Not many names in the industry have the same weight as the Piquet name. Motul is teaming up with Nelson Piquet Jr. as the Brazilian ace returns to his home country to participate in the Brazilian stock car championship. We gave him a call to find out more about it.
Nelson, for those who are unfamiliar with the championship, can you explain what kind of competition Brazilian stock car racing is?
You can best compare it to Australian V8 supercars. It’s by far the biggest form of motorsport in the country. It’s a touring car championship that’s running with identical V8-powered cars. The only difference is the body styles representing two different manufacturers (next year, there will be three). Brazil’s best drivers are all participating, so the level of competition is very high and close racing is guaranteed.
Your return to Brazilian racing also sees the return of a familiar name, Piquet Sports. What’s the story here?
Yes and no. The team has two different chapters. It was first founded by my father to create a platform for me to compete in single seaters. We noticed that a lot of the big teams in F3 had their own agenda and politics. We didn’t feel they always had the driver’s interest at heart. When I got the opportunity to race in F1, we disbanded the team as it wasn’t necessary anymore. Now I’m back in Brazil, I restarted Piquet Sports with a business partner of mine. This time I wanted to make sure the team I was driving for wasn’t purely a commercial team. It’s a team founded by a passion for racing. We’re not in the game to get rich from this. We want to improve our world and racing culture. In a way, we want to set an example for other teams who might have different philosophies. I also really wanted to experience what it would be like to be a team owner.
You’ve raced all over the world. What’s it like to race back in Brazil?
Brazil has its struggles, especially politically. However, it’s an amazing country with a good quality of life. The geographical location and riches of the country make living here very good, and there’s a lot of pros to living in Brazil compared to other countries. The plan is to start the business here and, if we do well, we can start thinking about expanding to the United States.
With the new team, you’re part of the Gazoo Racing family, one of the most successful brands in motorsport. What does that mean to you?
This is the second year I’ve joined forces with Toyota, and it’s just a great brand to be associated with. Being part of this family might also be an excellent way to branch out internationally as the team had so much success worldwide and in all kinds of categories.
Your resumé is impressive, to say the least. You’ve raced all over the world in so many different championships with many successes and accomplishments. If you had to pick one favourite, what would that be?
Oh, that’s easy. That would be Nascar. There is nothing like it in the world in terms of atmosphere. I loved racing in that series!
Do you still have some goals you want to accomplish?
I’m very ambitious so I still have a bucket list before I retire. I’m 35 now, so if I stretch it I still have a good 10 years to go. I’d love to win Daytona and Le Mans. I have participated a few times. The last time I joined Rebellion but to win it overall would be a dream come true.
When I look at the cars you’ve driven, you don’t seem to discriminate. F1, Formula E, rally Cross, Nascar… you name it, and you’ve probably driven it. Why so many different things?
I believe a good driver can race anything. It’s just a matter of being behind the wheel of a competitive car.
This year you’ve teamed up with Motul for the Brazilian stock car championship. What was your first experience with Motul like?
It’s funny, actually. When I was talking to Motul, negotiating this deal, I went into my dad’s garage and looked at what oils and products he had lying around, and about 80% of them were Motul actually. I’ve raced with Motul before when I joined Rebellion with the Vaillant LMP2 team.