Fernando Rees is a Brazilian racing driver who spent five seasons from 2012 to 2016 in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Aston Martin Racing and Larbre Competition. He slowed down his racing activities in 2017, participating in just one European Le Mans Series race and at Le Mans 24 Hours.
Rees started his sports car racing career in 2007, finishing best as Le Mans Series GT1 vice-champion in 2010. Earlier in a career, he competed in different single-seater competitions (Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 3, Formula Renault 3.5) but without notable results.
Starting a career in the Formula Renault
Born in January 1985 in Sao Paulo, Fernando Muniz Rees started his racing career in karting competitions at the age 8. He progressed to car racing in 2001, making one start in the Italian Formula Renault.
In 2002, he joined RC Motorsports in few races of the Formula Renault Eurocup but his main competition remained the Italian Formula Renault.
Testing with Mercedes, driving for Opel in the F3 Euro Series
In 2003, Rees returned to Brazil to participate in the South American Formula 3 Championship. Driving for the Team Cesario, he scored one victory (Interlagos) to finish sixth in the points.
In late 2003, Rees was invited to participate in a private test which Mercedes organized for Formula 3 drivers. Despite being fastest he didn't get a seat, so he joined Swiss Racing Team to drive a Dallara-Opel in two races of the 2004 Formula 3 Euro Series season.
2005 – a season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series
In 2005, Rees progressed to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, driving for Interwetten Racing in six rounds. The results were disappointing because he didn't score a single point. His best result was 14th place at Bilbao.
In 2005, Rees also made one start in the North American Toyota Atlantic Championship, driving for Brooks Associates Racing at Long Beach. Starting third on the grid, he didn't finish the race.
Horrible accident interrupted Fernando's career
At the end of 2005, Rees proved once more that he was fast when testing cars. He was the fastest FR 3.5 Series driver during a winter test at Valencia. For the 2006 season, he had a plan to compete in the Formula 3000. Unfortunately, during a practice session before the first race at Monza, he was involved in a crash which resulted in serious injuries.
He had two broken vertebrae, three compressed vertebrae, a broken ankle, and other excoriations in both legs. He was out of racing for 18 months, spending a year under serious immobilization and six months at therapy sessions.
Victorious comeback at Mil Milhas race
Rees returned to racing in November 2007, at Mil Milhas race at Interlagos, the final round of the Le Mans Series. He was driving the #51 Aston Martin DBR9 for Larbre Competition, scoring GT1 class victory in his comeback to the race tracks. His co-drivers were Gregor Fisken, Steve Zacchia and Roland Berville.
Following that victory, Rees decided to stay in the Le Mans Series in 2008, but in the LMP2 class.
Driving a Zytek LMP2 prototype in 2008 and 2009
In 2008, Rees was driving the #32 Zytek 07S for the French Barazi Epsilon team. In four LMS races, his partners were Juan Barazi and Michael Vergers. They managed to finish only one race, finishing 8th at Nurburgring 1000 Km.
In 2009, Rees remained with Barazi Epsilon in the Le Mans Series but the season ended prematurely. After the second race, the team withdrew from the championship due to financial problems. Until the end of the season, Rees was without a ride.
2010 Le Mans Series vice-champion with Larbre Competition
His teammates became GT1 class champions while Rees finished the season in the second place. He was a race winner at Portimao, Hungaroring and Silverstone.
Two FIA WEC seasons in a Chevrolet Corvette
In 2011, Rees was out of racing an then returned to Larbre Competition in 2012 to participate in the inaugural season of the revived FIA World Endurance Championship. He was driving the #50 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R ZR1 in four events in the GTE Am class, being excluded two times, finishing second at Spa and fourth at Bahrain. He was sharing a car with Julien Canal and Patrick Bornhauser. The team captured championship title in the GTE Am class.
In 2013, Rees spent a full season in the #50 Corvette, skipping only Le Mans race. Finishing on a podium two times, at Silverstone and Spa, he was 7th in the final GTE Am classification.
Joining Aston Martin Racing in 2014
In 2014, Larbre Competition left FIA WEC and Rees moved to Aston Martin Racing to drive the #99 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE in the GTE Pro class. He was sharing a car with Alex MacDowall and Darryl O'Young. Abdulaziz Al Faisal replaced O'Young in one race.
The best result during a season was the third place at Fuji and Rees finished 12th in the GT classification. He missed the race at Le Mans again, having a crash during a qualifying session. The car was too damaged for repair.
2015 - maiden FIA WEC victory at Spa
In June 2015, Rees finally made his Le Mans debut, finishing the race sixth in the GTE Pro class. He scored no wins or podiums until the end of the season, finishing seventh in GT standings.
2016 – last season with Aston Martin
In the 2016 FIA WEC season, Rees moved to the #97 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE, participating in four rounds, including Le Mans. He was third at Spa and sixth at Le Mans, sharing a car with Richie Stanaway and Jonny Adam. His last race with Aston Martin was at Circuit of the Americas, where he was sharing the #97 Aston Martin with Darren Turner.
Besides FIA WEC commitments, Rees made a debut at Nurburgring 24 Hours in 2016, driving the #27 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3. Sharing a car with Jonny Adam, Mathias Lauda and Richie Stanaway, he didn't finish the race.
2017 – pole position at Le Mans
In 2017, Rees left Aston Martin Racing and slowed down his motorsport activities. He rejoined Larbre Competition to drive the #50 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R Z06 in two events together with Romain Brandela and Christian Philippon.
Rees first participated in Monza's round of the European Le Mans Series, as a preparation for Le Mans 24-hour race. At Le Mans, Rees was the fastest GTE Am class qualifier in the #50 Corvette. In the race, they finished 15th in the GTE Am class.