Emerson Fittipaldi, also fondly known as “Emmo”, from Brazil is a renowned race car driver who has achieved much in Formula One, the Indianapolis 500 and CART. He remains involved in motor sports to this day and still has a large fan following dating back from his early racing years. As a Formula One driver Emerson Fittipaldi will leave a lasting impression on the sport.
Emerson Fittipaldi was born on 12 December 1946 in Sao Paulo of Brazil. His father, a well known auto racing journalist named Wilson Fittipaldi, named him after American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. Together with his brother Wilson Jr., Emerson took a great interest in motor sports. The two Fittipaldi brothers established their own business of creating custom car accessories when only in their teens. In 1967 they began building their own racing karts and competed with great success. In fact, Emerson was the Brazilian kart champion when 18 years old. Emerson Fittipaldi moved to England in 1969 to pursue a career in motor sport. On arriving in England he purchased a Formula Ford and Jim Russell, a racing school owner, took him under his wing. He quickly began bringing in winning results, winning the Lombank F3 championship. Right from the start his driving was noted for his controlled, smooth style.
Emerson Fittipaldi moved up to Formula 2 in 1970. Colin Chapman asked him to do a Formula One test drive that same year, promptly signing Fittipaldi up on the team. His first race was in a Lotus 49 at Brands Hatch where he came in 8th. He gained victory for his team by winning the United States Grand Prix. In 1972 Fittipaldi became F1 racing’s youngest World Champion – he was 25. Emerson Fittipaldi moved over to McLaren in 1974. That same year he once again won the World Championship title. In 1975 Fittipaldi became disillusioned with the politics of Formula One. Together with Wilson Jr. and Brazilian sugar company Copersucar he formed a new team. Unfortunately the team did poorly and was dismantled by 1982 due to lack of funds.
Following this time Emerson Fittipaldi moved back to Brazil to care for the auto accessory business and citrus farms. Whilst his Formula One career may have come to an end Fittipaldi continued racing, this time in USA IndyCar. The crowds were mad about Emmo. During his IndyCar career he won 2 Indianapolis 500 races. Unfortunately he had to retire after a bad accident in 1996 which resulted in a broken neck for Fittipaldi. Whilst recovering he was involved in a private airplane crash in which he hurt his back. Emerson Fittipaldi is still popular in the motor sports world and will remain such for many years to come.