This season we’re excited to welcome Bruno Costa to the growing roster of 130R Performance supported athletes. While many of you may know Bruno from the MINI Challenge and BRSCC Fiesta paddocks, what you may not know is how hard he works away from the race track and the sacrifices made in aiming for a dream of both working and racing in the UK. We caught up with Bruno to hear more about his story and aims for a first full season of British motorsport in the Monoposto Racing Club this year.
Bruno (left) with Tom Rawlings during the 2020 MINI Challenge season (photo: Jakob Ebrey)
While this will be Bruno’s first season of racing in the UK, back home in Fortaleza, Brazil he is a competition licence holder and raced in karts and the Super Turismo series; a regional championship which he funded with support from his then employer. In 2016 Bruno visited the UK on vacation with a friend, and as part of the trip attended a round of the BTCC at Snetterton. This was the key moment that triggered Bruno’s interest in UK motorsport, and he became determined to both utilise his mechanical skills and also fulfil his passion of racing outside of Brazil. At this point Bruno spoke very little English, but a meeting with a team manager at Snetterton with his friend translating convinced him that this was the path he wanted to take. On returning home to Brazil, Bruno informed his friends and family of his newfound determination to make a new life and career in the UK, and underlined his commitment by quitting his job as workshop manager at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Fortaleza.
I knew then that I wanted to learn everything I could about racing and engineering, so I went back to Brazil and told my family "I will live there [the UK] and work in motorsport."
After saving some money, partly through the sale of his race car, Bruno returned to the UK in 2017 to attend an English school in London. Alongside his language studies, he took every opportunity he could to attend races at the weekends, trying to gain contacts and opportunities to introduce himself to team owners (even easing the communication challenge by utilising cue cards with simple introductory phrases written in English). During this time he printed many copies of his CV and took them to the racetrack in an attempt to get someone to recognise his determination and passion to work in the sport, alongside his automotive technical experience. While doing this, he often slept overnight at the circuit in a rental car that he’d driven from London, before having to make it back on Monday morning for the week’s lectures. During one of these trips to Snetterton, a chance meeting with JamSport Racing owner Jamie Going occurred, where the team were competing in the Renault Clio Cup. Impressed with Bruno’s work ethic and determined attitude, Jamie offered him an opportunity to come and train with his race team and learn key skills as a race team mechanic, while Bruno continued to improve his English skills at a rapid pace. Life now involved spending the week learning English in London and then taking the train to Northampton to work with the race team every weekend.
People said to me, “Bruno, you’ve got a good job, what will you do? Will you leave everything behind to follow a crazy dream?” What I can say is that I would do it all again, not only for what I’m achieving, but for who I am becoming.
Bruno continued to work at Jamsport Racing, becoming a regular presence on the race team for their BRSCC Fiesta and MINI Challenge JCW drivers (including fellow 130R-sponsored Tom Rawlings, who he was often number one mechanic for). Alongside this, after achieving the necessary conversion from his Brazilian entry qualifications he commenced studying Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes University, where he now continues to balance time between day-to-day work with the race team and academic studies. While the sacrifices that Bruno has made in terms of leaving behind friends, family and his career to work and live alone in another country would have been a challenge at the best of times, when the global pandemic hit in 2020 it meant that he’s unfortunately been even more isolated from home life and unable to return for even short trips due to ongoing travel restrictions.
I believe that regardless of your age or what you do in your life, if you’re authentic people follow you... they get inspired. And that energy becomes a great chain that drive the events in your life, you know? I don’t believe that opposites are attracted, similars are attracted! If you have a good energy you attract good energy, and I always tried to be that person in my life.
This season, Bruno will continue his UK motorsport journey in a single-seat race car run by John Kirby in the Monoposto 'Moto 1000' bike-engine class. Although his self-stated aims are simply to minimise mistakes and maximise his on-track learning time, we also know that he already has talent and solid pace in the car after taking part in one round of the series at Silverstone in 2020. As well as a useful learning weekend, in his first time driving a race car of this type (and first time at Silverstone) Bruno was making fantastic progress in wet conditions before an engine issue ended his weekend prematurely. The Monoposto season commences on April 10 at Donington Park, giving Bruno an opportunity following his Silverstone debut to tick off another box on his list of iconic UK circuits driven.
Photo: Andrew Cliffe/Norwich Photo
When you get the knowledge, the improvements you make are exponential. It used to take me two or three races to learn something, but now it takes me two or three laps because I understand more about the engineering concepts and physics of the car.
We look forward to working with Bruno in his debut UK race season as he builds on his experience of racing in Brazil and continues his development as a driver. You can read more about the Monoposto championship including all of the race dates this season on our dedicated page here and keep up with Bruno's progress over the course of the season by following him on social media.