Tristan Nunez – From Racquets to Racing

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Tristan Nunez

Published on September 30, 2012 with No Comments

DRIVER BLOG
Boca Raton, Fla., September 30, 2012 – Hey everyone, my name is Tristan Nunez. I was born and raised in Florida. I have a Spanish last name but sadly I don’t speak much Spanish. My Dad is from Chile and my Mom is from Illinois. I have a twin brother named Dylan, a dog named Layla and a cat named Kitty.

My Dad is a former professional tennis player who now has a tennis academy where we live in Boca Raton. My brother and I started playing tennis at age 7, and started competing in junior tournaments at age 9. By age 11, we were competing at a national level but my parents could see that I really didn’t have the passion for tennis like my brother had. (Dylan is a beast at tennis, and is ranked #300 in the world of international junior tennis).

I have always loved racing video games and anything to do with racing, so one day my Mom took me to the go kart track and I was hooked! I started racing in karts at a late age of 11, while most of my competitors had been racing since they were 6 years old. We rented karts at first, and then my Uncle Jim bought me my first go kart. He then bought us a trailer so that we could travel to different tracks throughout the state of Florida. I had so much fun in karting because I made so many great friends that I still have today not to mention that it really laid the first layer of foundation to my racing career.

There are many professional racers that use karting as a form of practice for the cars. Many times I would have the privilege to race with Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Rafael Matos, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Jay Howard, and last but not least…the dearly missed Dan Wheldon.

I raced karts at a national level for almost 2 years and then entered a Skip Barber 3 day school. It was then that I knew that racing was in my blood and I would love to be able to race cars for a living. Skip Barber racing school was the best decision I could have ever made. With the help of their many qualified instructors, they assisted me to build a solid foundation of my racing abilities. I learned so much from them and I still thank them to this day for my successes. Those days in Skippy will probably be the best days of my racing career because we had so much fun while learning at the same time. I made great friends and I still have my Skippy coach (Jonatan Jorge) working with me now.

In 2010, while racing karts at the SuperNats in Vegas, I was approached by a man who offered to sponsor me in a Prototype Lites car that was on display. At first I thought he was joking but he wasn’t! I was racing in the Skip Barber Winter Series at the time, and still racing some kart races when I had the opportunity, but I was so excited to try out a different type of racing machine! I did a test and was amazingly fast! It was such a thrill. I raced my first race in the Prototype Lites at the 2011 Twelve Hours of Sebring and came in a close second. Since I was only 15 years old, we decided to continue that year racing with the Skip Barber School to sharpen up my race craft. That turned out to be a great move because I continued to learn so much more (I won the Skip Barber Summer Series Championship) which made me ready to compete at a high level with the 2012 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda series. I am currently leading the championship by 39 points going into the last two races at Petit Le Mans.

And now I am one of the three lucky 2012 TEAM USA Scholarship winners! This is a dream come true for me. I have seen some of my Skippy friends win this same award, and to be joined with them on the list of such amazing talent, is a great privilege and honor.

I LOVE RACING! It’s in my blood and a huge part of my life. When I’m not on the track, I’m on iRacing at home and I try to fit in a little guitar playing too. Racers and Musicians are known to attract the ladies :)

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