Role Racing driver
Name Cristiano Matta
|Best finish 1st - 2002|
|Born 19 September 1973 (age 42) (1973-09-19) Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil|
Achievements 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series Champion
Team(s) Arciero-Wells PPI Motorsports Newman-Haas PKV Racing Dale Coyne Racing RuSPORT
First race 1999 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami (Homestead)
Similar People Olivier Panis, Antonio Pizzonia, Bruno Junqueira, Jimmy Vasser, Gil de Ferran
Years active 1999–2002, 2005–2006
Cristiano da matta biography auto racing driver
Cristiano Monteiro da Matta (born 19 September 1973) is a Brazilian former professional racing driver. He won the CART Championship in 2002, and drove in Formula One with the Toyota team from 2003 to 2004.
- Cristiano da matta biography auto racing driver
- Cristiano da matta indianapolis 2004 on board lap
- Origins and early career
- North American racing
- Formula One
- Return to USA
- Collision with deer during test
- Brazilian Championship Formula Truck
- American Le Mans Series
- Complete International Formula 3000 results
- Complete Indy Lights results
- Complete CARTChamp Car results
- Complete Formula One results
Cristiano da matta indianapolis 2004 on board lap
Origins and early career
Da Matta's father was Toninho da Matta, a 14-time Brazilian touring car champion. Born in Belo Horizonte, Cristiano da Matta began karting at the age of 16, adopting a helmet design nearly identical to his famous father's helmet. He quickly rose to the top by winning numerous karting championships before winning the 1993 Brazilian Formula Ford championship. In 1994, he continued his successful ways, winning the Formula Three Sudamericana championship. In 1995, da Matta participated in the British Formula 3 series, winning one race and placing eighth in the standings. He then placed 8th in the following year's Formula 3000 championship, with a best finish of 4th at Pau.
North American racing
1997 saw da Matta move to the United States for the Indy Lights racing series, in which he won Rookie of the Year honors. The next year (1998), he won the championship by winning 7 races and securing 4 pole positions. In 1999, da Matta raced in the CART series for Team Arciero Wells, which were running Toyota engines; da Matta drove a Toyota-powered car from then until 2004. His first win came in 2000, and despite some sponsor opposition he joined the front-running Newman/Haas Racing team for 2001. He won the CART drivers' championship in 2002 under Toyota power with the Newman/Haas Racing team, dominating the year with 7 race wins and 7 poles.
Da Matta completed his move up the racing ladder in 2003, reaching the pinnacle of motor sport with the Toyota Formula One team. He scored 10 championship points that year, four more than seasoned veteran and teammate Olivier Panis, and soon made a name for himself in Formula One when he spent much of the first half of the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix hounding reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher in the monsoon-hit race. His fortunes took a downturn in 2004, however. Having scored only 3 championship points, da Matta lost his race seat to Ricardo Zonta after the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. This was not only due to performance issues, but also due to Da Matta openly making statements about how uncompetitive the Toyota was.
Return to USA
In 2005, da Matta moved back to the Champ Car World Series, to race for the PKV Racing team. That season he won the race at Portland, and finished 11th overall in the standings. For the 2006 Champ Car season, he switched to the Dale Coyne Racing to drive the No.19 Ford Lola, until 9 June 2006, when he switched teams again, to take over A. J. Allmendinger's seat at RuSPORT. Second place at San Jose left him 6th overall in the series.
Collision with deer during test
On 3 August 2006, da Matta's car was involved in a collision with a deer that ran in front of him as he headed towards turn 6 during Champ Car open testing at Road America. He hit the deer with his right front tire, the deer then flew back and hit da Matta in the cockpit. It is believed when the deer hit da Matta in the cockpit, he was knocked unconscious. He remained unconscious with his foot still on the throttle when the safety crew arrived and extricated da Matta from the car. Da Matta was then airlifted to Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisconsin, where he underwent surgery to remove a subdural hematoma. Following the surgery, da Matta was placed in an induced coma, to allow for the swelling to subside. As of 7 August, da Matta was making "slow but steady progress", while the doctors were working on reducing da Matta's level of sedation. This slow recovery was confirmed on 9 August, as it was reported that da Matta was able to move "all of his extremities spontaneously as well as in response to physical stimulation". On 20 August, da Matta was transferred out of intensive care. On 30 August, da Matta was confirmed to have made steady progress, conversing in English and Portuguese, and walking short distances. On 21 September 2006, da Matta was allowed to leave the hospital after having recovered better than expected.
When the Champ Car World Series returned to race in the Grand Prix of Road America on 24 September, da Matta gave the traditional command - "start your engines". Throughout the next couple of years, he engaged in a training and therapy regime while deciding his racing future.
On 20 March 2008, da Matta climbed back into a race car for the first time since his accident, completing a two-day test in a Riley Daytona Prototype prepared by reigning Rolex Sports Car Series champions GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing. He found speed right away, and team owner Bob Stallings said "the comeback has begun." da Matta said, "After the test, I realized 'I still know how to do this, I remember this very well. The biggest thing I felt after the test was just a sense of relief. For me, it was a big, big relief, bigger than big." da Matta paired with former Champ Car champion, Jimmy Vasser, to enter the Rolex Series racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2008. after a solid race, the pair were classified in 32nd position.
Brazilian Championship Formula Truck
In December 2009, Da Matta tested team's Iveco truck, and in January 2010 confirmed that he'll race the 2010 Fórmula Truck season for the Iveco team.
American Le Mans Series
In 2011 Da Matta signed for Rocketsports Racing to race in the American Le Mans Series. He scored 6 points at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. history section 
Complete International Formula 3000 results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Complete Indy Lights results
Complete CART/Champ Car results
Complete Formula One results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
† Did not finish the race, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.