This year, whether you’re working or spectating at a UK circuit there will be no missing Bruno Costa on track in this distinctive new Brazil-themed helmet; as he embarks upon a second full season of racing outside his home country.
Thanks to the creative talent of renowned motorsport designer Brandon Seaber, we worked with Bruno to bring to life a concept that as well as giving him a recognisable visual identity also contains subtle personal details signifying his racing, professional, and personal journey from Brazil to the UK over the last few years. You can read more about this unique racing backstory in our previous interview with Bruno here.
“When we started talking about a helmet livery, I knew that I wanted something very recognisably Brazilian, but still different to a lot of helmets you see which tend to be generally inspired by the lines and colours of the classic Ayrton Senna design. This was why I decided the predominant colour should be the dark blue from the centre of the flag instead of the more usual yellow and green. With that as our base, we then thought about ways we could further make the helmet very special to me and different from any others out there."
"Having a personal helmet design is just something I never thought of doing before, because we always said that spending money on things that don’t make the car faster is a waste! So I’m looking at it now and thinking that it’s not real or can’t possibly be mine… it’s a dream come true."
Beyond that strikingly obvious nationality theme, there are also several subtle key details that make the design particularly personal to Bruno. The Portuguese phrase ‘Nada pode me separar de deus’ translates as ‘Nothing can separate me from God’ in English, and has been directly replicated from a tattoo on Bruno’s right arm (as well as being an adaption of a phrase childhood hero Ayrton Senna posthumously became closely linked with).
Furthermore, while the stars on the side of the helmet may initially seem to be placed randomly, they actually correspond to the Brazilian flag design which features a map of the night sky on the date Brazil became a republic in 1889. The specific constellation featured here on the helmet represents Bruno’s home state of Ceará in the North East of the country.
Bruno will race in the Monoposto championship again this season, hoping to build upon a debut season which saw him take fourth in the class championship and Rookie of the Year award. For a more detailed rundown on the ups and downs of the 2021 season you can check out our previous review article here.
Bruno and JKS car owner John Kirby have been busy over the winter with a switch from Monoposto’s bike-engined 1000cc class to the larger capacity 1400cc regulations, necessitating a switch in the Suzuki Hayabusa-derived power unit and some resulting packaging issues. The team are confident however that this change will resolve a key weight disadvantage that they faced racing in the smaller bike engine class in 2021.
The car will continue to run at most circuits in its now distinctive wingless low-drag set-up, with Bruno having recently completed his university dissertation on underfloor aerodynamics using his work on engineering the JKS machine as a case study.
We caught up with Bruno during our photo shoot at Silverstone to hear about how he was feeling going into a second season racing the car.
What are the main things you learned last season that you’ll take into this year?
Every track was new to me last season, and on top of this I didn’t know much about the dynamics of the car and myself in relation to the driving style required to get the most performance out of it.
What I noticed though was how much I was capable of learning even across just one event, and how big the improvements in lap time were. I always started the weekend struggling as we sometimes even went straight into qualifying with no practice or test time. This increases your nervousness about what’s going to happen, but ultimately I felt like I finished the weekend as a different man in terms of the huge amount I had progressed.
Despite all the help you have, you ultimately have to do most of your learning on your own in the car; from your own mistakes or also things that go well that you take on to future performances.
This year, set-up wise we will always be a lot closer straight away because of all the data we have from last year, and that will already give me a lot of confidence at the start of every weekend.
Last season you said to me there were some occasions when you felt like the race weekend needed to be longer, because just as you felt you’d make a breakthrough with performance it was over?
Because of the rate I was having to learn at with the lack of test or practice time, I knew that I often had more to give with just one more lap, five more laps, or even sometimes one more race! Overall though, although this was frustrating, because of the amount I was able to progress over just two or sometimes even one day this has definitely increased the confidence for this year. We looked at the data and saw that the fastest laps over the whole event were often coming in the final stages of the races.
There was also a weekend last year at Oulton Park where due to a technical failure on the car in qualifying I was unfortunately unable to take part in the race, so I definitely feel like we have unfinished business there, around a track I was really starting to enjoy driving just as we had to stop. Alongside going into the season feeling generally much more prepared after a successful off-season, we’re just generally in a much stronger position than where we were last year, which naturally brings some confidence.
Do you have any overall goals for the season?
It’s maybe a bit of a cliche but obviously I do want to win the Moto 1400 class championship. Last year everything was so difficult, we started the season not even knowing if we’d be able to do more than one round, but we still ended with a good result and came very close to a top three finish. I aimed for consistency and always getting even just one or two points wherever we could.
This year, with the benefit of more preparation time over the off-season, where before we were never sure if we could make it, now we naturally have higher aims. We have a new engine, and new improvements elsewhere on the car... all with the overall aim of developing it into a winning machine. In addition to this I’ve been training, practicing in the simulator to learn more about the circuits we’ll be going to, and finishing my university engineering course will allow me more time to focus on preparation for racing.
Bruno’s season begins at Snetterton this weekend (23/24April), one of the few UK circuits still completely new to him as it was not used on last year's championship calendar. You can keep track of his progress over the course of the 2022 season by following his social media channels; where he’ll be putting out some special BTS content from race weekends.
Alternatively, keep your eye on the 130R Performance feed and here on the news section of the website where we will be documenting our support of Bruno’s racing journey over the course of the year.
Finally, we’d like to extend sincere thanks to all those involved in bringing this project together over the off-season: Brandon Seaber and Rich-Art Concepts for the helmet design and painting respectively, Sprite Photography for capturing the fantastic studio and track shots featured here, and Aston Martin for the use of their Silverstone Stowe Circuit.