Emerson Fittipaldi

Emerson Fittipaldi at his 1993 Indianapolis 500 win. Photo courtesy of Emerson Fittipaldi

It was the 1993 Indianapolis 500.

The yellow flag was down.

Emerson Fittipaldi’s Penske Car crew chief signaled him into the pit.

Fittipaldi pulls in with a dirt-smeared windshield and helmet.

Nobody moved.

The entire pit crew stood there and stared.

He yells into his radio, “Get these guys working!”

The crew chief yells back: “Come to the Pit!”

Emerson: “I’m here!”

He looks around again and the crew is signaling him to leave-and not with the nicest of hand gestures. That’s when he realizes…he’s in the wrong pit.

The uniforms were the same red and white colors but Penske’s Pit was 200 feet down from the Budweiser Pit where he had stopped.

Such is the life of an international world famous race car driver. No respect from opposing teams. Emerson won that race.

Emerson Fittipaldi is a two-time Formula I World Champion who still holds the record for being the youngest and first, Brazilian World Champion. He is also a two-time Indy Car winner and a one-time CART winner---his second career.

In 1980 Fittipaldi retired from Formula I racing. He had won the championship twice and was happy assisting younger drivers in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

In 1983, celebrated Miami race promoter Ralph Sanchez (and the man behind Homestead Speedway), called him with a request that he drive his car, “The Spirit of Miami” in the 1984 Miami Grand Prix. Fittipaldi told him he was crazy. Sanchez persevered and so, he came to Miami.

Soon after his 1984 Grand Prix, the Penske team called and asked if he would consider driving their Indy Car in the Indianapolis 500. He won that race and a second career was born. Fittipaldi set up his home in Key Biscayne and never left.

On May 25th Key Biscayne will become a Concourse d’Elegance with more than fifty vintage cars on display – some never seen before in South Florida.

Also on exhibit will be Fittipaldi’s Formula I McLaren Championship Car, his 1993 Indianapolis 500 Penske Car, as well as the 2017 Indianapolis 500 Winner.

When the event opens at 12noon, Fittipaldi will drive the Spirit of Miami for the first time in 35 years to Monaco Square astride the Fittipaldi fleet display tent set-up.

The weekend experience will include live entertainment, Go-karts for kids, a fashion show, libations, and food.

On May 26th Fittipaldi will share experiences from his storied life at Crossbridge Church followed by a brunch with commentary on the Monaco Grand Prix. An Indianapolis 500 style show follows.

Key Biscayne Car Week will be a celebration of innovative craftsmanship in automobiles led by a Key Biscayner who realized great dreams driving these machines.

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