- February 11, 1959
- Not Active
- Lotus,Benetton,Forti,Moda,AGS,Minardi,Coloni,Euro Brun
Roberto Moreno is a former Brazilian racing driver who recorded 77 participations and 42 starts in Formula One between 1982 and 1995, scoring one podium. He was more active in the American single-seater competitions, recording 126 starts in the CART/Champ Car and Indy Car races between 1985 and 2008, scoring two wins. His career-best result was the third place in 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series.
Of other open-wheel championships, he was the 1988 International Formula 3000 champion and 1984 European Formula 2 vice-champion. In 1982, he was the winner of the famous Macau Grand Prix at Guia Circuit.
Pupo Moreno was the Brazilian karting champion
Roberto Pupo Moreno was born on February 11, 1959, in Rio de Janeiro. As a teenager, he competed with go-karts, winning the Brazilian 125cc championship in 1976. As many other South American drivers in that time, he decided to build up his racing career in Europe.
He traveled to England in 1979, entering the Formula Ford Championship. Moreno acted as a one-man team, using an old shed as team base. After few notable results in his debut season, Moreno was hired by Ralph Firman Sr., founder of Van Diemen, to drive for him in 1980 season.
1980 British Formula Ford champion
Moreno became the Townsend Thoresen British Formula Ford champion, winning eight out of fourteen races and beating another Brazilian Raul Boesel.
Moreno finished second in the Euroseries Formula Ford 1600 Championship, fourth in the RAC British Formula Ford and 6th in the the P&O Ferries Formula Ford. He closed the season with a victory at annual Formula Ford Festival.
Colin Chapman sponsored Roberto Moreno
Such a success attracted an interest of Colin Chapman, who sponsored Moreno's season in the 1981 British Formula 3 Championship. Moreno was driving Ralt RT3 (Toyota) for Barron Racing, winning two races and finishing 11th in the points.
Moreno entered, and won, one race of the European F3 Championship. He was also the winner of two Grand Prix races, the 1981 Australian Grand Prix at Calder Park and 1981 Selangor Grand Prix in Malaysia. In both races, he was driving Ford-powered Ralt RT4.
Racing all over the world
In 1982, Moreno had a diverse schedule of competitions, from New Zealand over Europe to North America. With six wins in eight races, he won the New Zealand International Formula Pacific Series. In Europe, he participated part-time schedule with Ivens Lumar Racing in the British Formula 3, winning three races and finishing sixth in the points.
In North America, Moreno participated in three races of the Formula Atlantic, winning the race in Long Beach. His most notable win that year was at Macau Grand Prix, at the wheel of Ralt RT4 (Ford).
Fiasco in the first F1 attempt
In July 1992, Moreno's Formula One career started, but not successfully. He was invited by Colin Champman to drive Lotus 91-Cosworth at Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, as a replacement for Nigel Mansell who broke his wrist in the previous race.
Moreno wasn't driving Lotus 91 never before and he failed to qualify for the race, with his best qualifying lap over two seconds away from making the grid. After that fiasco, Moreno had to wait more than five years for his next chance in Formula One.
Three-time winner of Australian Grand Prix
At the end of 1982, Lotus released him from his duties as a test driver. For 1983 season, Moreno moved his commitments to North America, participating with Theodore Racing in the Formula Mondial and with All American Racers in the IMSA GTU Championship.
After winning four races with Ralt RT4 (Ford), Moreno was the Formula Mondial runner-up, behind Michael Andretti. In the IMSA Championship, his car was Toyota Celica, but he was far from the top of the classification.
In November 1983, Moreno traveled to Australia and scored his second win at the Australian Grand Prix. The third victory followed a year later, in November 1984.
Roberto was the Formula 2 runner-up in 1984
The season 1984 was successful for Moreno. He returned to Europe to participate in the European Formula 2 Championship as Ralt Racing's factory driver.
He was among front-runners, scoring seven podiums and two wins to finish second in the championship, losing a title to teammate Mike Thackwell.
