Cristiano da Matta - Team TOYOTA

Date of birth : 19 September 1973
Birthplace : Belo Horizonte
Marital status : Single
Height : 165 cm
Weight : 59 kg

Wins : 0
Points scored : 0
Number of GP : 0
Pole Position : 0
Podiums : 0
First GP : 2003 (Melbourne)
Best result : 0


Cristiano da Matta was born on 19 September 1973 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil to a father, Toninho, who was a 14-time Brazilian touring car champion with a career spanning three decades. In 1990, Cristiano started in the Go-Kart series and was a winner from the start. Adopting an identical helmet to the one his father wore, only alternating the colour red to blue, in two-and-a-half years he won every title.

He was the winner of the Minas Championship in 1990 and 1991, the 1991 Brazilian Championship, the 1992 Rio-Minas Championship, and the 1992 Sao Paulo Championship. Da Matta's next step was the 1993 Brazilian Formula Ford Championship and he won the title with 4 victories.

He moved up to Formula 3 in 1994, winning the Brazilian Championship with 4 wins and 2 races to go. The following year, he went to England for the British Formula 3 Series and achieved one victory. Whilst taking part in Formula 3000 in 1996, he started to seriously consider racing in the USA and, in 1997, he relocated to the USA for the Indy Lights Series. Finishing the season in the 3rd position he was given the "Rookie of the Year" honour.

In 1998, he signed with the Tasman team and won the title with 4 victories. After only 2 years in the Indy Lights series, Da Matta achieved 7 wins and 4 pole positions. 1999 was Cristiano's first year in the CART Championship. Team Arciero Wells, which was powered by Toyota engines, called him up and the Brazilian impressed in the opening race with 4th position on the grid, the best of all the Toyota-powered drivers. 2 races after that, in Nazareth, he earned a best finish of 4th.

In 2000, Cristiano drove for PPI Motorsports Toyota/Reynard (previously named Arciero Wells). He took his first victory in the CART series at Chicago and was placed 10th in the overall championship standings. He then moved on to the Newman-Haas team in 2001 and took his Toyota-powered Lola to 3 victories and a total of 5 podium finishes to finish 5th in the CART championship.

In 2002, he claimed victory in the CART drivers' championship with Newman-Haas Racing and Toyota, dominating the series with 7 poles, 7 victories and a total of 11 podium finishes. He now moves to Formula One with Toyota on a two-year contract with Panasonic Toyota Racing. This new move sees him take an already successful relationship to an exciting new level in 2003.

C A R E E R  H I G H L I G H T S

90/92 : Karting
1993 : Formula Ford Brazil
1994 : F3 Brazil.
1995 : F3 UK.
1996 : F3000
1997 : Indy Lights Series, 3rd.
1998 : Indy Lights, champion.
1999 : CART (Arciero Wells)
2000 : CART (PPI Motorsports), 10th.
2001 : CART (Newman Haas), 5th.
2002 : CART (Newman Haas), champion.




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