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Mexico and its Remarkable Growth in Motor Sports

Sergio 'Checo' Pérez has Established Himself in Formula One, but Beyond that, Daniel Suárez gave the Aztec Nation its first Nascar Title, While his Compatriot Roberto Martínez did the Same in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

nascar track top view

Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: México y su notable crecimiento en el automovilismo deportivo

Last weekend was historic for Mexican motorsports as three drivers born in this country stood out on three different fronts, they were Sergio 'Checo' Pérez with his podium at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Daniel Suárez with his Nascar title and Roberto Martínez in the no less prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans. The achievements are a new example of the growth experienced by this sport in the North American country.

Pérez is already a reality, consolidated since 2020 in Red Bull, this season he is in the second place of drivers with 129 points, only surpassed by his teammate, Max Verstappen, after the dispute of eight grand prizes in those who have obtained a victory (Monaco) and five podiums.

In the last two seasons, Pérez has finished fourth in the standings: first at Racing Point, in 2020 with 125 points; then in 2021 with Red Bull and 190 units. In the previous season, in fact, he was key in the title obtained by his teammate Verstappen. Therefore, after what was seen last weekend, we must stop to look at Mexico and establish what they are doing well in motorsports.

Winners

Suárez became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race, after beating Chris Buescher in a historic race at Sonoma Raceway. The 30-year-old native of Monterrey triumphed in the 195th start at the wheel of his Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet team car, a team co-owned by the singer Pitbull and which obtained his third victory of the season.

It's no fluke or accident, as Suarez had already claimed the Xfinity Series championship in 2016, becoming just the fifth foreign-born driver to win a Cup Series race, a select list on which The Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, the Australian Marcos Ambrose, the Canadian Earl Ross and the American of Italian origin Mario Andretti appear.

Suarez's success with Trackhouse Racing may well be a boost for a competition eager to expand its cultural footprint. The regio has lived in the United States for 11 years and as you can see, he is already part of the history of this old speed event.

In turn, Roberto Martínez won the Le Mans 24 hour race with the Jota Sport team together with Will Stevens and António Félix da Costa, in the LMP2 category, signing his first victory at this level after 369 laps. We are talking about one of the three races that make up the triple crown of motorsport: The Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 hours, and in a short time Martínez already has one, something that many renowned drivers have not yet reached.

The man from Monterrey also thanked his team for the victory, which gives him a quality leap in his professional career. "Thanks to Jota Sport for their magnificent work, all the drivers and the team from the box did it perfectly," detailed the Récord.

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The causes

Economic modernization has allowed the automobile activity in the North American country to be integrated into the identity of the Mexican, introducing new elements related to the personal improvement of individuals and the sense of competition.

In the decade of the 1970s, both industrial and sports motorsports did not have their best moments due to devaluations and strong conflicts between the state and a much stronger national business class, compared to previous decades.

But the uprising took place thanks to the fact that, in crisis, groups of Mexican investors again attracted the attention of Formula 1 in 1986 and managed to keep it until 1991, an event that, in addition to positively promoting Mexican motorsports, expanded to the World Championship. de Resistencia and CART (the most important formula car championship in the United States) allowing the celebration of events and the stimulation of the tourism industry. At that time, pilots like Josele Garza and Héctor Rebaque began to mark the history of Mexico in this specialty.

Having these referents was the second step, because that facilitated the promotion of the discipline, mobilized the investment of money and motivated the youngest to practice it, beyond the fact that motor racing has always been an expensive sport for the Latin American middle class. Twenty years later, Pérez appeared on the scene, excelled in GP2, rose to F1 and, after a long adaptation cycle with two teams, finally found his place at Red Bull. The rest is history.