Birthdate: July, 26, 1983
From: Nova Prata (RS, Brazil)
Lives in: Mooresville (North Carolina)
The greatest champion in the history of the Porsche Cup in Brazil, with six titles won in nine seasons, Miguel Paludo is much more than an expert when it comes to the most produced racing car on the planet.
Living in the United States for over a decade, the gaucho (cowboy) from Nova Prata is one of the Brazilian pioneers at NASCAR, with 87 starts in the category. His trajectory in the “American Stock Car” includes the first Brazilian driver pole-position in NASCAR – and precisely in the legendary Daytona racetrack. A superspeedway that’s also known as the core of the most popular race category in the USA.
The relentless pursuit of innovation, coupled with the passion for motorsport, also made Paludo one of the pioneers of his country in virtual motorsport. The multi-champion of the Porsche Cup is a constant figure in the main events of the iRacing platform, which reinforces its great popularity among racing fans.
Anyone who sees his statistics believes that the current Porsche Cup champion is one of those who dedicate themselves exclusively to the tracks from an early age. In the Porsche Cup alone there are 31 wins in 117 races (or 26.5% wins), 17 poles and six championships. But Paludo drove a kart for the first time only at the age of 11 and really started to dedicate himself to the sport only at the age of 18. After graduating in business administration at Unisinos and successfully running an enterprise, he started his competitive trajectory on the tracks.
The start was in regional categories of production cars, where you can quickly show your talent, winning right on the fourth race in which he participated. The national stage debut came in 2005, at the Renault Clio Cup.
The first championship win took place on his debut year in the Porsche Cup, in 2008. It was the second complete championship that the driver ran in Brazil, registering three victories and 11 podium finishes in 15 races of the season. On the following season, he dominated the Porsche Cup again, winning the second championship with 10 victories and 14 podiums in 16 races. It was also placed third in the GT3 Brasil Championship, winning four times in 12 races this season and leading Porsche to the brand’s first victory in the championship.
2010 marked the move to the USA – and the initial contact with the passionate reality of NASCAR. Paludo competed in the Arca Series, Truck Series and Pro Series East, category in which he got his first top 5 win – a respectable fourth place in the New Hampshire oval coach.
The following season marked his first full NASCAR championship race. Running with the Toyota # 7 truck from the Red Horse team, the “gaucho” was close to the title of “rookie of the year”. He ended the season with three top 5 and seven top 10 finishes in 25 races, ending the season in 17th position.
In 2012 he switched to Turner Motorsport, taking on the Chevrolet # 32 pickup in style: entitled to pole at the opening of the season in Daytona. His best result of the year was fifth in the final race at Miami Homestead, ending the season tenth in the final standings. This season, Miguel also competed two races in the Nationwide Series (today’s Xfinity Series), on the road courses of Road America and Watkins Glen.
Miguel remained on the team with truck # 32 in 2013, closing the championship in ninth place and winning another pole in Pocono and eleven top 10 finishes on the way, four of them in the top 5.
After just two races with the BMW Z4 from BMW Team Brasil in the biggest GT championship on the planet in 2014, Paludo returned to the Brazilian tracks to defend his legacy in the Porsche Cup in 2015.
And he did it in style: considering only the short racing championships, between 2015 and 2020, the driver ended all seasons as champion or vice.
With BRANDT colors, Miguel ended up with second place in his year of returning to the category.
As of 2016, the Porsche Cup started to hold two championships: the traditional Sprint (short races) and the Endurance Series (with 300 km and 500 km races). The highest scorer of the two also takes the title “Overall”. And the first great champion was Miguel Paludo – in the Sprint championship he repeated the vice of the previous season.
The achievement of the Overall title granted the BRANDT driver a prestigious invitation: to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans support event the following season, a memorable race with over 60 Porsches on the grid.
The 2017 season marked two titles for the gaucho competitor. Paludo led BRANDT to the Endurance conquests and again in the Overall title, finishing the Sprint championship in second.
In 2018 and 2019 again he was the protagonist of the championships, fighting for the title until the end and finishing as runner-up. But in 2020 the story would be different.
With the Sprint championship being held almost entirely in Interlagos (five of the six stages were in São Paulo), the gaucho won five of the ten races held at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace (also known as Interlagos) and won the championship with more than 30 points of advantage over the runner-up. After that, Miguel was crowned King of Interlagos in the category, with a total of 17 wins in the main track in Brazil, also considered a historic racetrack.
The year 2021 begins with great challenges on the horizon for the 37-year-old pilot.
In addition to defending his title in the Porsche Cup and seeking to be the first driver in the history of the category to unify the Endurance, Sprint and Overall championships in the same season, Paludo is eight wins away from equaling the absolute record of races won in the category.
But it is not only on the Brazilian tracks that the driver is focused. Paludo will put the green and yellow flag back on the NASCAR tracks. In BRANDT colors, Miguel will take on car # 8, from the mythical JR Motorsports in three races of the Xfinity Series: Daytona Road Course, Circuit of the Americas and Mid-Ohio. He will be the first Brazilian to compete for the team of Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005, Miguel Paludo has developed his victorious career for more than a decade controlling his condition.
In his first full season at Nascar, the pilot positioned himself in favor of diabetes awareness and control, a very relevant cause in the huge fan base of the category. Not by chance, Paludo was always one of the most applauded competitors at the racetracks during the official introduction of the drivers.
A few months before taking the unprecedented pole in Daytona, Miguel and his wife Patrícia had their son, Oliver – who was just eight months old at the time – diagnosed with type 1 diabetes condition motivated Miguel to expand his engagement with the cause. The driver joined the International Diabetes Federation as a “Blue Circle Champion”. He was the first South American to represent the organization, including displaying his brand at NASCAR races. Paludo uses social media to inspire and enlighten families that are affected by the same condition.
Miguel and his family prioritize health on a daily basis. Paludo has been practicing crossfit weekly since 2015 and usually runs 5, 10 or 15 kilometers at least twice a week. Miguel bases his diet on low carbohydrate consumption and high protein and fat consumption, thus managing to maintain optimum control of his blood glucose. In this way he serves as an example for his son Oliver and others who also have this condition. Its diet includes vitamins and meditation.
When he is not on the tracks, the racecar driver, enjoys time with his family, having a barbecue, accompanying Oliver in the sports in which he practices, such as karting and soccer – this is when the two are not in the simulator disputing the seat.
Paludo and Patrícia have been together since high school, the two complete 20 years of relationship in 2021.