A new feature to Serpent.com is our new weekly 'Racer in the Spotlight' column in which we catch up with some of our National Team drivers and put 10 questions to them.
The first driver we caught up with is the very fast Ricardo Nogueira from Portugal.
Driver Background information
Date of birth - 1982/05/05
Nationality - Portuguese
Lives - Marinha Grande
Sponsors - Vintesete, Serpent MRC, Team bonisio
No. of years racing - 7
Class experience - Watching since 1982, driving since 1990, racing since 1994, full championships since 2000, time-keeper & organization some times
Sporting hero - Ayrton Senna da Silva
Serpent - How did you become involved in the sport?
Ricardo - My father started in RC cars before I was born. I started going to the races very soon, and started driving when I was very young. Today is easier to find very young drivers.
Serpent - How long have you been racing Serpent cars?
Ricardo - I raced with my father's Serpent in some races through the year of 1997. My first full championship with a Serpent car was in 2003.
Serpent - What are your race plans for the coming season. Will you be racing in any major international events?
Ricardo - We are planning to race the full Portuguese national championships in 1:8 and 1:10 scales. As for international events, I will be driving a Serpent at the Madrid 1:10 European Championship, and my dad is going to be there to help me.
Serpent - Portugal will host the 2008 IFMAR 1:10th On Road Worlds. This must be very exciting for you as a Portuguese racer?
Ricardo - Portugal already received a 1:8 off-road World Championship in 1998, and it was very good for portuguese racers to race in what we call home. Good support from portuguese fans. It will be very exciting to receive in Portugal, and race with I hope, the top drivers from all over the world. The Monsanto track hosted the Serpent Nations Cup in 2006 and it was a good warm up for the organization to receive an international event of this size.
Serpent - Portugal has many really nice tracks, which would you recommend to fellow racers as the best one to visit?
Ricardo - I believe Portugal has tracks for all kinds of racers. Touristic areas, quiet areas, crowded areas, but the one I really feel it is unique is Moita's track. The track is located in the middle of a pine tree area, about 15km from the beach. It is a very different track not only because of the technical and fast layout but also because of the banked curves. It is very hard to find the perfect setup for the car but it is lot's of fun doing it. Unfortunately, this track's life is coming to an end.
Serpent - What has been the highlight of your racing career to date for you?
Ricardo - Without a doubt, it was the year of 2003. Me and my dad did about 25 races that year, divided by 4 championships and some other races. In the 1:8th scale we did the Portuguese nationals and the Portuguese south regionals with the Veteq. We won both. In the 1:10th 200mm we did the Portuguese nationals and the Serpent trophy also with good results.
Serpent - Do you ever have days that you feel like packing it all in?
Ricardo - It's true that there are days where everything goes wrong, and I shouldn't get out of my bed. But the awesome days make it up, and the good days are more common than the bad days! And if you're not in RC racing for fun, then you shouldn't be here at all.
Serpent - If you were not involved in rc racing what other sport do you think you would have pursued?
Ricardo - I tried many sports when I was young and the one I really liked is Tennis. I'm not sure what could happen, but I would surely endup in motorsport racing anyway.
Serpent - What element of the sport do you like most?
Ricardo - Not only about the sport, but about everything in general, I like to have fun. Everybody likes to win, nobody likes to lose. But that depends on your definition of winning. If you know there is someone better than you, then you know you can evolve. If you evolve, you learn. Learning means winning. If you're the best, you don't evolve. What's the fun in that?
Serpent - If you could change anything about the sport what would it be?
Ricardo - Create more races like the Serpent Nations Cup, where the main purposes are having fun, teaching and learning. Race results come after. World top drivers are in the pits to help drivers from many countrys to setup and maintain their cars. Being a one brand event means same car performance and this allows all drivers to really show what they worth.
Serpent - Ricardo thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We look forward to following your season here on Serpent.com and wish you every success in the season ahead.
Ricardo - Thank you for selecting me to be the first to be interviewed for 'Racer in the Spotlight'. I wish Serpent good luck for the present and future projects, and I hope they continues to be a reference in RC racing.