of his famous surname. He is a son of Wilson Fittipaldi and a nephew of the well known Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.
Christian himself is also a multiple champion, most recently winning the 2015 IMSA SportsCar Championship title in a Prototype class. It was his second triumph as he also took the title in 2014. He also won three times at Daytona 24 Hours, in 2004, 2014 and 2018.
Earlier in a career, he was Brazilian F3 champion, South American F3 champion and 1991 International Formula 3000 champion. In Formula 1 World Championship, he recorded 40 starts between 1992 and 1994. He raced in the CART Championship from 1995 to 2002, recording 135 starts and two wins.
Three championship titles from 1989 to 1991
Christian was born in 1971 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has competed in various series. His racing career started in 1988 in Formula Ford. In 1989, he won his first championship title, being the best in the Brazilian Formula 3. Next year, he was a champion in the South American Formula 3, driving a Reynard-Alfa Romeo for a family-owned team.
In 1991, he progressed to the International Formula 30000. In his sole season in the championship, driving Pacific Racing, Christian won two races and took the championship title ahead of Alex Zanardi.
Three seasons in Formula One
From 1992 to 1994, Fittipaldi drove in Formula One World Championship for Minardi and Footwork, and later during his career, he drove in CART, NASCAR, A1 Grand Prix, Stock Car Brasil championships, and also participated in three 24 Hours of Le Mans races, finishing 7th, 10th and 8th in his classes in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
His first CART season was in 1995 when he drove for Walker. The season started off good for him and he even scored a second place at Indy 500, which won him the Rookie of the Year award.
Christian Fittipaldi, Minardi F1 team
Eight seasons in the CART Championship
The following season, Fittipaldi went to Newman-Haas, where he stayed until 2002. His best CART finishes were in 1996 and 2002, when he ended up in fifth place in both seasons driving for Newman-Haas.
During his CART years, Fittipaldi sustained serious injuries on two occasions, at the 1997 Sunbelt Indy Carnival in Australia and in 1999, just two races after scoring his first CART win at Road America. He never managed to keep his form throughout the season, so he never became the CART championship winner, although he had the potential.
Christian Fittipaldi at Rockingham, 2002
Better results in the IMSA Championship
On numerous occasions, Christian Fittipaldi drove endurance races in North America, winning his first 24 Hours of Daytona in 2004, and driving for Andretti Green Racing in 2008. In 2011, Fittipaldi participated in Daytona 24 for Action Express Racing finishing third, and he finished fifth driving for the same team in 2012.
In 2013 he became a regular driver for the team, and finished the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series in 7th place in the Daytona Prototype class, but won at Mid-Ohio, and the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, partnered mostly with Joao Barbosa.
Fittipaldi celebrates victory at Daytona with Barbosa and Bourdais
2014 - Daytona victory and championship title
In 2014, he won the Rolex 24 at Daytona with his co-drivers Joao Barbosa and Sébastien Bourdais. Later in the season, Fittipaldi and Barbosa added two more wins, capruting the IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship title.
In 2015, he was second at Daytona but won the Sebring 12 Hours with the same pair of co-drivers. After winning the season's finale (Petit Le Mans), Action Express Racing's pair Fittipaldi-Barbosa took one more Prototype class title.
Christian Fittipaldi joined Action Express Racing in 2011
Championship runner-up in 2016
In 2016 Fittipaldi stayed with Action Express Racing and driving alongside Joao Barbosa finished the season as a runner-up, just three points behind the champions and their teammates Dane Cameron and Eric Curran. As a consolation, Fittipaldi and Barbosa were the winners of the North American Endurance Cup.
In 2017, the first season with new Cadillac DPi prototype, Fittipaldi and Barbosa had similar results, winning the North American Endurance Cup and finishing third in the overall standings of IMSA Prototype class.
Celebrating third victory at Daytona 24 Hours
Third victory at Daytona 24h in 2018
In 2018, Fittipaldi started a season with a victory at Rolex 24 at Daytona. This was his third overall win at Daytona endurance classic.His co-drivers were Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque. Fittipaldi didn't race full season with AX Racing, participating in just five races in the #5 Cadillac DPi-V.R.
He stays with AX Racing on a part-time schedule again in 2019, announcing that he will retire from racing at the end of the season.