DNF in the only attempt at 24h Le Mans
In June 1984, Moreno recorded his first (and only) participation at 24 hours of Le Mans. He joined Guy Edwards and Rupert Keegan in the #55 Porsche 962 of Skoal Bandit Porsche Team. Their races ended after 72 laps because of an accident.
In 1985, Moreno was combining three different single-seater competitions, not spending a full season in either one competition. He competed with Advan Sports Nova in the Japanese Formula 2, with Barron Racing in the International Formula 3000 and with Galles Racing in the CART PPG Indy Car World Series.
1986 – full CART season with Galles Racing
After not finishing four races with Galles Racing's #6 March 85C, he finished in the fifth place at the season-closing race at Tamiami Park, Florida.
For 1986 CART season, Moreno joined Galles Racing as a full-time driver in the #9 car. He was in the Top 10 four times, finishing best in the 6th place in both races at Michigan International Speedway. At the end of the season, he was 16th in the points.
1988 International Formula 3000 champion
The International Formula 3000 Championship became Moreno's main competition in 1987. He was driving Ralt-Honda for Ralt Racing, along with another Brazilian Mauricio Gugelmin. Moreno scored four podiums and one victory (Pergusa) to finish third in the championship, behind Stefano Modena and Luis-Perez Sala.
For the 1988 F3000 season, Moreno joined Bromley Motorsport to drive Reynard 88D (Cosworth). That was a victorious car four times and Moreno took his first international championship title in a career.
Formula One debut at 1987 Japanese Grand Prix
While contesting two full seasons in the Formula 3000, Moreno added two Formula One races to his CV. At the end of 1987 F1 season, he was invited by Team AGS to replace Pascal Fabre at Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Moreno was the slowest in the field and he didn't qualify for the race. However, Williams driver Nigel Mansell was injured during practice and he withdrew from the race, so Moreno was allowed to start. He retired after 38 laps due to electrical problems.
In the next race, the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide Street Circuit, Moreno avoided all problems and finished in the 7th place. Following post-race scrutineering, Ayrton Senna was disqualified and Moreno was promoted to 6th place, scoring the first ever point for Team AGS.
F1 test drives with Ferrari and full season with Coloni
Moreno's first full season in the Formula One followed in 1989. The freshly crowned F3000 champion was signed as Ferrari test driver and recruited to drive the #31 Coloni FC 188B-Ford for the Italian Coloni team. The car was catastrophically slow, so Moreno was seven seconds slower than pole-sitter Ayrton Senna at the season-opening Brazilian Grand Prix. He failed to qualify for three more races with that car, competing only at Monaco Grand Prix and retiring due to gearbox problems.
The new car came for the sixth round but the results weren't better. In the 16-race season, Moreno qualified for only four races. Of that four races, he didn't finish either one race.
Maiden F1 podium with Benetton
The season 1990 supposed to be similar to the year before, as Moreno signed for the Swiss team EuroBrun Racing. In fourteen races, he made it to the grid two times only, at United States Grand Prix and San Marino Grand Prix.
But then, in October 1990, Moreno was invited to replace injured Alessandro Nannini in the Benetton team, next to his Brazilian friend and mentor Nelson Piquet. At Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, Piquet and Moreno scored 1-2 win for Benetton. In the next race, the Australian Grand Prix, Piquet won again while Moreno finished in the 7th place.
Schumacher as a replacement for Moreno
Following good results at the end of 1990, Moreno got a contract as a full-time driver for Camel Benetton Ford team in the 1991 Formula 1 season. Nelson Piquet remained his teammate. However, the Benetton B191 was not as competitive as expected. Moreno finished in the points three times, scoring 4th place twice (Monaco Grand Prix, Belgian Grand Prix) and 5th place once (Mexican Grand Prix). After eleven races, he was replaced by twenty-years-younger Michael Schumacher.
Moreno went into opposite direction, replacing Schumacher in the #32 car of Jordan team. He participated in two races (Italy, Portugal), leaving the team after that. At the last round of the season, in Australia, Moreno replaced Gianni Morbidelli in Minardi team.
