Donato Prepped For Pro Mazda Debut

Felipe Donato
Felipe Donato
Felipe Donato

DALLAS — M1 Racing will give Brazil’s Felipe Donato the opportunity to experience driving in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires when it fields a car for him in rounds eight and nine this weekend on the Reliant Park street course in Houston.

Donato, 19, of Guarani das Missões, Brazil, will drive the Dallas-based team’s No. 9 car, which will carry sponsorship from Top House Design and Inova Marketing. The team operates in conjunction with its corporate partner, Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery.

Donato started driving go-karts in 2007 as a hobby but soon became very serious about it, competing in the PJK, PK and PGK divisions in his native Brazil. He moved into formula cars in 2011. He was slated to compete in USF2000 this year, but so far he hasn’t made a start in that series this season after flipping during a practice session at the opener in St. Petersburg, Fla. He made 10 USF2000 starts in 2013 though, with his best finish being fifth at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

He didn’t compete in the USF2000 races at Houston last year, so he’ll be getting his first laps of that 1.7-mile, 10-turn street course centered at Reliant Park during his Pro Mazda debut.

“Felipe is eager to get back in a car, as he’s been on the sidelines, waiting,” noted team owner Paul Mata. “He did very well in testing at NOLA [NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La.] on a really hot, humid day.”