Ricardo Zonta facts for kids

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Ricardo Zonta
Ricardo Zonta 2007 Curitiba.jpg
Nationality Brazilian
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19992001, 20042005
Teams BAR, Jordan, Toyota
Races 38 (36 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 3
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0

Ricardo Luiz Zonta (born March 23, 1976) is a Brazilian professional racing driver.

Early career

Born in Curitiba, Brazil, Zonta began karting in 1987, winning his first race shortly thereafter. The following year, he was runner-up for the Curitiba Karting Championship, and in 1991, he won the title. He continued karting until 1992, finishing fourth in the São Paulo Karting Championship before progressing to single-seaters for 1993. He finished 6th in the Brazilian Formula Chevrolet Championship, and then in 1994, came fifth in the Brazilian Formula Three Championship. A year later, Zonta won both the Brazilian and South American Formula Three Championships.

Moving to Europe in 1996, Zonta competed in the International Formula 3000 Championship for Draco Racing, winning two races and finishing fourth overall. In the same year, he became the first Brazilian to compete in International Touring Cars, with Mercedes. In 1997, he won three races and the Formula 3000 championship. He also took home the "Golden Helmet" award for best international driver for his efforts. The Jordan Formula One team signed him as their official test driver following his championship, and in 1998, he was signed by McLaren boss Ron Dennis. Zonta tested with the McLaren Formula One team in 1998, and concurrently won the FIA GT Championship (GT1 class) and the "Golden Helmet" award in the "world prominence" category.

In October 1998, immediately after winning the FIA GT championship, Zonta signed up with the B.A.R. Formula One racing team as one of its race drivers for the 1999 season, after rejecting offers from Jordan and Sauber.

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