Photo: Courtesy IMSA

Christian Fittipaldi Announces Retirement From Racing

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin — Christian Fittipaldi announced at Road America that the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona will be his final competitive professional race as the 47-year-old will turn his attention outside the race car as the teams’ full time Sporting Director as they compete in the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.

Fittipaldi has had a racing career full of variety. Winning the 1991 International F3000 championship opened his world to Formula One where he raced for three years before going to the U.S. in 1995.

Fittipaldi won the 1995 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award before another few seasons in CART eventually led him to sports cars and the majority of his success in racing with Action Express Racing.

The nephew of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, Christian won three Rolex 24 races overall with the final two coming with Action Express Racing. While next year’s Rolex 24 will be his final professional race, Fittipaldi indicated it probably won’t be his last time behind the wheel.

“I’m not going to be one of those really anal guys that say, ‘Oh, now I do not touch a steering wheel any more,'” said Fittipaldi. “If it’s something that I’m motivated for, if it’s something that’s cool, even for example two or four years down the road if I have a competitive ride or someone offers me something cool for a GT car and all that, like I would do it but I don’t see me doing it weekend in, weekend out. That’s a part of my chapter that’s closed already.”

During the Brazilian’s time in the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, he co-won two championships with Joao Barbosa in 2014 and 2015, winning five races in those two seasons and 14 podiums. Fittipaldi and Barbosa finished second in the championship in 2016, three points behind Action Express teammates Dane Cameron and Eric Curran.

Fittipaldi also had stints in NASCAR and Brazilian stock cars.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.