Felipe Nasr is a Brazilian racing driver who recorded 39 starts in the Formula One World Championship, driving for Sauber in 2015 and 2016. His latest success is the championship title in the 2018 IMSA SportsCar Championship, together with Eric Curran in a Cadillac DPi.
Earlier in a career, he spent three seasons in the GP2 Series, won the British F3 Championship in 2011 and won the Formula BMW Europe in 2009.
Early days in Brazil and South America
Luis Felipe de Oliveira Nasr was born on August 21, 1992, in Brasilia. Just like many boys who are dreaming about great racing career, Felipe started his career in karting, at the age of seven. During the seven years spent in karting racing, Nasr won three national titles which allowed him to step up to the higher ranks.
In 2008, Nasr started to drive in Formula BMW Americas and in his rookie season qualified for the season's finale at Interlagos. In the final two races, he was 5th and 3rd.
Departure to Europe and winning the Formula BMW title
Moving to Europe was the next step in Nasr’s career. The talented Brazilian of the Lebanese ancestry left his home in 2009 to become a driver of the Eurointernational team that was competing in Formula BMW championship.
Felipe did an extraordinary job and won the title in the first attempt. He won 5 out 16 races and had other 9 podiums, taking the crown in front of his teammate Daniel Juncadella.
Once he won the title, Nasr earned the right to have a test with a Formula 1 team Sauber, but unfortunately, that didn't happen because BMW, who was an engine supplier of Sauber team, left the series.
British Formula 3 champion
In the next two years, Nasr competed at the British Formula 3 championship. In his first season in the series, Felipe drove for Raikkonen Robertson team and picked one win and three podiums out of 30 races, finishing the season in 5th place.
He stayed in the series in 2011, but this time as a driver of Carlin team. Nasr won the title after some impressive performances. Brazilian won seven races and had a total of 17 podiums, scoring 318 points and beating the runner-up Kevin Magnussen by 81 points!
Switch to GP2 Series and 3rd place in Daytona 24h
Felipe had more commitments in the upcoming year but his main duty was driving in GP2 Series with DAMS team. Unfortunately, the results weren’t as good as in previous years but Nasr still had four podium finishes to take 10th position in the Drivers’ championship that year. He also debuted in Macau Grand Prix and finished 2nd, losing to Juncadella by only 0.359s.
The same year Felipe tested himself in endurance racing, debuting in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Driving Michael Shank Racing’s Riley-Ford alongside Jorge Goncalvez, Michael McDowell, and Gustavo Yacaman. Nasr finished third which was a very good result. He also appeared in two races of Formula 3 Euro Series and drove again in Macau Grand Prix in which he took 5th place, behind Antonio Felix da Costa, Felix Rosenqvist, Alex Lynn and Pascal Wehrlein.
Nasr finally wins GP2 Series race
For the 2013 campaign, Nasr remained in GP2 Series, driving for Carlin alongside Jolyon Palmer. Even in the second attempt he couldn’t win the race but moved up in the rankings to the 4th place, scoring six podiums out from 22 starts.
Finally, Felipe managed to win not one, but four races in 2014, his last year in GP2 Series. As a driver of Carlin, he was the winner at Catalunya circuit, Red Bull Ring, Silverstone, and Spa, but still, he finished the season in 3rd place, well behind Palmer and only five points behind Stoffel Vandoorne.
Williams hires Felipe Nasr as a reserve and test driver
What was more important for Felipe’s further career was an opportunity to test himself in Formula 1. He became a test driver for Williams F1 team and was given a chance in five free practice sessions and three tests over the 2014 season which was a good experience and a preparation for the upcoming season.
Brilliant Formula 1 debut
Nasr signed with Sauber F1 team for 2015 and the start was like a dream. In the opening race in Australia and in his debut in the most prominent racing competition, Felipe finished 5th.
The whole season was pretty good for this Brazilian rookie as he picked more points in other five races and finished 13th in the championship which was a really good achievement, considering all the troubles that team had over the year.
Those troubles, unfortunately, continued in 2016. Nasr managed to score points in only one race, finishing ninth at the Brazilian Grand Prix and placing himself to 17th place in the final championship standings.
Leaving F1 in 2017, winning IMSA SportsCar Championship in 2018
For the 2017 F1 season, Sauber replaced Nasr with Pascal Wehrlein, so the young Brazilian had to left the major racing series and he spent a season out of premium racing, recording just few starts in the Brazilian GT3 Endurance Cup.
In 2018, he joined Action Express Racing as a full time driver of the #31 Cadillac DPi in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, alongside Eric Curran. They opened a season with second place at Daytona 24 Hours. The victory came in the fifth round at Detroit Belle Isle. It remained their only victory but it was good enough to take the championship title.
Debut at Le Mans in 2018
In June 2018, Nasr made a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving a Dallara LMP2 prototype for Cetilar Villorba Corse. Sharing a car with two Italian drivers Roberto Lacorte and Giorgio Sernagiotto, he finished 19th overall and 11th in LMP2 class.
For the 2019 IMSA season, it was announced that Nasr will share AXR's #31 Cadillac with another Brazilian racer Pipo Derani. They won two races, including Sebring 12 Hours, and finished second in the final classification of the Prototype class. Nasr also joined Dragon Racing in three races of Formula E Championship.