Helio Castroneves is a Brazilian car racing driving, who is well-known for winning the Indianapolis 500 four times. He also won the 2021 24 Hours of Daytona and became a runner-up for many IndyCar Series. Castroneves was born in Brazil to an automobile dealer Helio Castroneves Sr and teacher Sandra Alves de Castroneves. In 2000, he changed his surname to Castroneves after he was mistaken for Helio Neves or Helio Castro.
Since his father is an automobile dealer, Castroneves would observe his father’s stock car race team. When he was seven years old, his father gave him a child-sized motorized car, where he can drive down the street. When he turned 11 years old, Alfredo Guarana Menezes gave him his first go-kart. From then on, he would use it to drive around Sao Pablo. His mother doesn’t support him to race, so he tried to do other sports only to find out that he wanted to focus on racing.
He started his racing career when he was 16 years old when he competed in the Formula Chevrolet Brazil, where he became a championship runner-up. He soon moved to a higher tier in F3 Sudamericana by driving a Ralt RT34-Mugen Honda, which was sponsored by Amir Nasr Racing Team. He also ended being a championship runner-up to Fernando Conery with four victories.
He ventured into CART in 1998, when Bettenhausen Racing’s owner Tony had invited him to test his CART team at Sebring International Raceway. Then, he signed to drive the No. 16 Reynard 98i-Mercedez Benz car. He also achieved his top 10 finish in CART, then second place in the Miller 200.
He debuted in the IndyCar Series in 2001, where he was driving the No. 68 Dallara IR-01-Oldsmobile car. He began being the 17th placer after he was forced to retire due to engine failure. At the end of the series, he qualified on the 11th spot.
Castroneves became a household name, as he is considered to be one of IndyCar’s most popular drivers. He was convinced to join the Dancing with the Stars with Julianne Hough.
2001 Indianapolis 500 Winner2001 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona Overall Winner