By Adam Fenwick
3 Minute Read
For the first time in more than a decade, a new NASCAR series is set to take the green flag.
The NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race, the sanctioning body’s fourth international series, will begin its inaugural season Sunday, March 19 at Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna in Goiânia, Brazil. Practice and qualifying will take place Saturday, March 18.
The series, which is a partnership between NASCAR and the GT Sprint Race series, will host eight events at five tracks in Brazil throughout the course of the 2023 season.
“Growing the fanbase and growing the NASCAR brand is something we focus on every day, whether that’s in the United States domestically or outside the United States,” said Chad Seigler, NASCAR’s Chief International Officer. “For us and our team, we’re willing to expand the ways that we can take the excitement that happens here in the United States every week and be able to showcase that style of racing outside the United States.”
NASCAR has already shown there is a desire from both race fans and competitors to have NASCAR-style competition in markets outside the United States thanks to the success of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, NASCAR Mexico Series and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
“What we’ve seen with the existing international series that we have in Mexico, Canada and Europe is that there is a strong passion for NASCAR-style racing,” Seigler said. “For us, when we start to look at new markets, we’re always wanting to identify new markets outside the United States that will not only share that passion, but embrace it.”
Even before the announcement of NASCAR’s impending arrival in Brazil, the country already featured a strong motorsports culture.
For that reason, Seigler sees the addition of NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race to the sanctioning body’s list of series as a major win for the future of not just NASCAR, but for those from Brazil who one day hope to compete in one of NASCAR’s three national divisions.
“When you look at the country of Brazil, motorsports is easily one of the most popular sports in the country,” Seigler said. “We already have strong television viewership in the region. The racing itself and with our promoter, what we’ve watched over the last several years with them, it matches up with who we are. It’s side-by-side, fender-to-fender, competitive racing.
“A strong focal point is going to be on driver development and talent development. In addition to having that NASCAR-style racing that people are accustomed to seeing, it’s about providing a pathway for drivers who may decide they want to come to the United States.”
Many of the drivers competing in NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race have extensive racing experience in both Brazil and abroad.
A few examples are Guga Lima and brothers Leo and Rafa Reis.
Lima, 26, competed in Europe in Formula cars during his teenage years and later raced in the Toyota Racing Series’ New Zealand Championship. The former McLaren Driver Academy participant has been racing stock cars in Brazil since 2015.
Brothers Leo and Rafa Reis will race as teammates during the inaugural NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race season. Both began their careers in karts before advancing to the HB20 Cup in Brazil, where Rafa Reis, 21, has claimed two championships, and Leo Reis, 19, has claimed one.
Fans interested in watching the action from the opening race of the season will be able to do so live on the NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race YouTube page.