Final F1 season with Forti
For the 1992 F1 season, Moreno signed for Andrea Moda team, which had risen from the ashes of Scuderia Coloni. Moreno had only one successful qualifying attempt, at Monaco Grand Prix, but he retired after 11 laps due to engine problems.
Three years later, Moreno returned to Formula One for the last time, driving for Parmalat Forti Ford, together with another Brazilian Pedro Diniz. Moreno's best result was 14th place at Belgian Grand Prix.
F1 career is over, new career started in the US
In 1992, after a bad season with Andrea Moda team, the 43-year-old Roberto knew that his days in the F1 had gone but he was far from ending a career.
In 1992 and 1993, he competed with touring cars (Ford Escort, Alfa Romeo 155) in the Italian and French touring championships, but also traveled to the US in 1994, trying to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 with Arizona Motorsport team, but he failed. After a brief F1 comeback in 1995, Moreno focused his career on the American open-wheel racing.
Supersub Moreno frequently changed teams
For the 1996 CART Indy Car World Series, he joined Payton/Coyne Racing as a full-time driver in the #34 Lola-Cosworth. The highlight of the season was Moreno's third place at US 500 race at Michigan International Speedway, behind Jimmy Vasser and Mauricio Gugelmin.
After 1996 CART season with one team, Moreno was frequently changing teams in the following years, earning a nickname „Supersub“. In 1997, he competed with three teams, scoring a 5th place at Detroit with Newman/Hass Racing as the best result. In 1998 and 1999, he combined between three teams, scoring two fourth-places with PacWest Racing in 1999.
In 1999, Moreno also debuted at Indianapolis 500, which was the part of the Indy Racing League, He was driving for Truscelli Racing, finishing in the 20th place.
Two Champ Car wins with Patrick Racing
For the 2000 CART season, Moreno finally had a full-time ride. He joined Patrick Racing and it turned to be his career-best season. After two podiums, at Twin Ring Motegi and Portland, maiden CART victory followed at Marconi Grand Prix in Cleveland.
Moreno remained with Patrick Racing for the 2001 CART season. He won at Vancouver, adding two more podiums. Other results weren't so good and he finished 13th in the final standings.
Retirement at the end of 2003
After being out of racing in 2002, Moreno returned to Champ Car for one more last season in 2003, driving for Herdez Competition. His best result was the second place at Miami, he finished 13thin the final classification. At the end of the year, he announced a retirement from a professional motorsport.
Of course, he never retired completely, as he collected many races after that, competing occasionally not only in single-seater races but also in the sports car races and stock car races.
Daytona 24h debut in 2005
In February 2005, Moreno debuted at 24 hours of Daytona, driving the #09 Crawford-Pontiac prototype for Spirit of Daytona Racing. His co-drivers were Doug Gard, Stephane Gregoire and Bob Ward. They retired after 194 laps. Later in the season, Moreno participated in five more Grand-Am Rolex Series races with the team, without wins and podiums.
Moreno returned to Daytona in 2007, driving Riley-Porsche for Brumos Racing. The #59 crew members were Hurley Haywood, JC France, Joao Barbosa, David Donohue and Roberto Moreno. The 5-men crew finished in the fourth place.
Occasional returns to Champ Car and Indy Car
From 2006 to 2008, Moreno participated in four Champ Car or Indy Car races. In April 2006, he was invited by Vision Racing to race at Indy Car Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
In August 2006, Moreno became the first driver to test the new Panoz-built Champ Car. After running thousands of miles of testing, Moreno got a chance to race it at the 2007 Grand Prix of Houston, driving for Pacific Coast Motorsports.
In May 2007, Moreno also returned to Indianapolis 500, driving Panoz for Chastain Motorsport. He crashed out after 33 laps. Moreno's last IndyCar outing was at Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2008, when he was driving for Minardi Team USA/HVM Racing
Racing in Brazil
Among racing series in which Moreno participated after his official retirement, there were few Brazilian competitions – Stock Car Championship, GT3 Championship or Trofeo Maserati.
In 2014, he participated full season in the Brazilian touring car competition Copa Caçula de Pneus de Marcas e Pilotos, finishing in the fourth place.