For this week`s“ETS-Family Interview” we talked to one of the best in the business – defending ETS champion Bruno Coelho from Portugal. Bruno had a big impact to the racing scene at the 2014 touring car worlds in Florida and since these days he became one of the fastest racers on the planet!
Hello Bruno and welcome to our series of interviews where we would like to know a little more from you then we already do! First of all, how are you and your family doing during these days where the whole world seems to slow down a lot? Is everything OK and how do you spent your time now without any RC racing!
Hello guys! Indeed, we are all living very scary times where unfortunately many people have been already affected. As many countries, Portugal is also in self-quarantine. Most people have been almost locked at home for a while now and as a consequence our RC world is completely stopped. Luckily so far me and all my family are healthy, and I hope it remains like this.
Which part of Portugal is your home? Do you live in a bigger city or more on the countryside of Portugal?
I live about 15 minutes away from the center of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, in a small village, which is perfect combination of peace and quiet so close to a busy and fun city.
When you remember your start into the RC Hobby, which car do you remember the most and on which track (or RC-Club) did you race with it?
My biggest memory it is still my first experience with RC. I started in a parking lot close to my house. One day I was passing there, and many people were driving RC cars and my dad stopped by to watch with me. He immediately realized I was super excited with it, so one month later on my 8th birthday he decided to give me my first RC car, a Thunder Tiger 1/10 Touring Nitro.
We remember that your father was with you at your first ETS races and he was also your mechanic! Did he travel with you all the time when you were younger, or did you go to races with other friends or club members too?
My dad used to be my mechanic and sponsor for all classes and we always traveled together (either the 2 of us or with the rest of the family). I never did a race without him before I started to be professional driver.
Did you win and dominate a lot of races in Portugal before you became a “Pro Driver” or would you rate yourself just as a motivated driver with some talent who just found that kind of “switch” in the right moment to became really fast and good!
Yes, I won a lot of races in Portugal and I was sure I had the talent and the hard work to back it up. The challenge was always having the little struck of luck that a kid that live in a country that is not the center of the RC world need. Being from Portugal, with my dad as sponsor and a bit distant from the big RC centers like Italy and Germany meant that all my chances were placed in only 1 race a year, either the World or European Championship dependent on which one was in Europe.
What was your regular job at home in Portugal before you became a professional RC Racer?
I was a contract manager for transport trucks. Basically, I was working for a truck company that was renting their trucks to a private people. My job was verifying the trucks, checking if everything was in a good condition according to the contract, planning the services, tire changes, and sometimes if there was something broken on a truck I needed to find out if it was defect or just bad use from the driver.
Was there a special race or a specific season of racing where you noticed that you are really good or maybe good enough to do this as a real job for a living or did that just happen by accident?
When I was 14, I won the Junior WC 1/8 On road nitro in Argentina, finishing 12th overall and won the Junior European Championship (15th overall) in Sweden where I was dominating the semi-final where I started 4th and after 3 minutes I was leading by a good gap and I did the best lap of the race, unfortunately my unexperienced cost me a big mistake in the middle of the semi as I crashed. My dreaming came very big that year to be a professional driver. But through the years no company wanted to invest on me. They said that Portugal was a small country so there was no point to sponsor or either to pay the travels as it was too expensive to travel all the time to the big races in the center of Europe. So, I started to lose that dream until I was 21 when finally, my dream came true.
Since you race at all the big racing series like ETS, EOS, ENS and also the worlds and euros it seemed that you were able to win big races just from the beginning. What was the biggest difference and challenge for you when you attended more of these big international races? Was it more the racing itself or everything around these events with all the preparation and the traveling which you had to get used to?
Through the years that I was not professional we had limited amount of money for races. Which means that you are limited on the amount of testing and of course limited on the resources like number of engines available or types of tires. So for me the biggest difference is the amount of testing and preparation I can now do and also the fast pace of traveling from place to place to attend all races I need to do.
Is it sometimes funny or difficult to explain people who are not involved in RC Racing what your “Job” is and that you get paid for racing with toy cars?
Haha, yes it´s kind of difficult and sometimes embarrassing when someone asks you what’s your profession and they end up not having an idea that RC even exist. Sometimes it’s funny because even when they don’t understand they kind of congratulate you for how far you go, but sometimes it’s really frustrating when that person goes like "really you get paid for that?".
You are now racing at the highest level since 6 years and you have a lot of different sponsors. That must be like a dream come true to get paid to do what you love the most. Which are the real ups and downs doing RC racing as a fulltime job?
For sure my life changed a lot since I´m professional driver, I´m also very sure that is a dream of every RC driver to become professional as we all started this because we love it. The "ups" are the races, new friends, visiting many countries in the worlds, different cultures, new foods, that´s for sure a very positive side. The "down" side is the time that you stay away from your family, girlfriend, best friends and Portugal which is a country that I really love to live.
