The 2020 racing season has come to an end for Rui Andrade – the only currently competing Angolan racing driver – and, despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 21-year old spread the Visit Angola message to seven countries across the world and set his career on the right path towards his World Championship goals.
Rui started his season in New Zealand, approximately 14,000 kilometres from his hometown of Luanda. The intensive five-week Toyota Racing Series was far from easy but it put him on the front-foot going into the European calendar, while the majority of single seater drivers were enjoying their winter break.
Back in Europe, Rui returned to Euroformula Open, joining reigning champion Team Motopark for the delayed 2020 season. The Visit Angola ambassador flew the Angolan flag on his unique race car in six different countries at seven different racetracks, including some of the most iconic circuits in motorsport history, like Monza and Spa-Francorchamps.
In a season deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Rui showed massive improvement in speed, consistency and race craft. With eleven top-10 finishes and a sixth place to his tally, he proved his potential and has built a strong foundation for a successful career ahead.
“It’s been a tough season to say the least but one I enjoyed the most from my three years in single-seaters,” said the Visit Angola ambassador. “Starting the year in New Zealand is an experience that will stay with me for a long time. It was intense, learning new tracks every weekend, but I gained a huge amount of experience. The European half of the season was challenging, and it was made even harder due to the travel restrictions kept me away from home for such a long period. But I am grateful for being able to carry on with racing because I have learned so much this year. I feel stronger and more confident than ever before and I’m determined to continue this journey and make my country proud.”
“I’d like to say a big thank you for the support from Angola, to all my sponsors and partners and to my family for believing in me during these tough times, allowing me to do what I love the most and become the best I can be. Thanks to Motopark for their hard work. And thanks to Bullet Sports Management for providing me with the perfect environment to learn and grow as a racing driver and making me feel like home even thousands of miles away from Angola.”
Throughout the season, Rui remained focused and determined and spent much of his time in lockdown in Portugal preparing himself mentally and physically. At the racetrack, Bullet Sports Management developed a pre-race warm up involving boxing and reactionary games and in October, Rui joined Campos Academy to help him reach his full fitness potential.
“We’ve seen big improvements for Rui this year,’’ said Bullet Director Jamie Campbell-Walter. ‘’As soon as he joined Bullet, we improved his programme to bring the best out of him. Rui is a team player and a keen learner, and in the second part of the season he clearly started to benefit from his hard work. The pandemic made life difficult and shortened our season, but this didn’t stop Rui from making clear steps forward in every area of his driving. New Zealand was a fantastic experience for all of us and the European season saw the benefits from this. I really look forward to seeing what Rui can produce in 2021, and we have some very exciting plans for him over the winter to prepare him for next year.”
Winter testing stats in two weeks’ time for Rui, preparing for an exciting season ahead. The plans for 2021 are already made and will soon be revealed.