Up-and-coming kart racer and future star Gustavo Menezes had a fantastic weekend in Las Vegas at the 13th annual SuperKarts! USA SuperNationals event. The SKUSA SuperNats XIII brought out top drivers from the world of karting and auto racing – including 7-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher, Torro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi and former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. – and Tony Kart / Red Bull / K1 Speed sponsored driver Gustavo Menezes was able to compete at the same event on the same track! Gustavo is only 15 years of age yet already possesses world-class abilities in the karting discipline, and he demonstrated those skills to a sellout crowd at the Rio Hotel and Casino this past weekend.
Gustavo actually competed in two classes at the SKUSA race: the KF2 class and the TaG (Touch and Go) Senior class. Unfortunately, he suffered some setbacks in the qualifying rounds for the KF2 race and started 14th on the grid. Despite this, Gustavo set out to make up position quickly and he deftly went to work shortening up the field at the drop of the green flag. What followed was an absolutely dominating drive that saw Menezes move his way up from 14th place to 4th place for a spot on the 5-position podium. Though he wasn’t able to take home the win, a podium finish from 14th on the grid was an extremely impressive performance that earned him admiration from officials, spectators and his fellow competitors!
In the TaG Senior class, Gustavo found himself facing off against some of the best karters in the country and the world, as the Touch and Go Senior class is an extremely competitive division open to seasoned racers between the ages of 15-30. The fact that this was Gustavo’s first time competing in the Senior division after participating in Junior division races over the last several years didn’t seem to deter him. The TaG Senior 125cc two-stroke karts are extremely fast, lapping only a couple of seconds slower than the shifter kart SuperPro chassis driven by the professionals and F1 drivers, but Gustavo was able to adapt to the new power extremely quickly. Amazingly, Menezes earned himself a 2nd place start on the grid after the qualifying rounds were complete in his first ever TaG Senior event!
At the start of the race, Gustavo lost a position and dropped back to 3rd place but continued to fight for position. Several laps in, Gustavo was able to make a brilliant pass on the two front runners to claim the 1st place position, and understandably, the crowd erupted at the move! The last half of the race saw K1 Speed-sponsored driver Gustavo Menezes lead the field with an impeccable drive, but unfortunately, an on-track incident saw Gustavo drop back once again on the very last lap of the race. Despite leading the race for several laps, Menezes was able to finish in 2nd place in his first ever TaG Senior event against some of the very best karters in the world!
Everyone at K1 Speed would like to congratulate Gustavo Menezes on his fantastic performance at the SKUSA SuperNationals XIII in Las Vegas, Nevada! In addition to earning two podium finishes in the premier event, Gustavo’s performance captured the attention of some of the top names in the industry, and he was awarded a free scholarship to the Jim Russell Driving School! Representatives were impressed with Gustavo’s skill and determination and selected him for their exclusive Future Driver program, which provides young drives with a chance to learn the ropes of formula racing. Needless to say, we are confident that Gustavo Menezes will be a name to look out for in the future and we would not be surprised to see him reach the highest levels of the motorsport ladder. We are proud to have to opportunity to support Gustavo with K1 Speed sponsorship and K1 Race Gear karting equipment, and we look forward to building our relationship!
Photos by Robert Carrier
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