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Ana "Bia" Beatriz Caselato Gomes de Figueiredo (born on March 18, 1985, in São Paulomarker) is a Brazilianmarker female racing driver currently competing in the Firestone Indy Lights series. Figueiredo won her first Indy Lights race at Nashville Superspeedwaymarker on 12 July 2008, becoming the first woman to win a race in the Indy Lights series. On June 20, 2009 Bia won her second Indy Lights race and became the first woman to win a race car event at Iowa Speedwaymarker in Newton, IA.

Career

Early career

Figueiredo started her career in karting races. Initially funded by her family, "Bianinha" ("Little Bia") began kart racing at age eight.

At the age of 12, Afro-Brazilian racing coach Nailor "Nô" Campos, former coach of racers Tony Kanaan, Rubens Barrichello, Enrique Bernoldi and Andre Ribeiro, became her coach and chief mechanic. When Figueiredo's family could no longer fund her racing endeavors at the age of 15, Campos helped her attain sponsorship from the Medley pharmaceutical company, owned by former racer Xandy (Pollini) Negrão, father of racer Alexandre Sarnes Negrão.

With formal sponsorship, Figueiredo finished as runner-up in a variety of karting championships and won the Sorriso Petrobrás Kart Cup championship in 2003.

After three seasons in the Brazilian Formula Renault championship, Figueiredo started competing in Formula Three Sudamericana in 2006, driving for the well-established Cesario Formula team. In 2006, she also drove a Red Bull Volkswagen Touareg for PPD Sports, owned by Pedro Diniz.

2008

In 2008, Figueiredo began racing in the American Firestone Indy Lights Series for defending championship-winning team Sam Schmidt Motorsports under the name Ana Beatriz. Prior to racing in the United States, Figueiredo was referred to as "Bia", not "Ana", and many people, including Figueiredo herself, continue to call her "Bia". Several American reporters have begun to use the name Ana "Bia" Beatriz in their written articles.

Figueiredo placed fifth in the Firestone Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedwaymarker on 23 May 2008, the highest finishing position by a female driver in that race. On 12 July 2008, she led the most laps and won her first Indy Lights race at Nashville Superspeedwaymarker.

With the excitement surrounding Figueiredo's victory a reporter asked if she was the next Danica Patrick. She responded, using her Brazilian nickname Bia, "Everybody is making that comparison... But I always say that I'm always going to be Bia. I'm never going to be Danica... I hope there is a place for a Bia now."

2008 Awards

The results she demonstrated on and off the track gained the attention ofmany, and as a result, she was awarded the Tony Renna Rising Star Award.Named after the late driver, the award was given to Beatriz fordemonstrating qualities as Renna - teamwork, physical fitness, andresourcefulness.

Also, her third-place result in the final championship standings earned her"Rookie of the Year" honors and places her in a position to be achampionship contender in 2009.

2009

Bia returned to the #20 Sam Schmidt car for 2009. She was forced to miss the Milwaukee Milemarker race due to a lack of funding caused by a hard crash in the Freedom 100 the prior week. However, a week later she won the race at the Iowa Speedwaymarker, her second series win. She also skipped the final race of the season due to funding issues. She finished 8th in points despite missing the two races.

Summary career results

Year Category Result Awards
Win, PP, FL Overall
Karting
2000 São Paulo Championship (Category B) Runner-up Price Racing of 2000 - Kart
2001 Brazilian Championship (Category A) 3rd place Capacete de Ouro - Kart
São Paulo Championship (Category A) Runner-up
Brazil Kart Cup Runner-up
2002 Brazilian Championship (Category A) Runner-up Capacete de Ouro - Kart
São Paulo Championship (Category A) 3rd place
2003 Sorriso Petrobrás Kart Cup Champion
Petrobrás Karting Selective Runner-up
Open wheel
2003 Brazilian Formula Renault 2 FL Rookie of the year - Brazilian Formula Renault
2004 Brazilian Formula Renault 5th place
2005 Brazilian Formula Renault 3 win, 3 PP 3rd place Capacete de Ouro - Fórmula
2006 Formula Three Sudamericana 5th place Capacete de Ouro - São Paulo Citizenmarker Driver
2008 Firestone Indy Lights 1 win 3rd place Rookie of the Year, Tony Renna rising star award
2009 Firestone Indy Lights 1 win 8th place


References

  1. IndyCar.com. (12 July 2008) History -- Again IndyCar. Accessed 12 July 2008.
  2. DesMoinesRegister.com. (20 June 2009) [1] Des Moines Register. Accessed 20 June 2009.
  3. Wagner, Phillip. (30 July 2008) Is Bia Brazil's Danica Patrick (Part 1) Motorsport.com. Accessed 31 July 2008.
  4. Knapp Schilke, Nancy. (1 January 2008) Schmidt gives opportunity to Beatriz-Figueiredo Motorsport.com. Accessed 1 January 2008.
  5. Lewandowski, Dave. (1 January 2008) Battistini holds off Antinucci at the Yard of Bricks IndyCar. Accessed 24 May 2008.
  6. Braun, Travis. (16 July 2008) Beatriz looks to carve out own image among women racers USA Today. Accessed 3 August 2008.
  7. Lewandowski, Dave. SSM Sweep, IndyCar, June 20, 2009, retrieved 2009-10-16


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