WHAT The Fittipaldi family and championships
WHERE Europe and America
WHEN From 1972 to 2014
he fall of 2014 was an interesting time for
the Fittipaldi clan. Christian wrapped up the
TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s
Prototype class in October, earning his first
title since the 1991 Formula 3000 crown.
In November, his storied uncle, just a few
weeks after the 40th anniversary of his
second Formula 1 World Championship,
announced a one-off racing return, aged 67!
Maybe this shouldn’t surprise us,
however, because Emerson Fittipaldi had
an incredibly strange career at the top of
racing. A driver who scores points in only
his second F1 Grand Prix, wins his fourth,
earns the World Championship two years
later and gains his second two years after
that – still only 27 – might have achieved a
victory tally surpassing all who went
before and most who came after.
Yet, after 14 wins with Lotus and
McLaren, Emmo joined brother Wilson at
his one-year-old Copersucar team. Five
soul-destroying seasons later, highlighted by
just two podium finishes, Emerson quit F1.
In 1984, occasional outings in CART
Indy cars relit the Fittipaldi fire, and for ’ 85,
at the age of 38, the revitalized Brazilian
started the second half of his career with
F1’s class of ’ 73.
Jackie Stewart found
Emerson Fittipaldi a
very worthy and fast
adversary, and the
Brazilian had beaten
him to the title in the
Three fourth-place finishes,≠ the last of them
here at Hockenheim in 1994 for Footwork,
were Christian’s only Formula 1 highlights.
Christian took two CART Indy car victories –
Road America in ’ 99 and Fontana in 2000.
He was also known as a wet-race specialist.
Pat Patrick Racing, for whom he won the
1989 Indy 500 and CART championship.
From 1990 through ’ 95, Emmo was at
Team Penske, scoring a second “500”
victory in 1993. When he crashed his Carl
Hogan-run Penske at Michigan in ’ 96, 49-
year-old Fittipaldi retired for the second
time, with 22 Indy car wins to his name.
Nephew Christian followed the same F1-
to-CART path, but he never escaped the
backmarker Formula 1 teams. Switching to
Indy car for 1995, he first joined Walker
Racing – for whom he was runner-up in the
Indy 500, earning Rookie of the Year
honors – and then spent seven years at
However, most of those fell between NHR
golden eras as Reynard/Honda/Firestone
dominated and, for the most part, Christian
was overshadowed by his teammates – first
Michael Andretti, then Cristiano da Matta.
He also suffered two leg-breaking crashes.
After Brazilian stock cars failed to grab
his interest, Christian turned his hand to
sports cars, culminating in this year’s
victory with Joao Barbosa at the Rolex
24 Hours of Daytona and as co-champions
in the inaugural TUDOR Championship.