Oswaldo Negri Jr.
- May 29, 1964
- International Gt Open
- Spirit of Race
Oswaldo 'Ozz' Negri Jr. is a Brazilian racing driver who spent the most of a career in North American sports car championships, racing from 2002 to 2018 in the American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, and IMSA Sportscar Championship. Since 2004, he raced almost exclusively with Michael Shank Racing. The highlight of his career is an overall victory at Daytona 24 Hours in 2012.
Earlier in a career, between 1986 and 2000, Negri competed in many different open-wheel championships in South American, Europe, and the US. He won Brazilian Formula 3 Championship in 1990 and Indy Lights Panamericana in 1998.
Three seasons in Europe early in a career
Born in May 1964 in Sao Paulo, Oswaldo Negri Jr spent teenage years in karting competitions, taking many championship titles. He was Brazilian champion four times. In 1986, at the age of 22, he moved to car racing in the Brazilian Formula Ford, finishing in the third place in his rookie season.
After that success, he continued a career in Europe, joining Techspeed Racing in the Formula 3 Euro Series and British F3 Championship. He stayed in Europe until 1989, not scoring any success.
Brazilian Formula 3 Championship in 1990
In 1990, Oswaldo returned to South America and raced both in the Brazilian and South American Formula 3 Championships.
He became a national champion, driving Ralt-Volkswagen for Daccar team. In the South American Championship, he was second, behind Christian Fittipaldi.
Two more seasons in the British Formula 3
With newfound confidence, Negri traveled to Europe in 1991, trying again in the British Formula 3 Championship. Driving for Bowman Racing, he scored two podiums to finish ninth in the points. The champion was his compatriot Rubens Barrichello.
In 1992, he was driving for West Surrey Racing in the British Formula 3, winning one race and finishing fourth in the points. The champion was again another Brazilian – Gil de Ferran.
Four seasons in the Mexican Formula 3
In 1993, it was a time for a new challenge and Negri entered the Mexican Formula 3 Championship. He stayed in that championship until 1996, becoming a regular race winner and winning one race every year.
His best result was the third place in the championship in 1994. In the next two seasons, he finished fourth in the classification.
Four successful Indy Lights seasons
In 1997, Negri joined Genoa Racing on a part-time schedule in the CART Indy Lights Championship, not scoring wins or podiums in seven races. Then, in 1998, he raced in the Indy Lights Panamericana, the Mexican version of the Indy Lights series, winning the championship title with three wins in eight races.
In 1999, Negri finished second in the Indy Lights Panamericana and made one start in the US-based Indy Lights Series. In 2000, he was third in the Indy Lights Panamericana. It turned out to be his last season in the open-wheel racing.
Switching to sports car racing in 2002
Negri was out of racing in 2001 and then switched to sports car racing in 2002, making a debut at Sebring 12 Hours with JMB Racing's Ferrari 360 Modena. In February 2003, he made a debut at Daytona 24 Hours, driving the #3 Fabcar-Toyota for Cegwa Sport and not finishing the race.
Later that year he made several starts with Inline Cunningham Racing's Porsche 996 GT3-RS in the American Le Mans Series and Grand American Rolex Series.
Joining Michael Shank Racing in 2004, staying with the team until 2017
For the 2004 Rolex Series, Negri joined Michael Shank Racing and started one of the longest partnerships in the North American sports car competitions. He stayed with the team for the fourteen seasons, until the end of 2017.
In his first season with MSR, Negri was driving the #6 Doran JE4-Lexus, sharing a car with Burt Frisselle. They finished 12th in the point of Daytona Prototype class.
Daytona podium and maiden Grand-Am Rolex Series victory in 2006
In 2005, the team switched to Riley chassis, retaining Lexus engine. Next year, Negri started the season with a podium at Daytona 24 Hours, finishing second in the #60 Riley Mk XI-Lexus. He was sharing a car with Mark Patterson, AJ Allmendinger, and Justin Wilson.
Eight months later, Negri scored his maiden Grand-Am Rolex Series victory at Miller 9 Hours, sharing a car with Mark Patterson and Scott Pruett. He finished 8th in the championship points.
Victory at New Jersey in 2008
Negri was without wins in 2007, finishing ninth at Daytona 24 Hours. He and Mark Patterson were 8th in the championship. They were teammates again in 2008, switching from Lexus to Ford engine. After finishing sixth at Daytona 24 Hours, they won a race at New Jersey Motorsports Park and Oswaldo finished the year 10th in the points.
One more season in the #60 Riley-Ford followed in 2009. Negri and Patterson were on a podium just once, finishing 8th in the Daytona Prototype class final standings.
John Pew as Oswaldo's teammate since 2010
In 2010, Negri stayed in the #60 Riley-Ford but John Pew became his co-driver. They scored three podiums, finishing seventh in the points. At Daytona 24 Hours, they were fifth.
In 2011, they were just once on a podium but that was good enough for the sixth place in the championship. That podium was the second at Lime Rock Park. At Daytona, they were tenth.
Victory at 2012 Daytona 24 Hours
In January 2012, Oswaldo Negri achieved his greatest result in the sports car racing career with Michael Shank Racing, winning the 24 Hours of Daytona. His co-drivers in the #60 Riley Mk XXVI-Ford were John Pew, AJ Allmendinger, and Justin Wilson. Despite that win and two more podiums later in the season, he was just 9th in the points at the end of the season.
In 2013, the last season of the Grand American Rolex Series, Negri missed several races due to right leg injury but scored two podiums in the #60 Riley-Ford to finish 17th in the points. One of those two podiums was the third place at Daytona 24 Hours.
Oswaldo Negri and John Pew stayed together in the #60 Riley-Ford in the 2014 IMSA United SportsCar Championship. They were on a podium once, finishing seventh in the points. The 2015 IMSA season was better in a new Ligier JS P2-Honda prototype. Negri and Pew scored three podiums to finish sixth in the points.
Two IMSA wins and Le Mans debut in 2016
In 2016, again in the #60 Ligier-Honda, Negri scored two victories in the iMSA Sportscar Championship, at Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans. He finished fourth in the points.
In 2016, Negri also made a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was sharing the #49 Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda with John Pew and Laurens Vanthoor, finishing 14th overall and 9th in LMP2 class.
Last season with Michael Shank Racing in 2017
For the 2017 IMSA Sportscar Championship season, Michael Shank Racing made a switch to GTD class with two Acura NSX GT3 cars. Oswaldo Negri was a full-time driver in the #86 Acura, sharing a car with Jeff Segal.
Their best result was the fifth place in GTD class at Daytona 24 Hours. They ended a season 13th in the points, far behind their teammates Andy Lally and Katherine Legge in the #93 Acura.
For the 2018 IMSA season, Michael Shank Racing changed a line-up of drivers and Oswaldo Negri had to find a new team. He joined Squadra Corse Garage Italia to drive a Ferrari 488 GT3 in three races. After that, he competed with Spirit of Race in the 2018-2019 Asian Le Mans Series season, scoring four podiums in a Ferrari to finish second in GT class standings.
Photos: Oswaldo Negri FB, Oswaldo Negri,