During a regular racing season you race in many different classes from electric touring cars to 1:10 scale offroad and all the nitro cars. A lot of people might know how difficult it is for you to switch between all these classes from week to week? Do you still try to practice a lot for all these classes or do you just use the big amount of races to get your driving on point?
Yes, sometimes it is difficult but I normally get used to it very fast. Honestly, I don´t practice that much. When I´m in Portugal I try to spend most time with my family, girlfriend and friends. When I have some time left, yes, I do some RC but only for fun not really to practice for some specific race. Before the big races I normally practice 2 or 3 days together with the XRAY team in some track.
You are using XRAY cars for your complete racing program as you are their top factory driver. Do you think it is a huge benefit to have all cars “out of one hand” in case of support and setup knowledge?
For sure is a big benefit as XRAY shares their knowledge in all different classes. For example sometimes we find something that works very good in 1/10 touring electric and we try it in 1/10 off road electric and it works as well so I´m sure that is very positive to have all classes in one brand.
Your mechanic Francesco Martini travels with you to a lot of races and it seems that you work together very good as a team. Some top drivers work with a mechanic, some prefer to work on their cars by themselves! How important is it for you to have somebody around yourself in the pits who you can talk to in case of setup, track conditions, the next round of qualifying, strategy and all these things?
I think that is very important to have one person on your side to help you not only on the set-up matter but many times also to have a look on the track and discuss about how the car is working, lines, etc. It´s also important that the person on your side is able to be open mind and bring their own vision to a discussion so that more sides are covered.
With Francesco I´m sure that he is not only my mechanic but also a huge friend that helped me when I became a professional racer. He was such a big support when me and my father started in the first years as professional. We didn’t know much about 1/10 touring electric class, it was very new for us, and it was such an advantage to have Francesco sharing his many years of experience from the get go. Eventually Francesco decided to stop driving and started to follow all my electric touring car races. This was a decision that for sure I will be thankful for the rest of my live to him.
Bruno, until now you have won many ETS titles, you became a three times world champion (2x4WD Buggy, 1xISTC Touring Car) and you won a 1:8 buggy euros and many more titles. Is there one special title for you who stands over all the others and if so, just let us know why and how it felt to win it!
All of them were special for me. But I can say that the 1/10 TC World Championship in South Africa and the 1/8 off road nitro European Championship in Portugal had maybe a better "taste".
The Worlds in South Africa because on the Warm up we had such a big advantage to the other drivers and at the Worlds everything was not running as we expected and in the finals we found out the mistake and we were able to turn the second grid place to a victory, passing two times Ronald Volker that we all know to pass him in one final is already a big "world championship".
The euros in Portugal because it was at my country, having so many people pushing me, giving me confidence, supporting me and giving me so much reasons to never give up and “fight for the win we all believe in you”! It´s a great feeling during the final passing the straight line and listen during 45 minutes in the middle of all engines and all your focus a crowd of people screaming your name, making noise. This is something that gives you an extra power and it will be in my memory forever and for sure something that I would like to feel again!
When you are not at the racetrack, do you have some other hobbies or things you like to do when you are at home with your girlfriend or your family?
When I´m not at racing I used to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend and friends. I also have some other hobbies like driving my sport car on a race track, CrossFit, play computer and some other things.
Which is your favorite Food and Drink?
I´m a meat lover so everything with meat I really like. I would say maybe a good all you can eat Brazilian Barbecue, about drink nonalcoholic drink I would say Sprite and alcoholic drink Vodka Black with lemon.
Do you support a special football club and who is your favorite player?
In Portugal my club is Sporting Lisbon. My favorite player is for sure Cristiano Ronaldo and I think I no need to say why!!!!! HEHE
Is there something you are NOT good at and you absolutely don`t like to do?
Interviews! No, I´m joking, haha. I´m not good at cutting bodies. I hate it.
Which of your racing classes do you enjoy racing the most?
I really like 1/8 on road nitro. It´s my favorite class. The fastest and I always have fun driving it.
Who was your personal “Star of RC Racing” when you were young?
When I was young for sure Lamberto Collari as I was driving only on road nitro and in that time he was unbeatable.
Difficult question: Which RC Track you like the most (Onroad, and Offroad)?
On road it´s very difficult to say, I would say RC Addict in Thailand as a layout, race itself and Hudy Arena as by far the best facilities in the world.
Off road I would say the 1/8 off road Worlds in Australia 2 years ago, I don´t remember the name of the track but I really liked that track.
Bruno, thank you for your time and all the information you gave us. We are really looking forward to see you race for many more years with us and we wish you and your whole family all the best.
Please give a final shout out to all of your sponsors and the people you want to say “thank you” to!
I would like to say thanks to my family, special thanks to my father that never give up on me, girlfriend, friends, sponsors that always do everything to make the best result as possible. I´m really sorry about what is happening now around the world but I´m sure that this will pass and we will all get back to the track, doing what we love to do with the people that we enjoy and have fun to be with.
|06.||Frederik B. Mikkelsen||592pts|
|03.||Martijn v. d. Heijden||569pts|
|04.||Steven M. Olsen||598pts|