Life seems to be moving a mile a minute for junior business major Daniel Cará. He isn’t the typical student-athlete — along with his studies, the Houston native competes in the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula 4 U.S. Championship (F4) under his family-owned program, Cará Origin Motorsports.
In 2022, Cará and his father Miguel founded and incorporated the group as a competitive program in the F4 circuit. The F4 circuit is run by FIA, which also runs the world-renowned Formula 1 (F1) circuit, the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars.
Formula 4 is a junior racing series governed by the FIA, which helps racers develop their skills to potentially earn a license to race in the F1 series. There are 13 F4 circuits across the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
According to Forbes, F1 has shown signs of being one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S., with the circuit grossing more than $2 billion in revenue in 2022. That same year, F1 saw its highest attendance ever, up 36% — or 5.7 million people — from 2019. The record will likely be broken again in 2023 with the introduction of F1’s newest race, the Las Vegas Grand Prix. As of Oct. 2, the Las Vegas Grand Prix general admission tickets have already sold out. The race will take place Nov. 16-18.
Cará’s love for racing comes from his Brazilian roots and his family’s extensive history in aviation.
“There’s a plane manufacturer called Embraer in a small town called São José dos Campo. Most of my family, both sides, worked there,” Cará said.
“When I was born in Houston, [aviation] was the path we always thought I’d end up going down — when I grew up and started appreciating cars, my father wanted to apply that passion in the same way that he had with aviation. We always make this joke about, ‘Oh, we just like going fast. It just depends on how high we go.’”
Cará races his Ligier JSF4 with both the Brazil and U.S. flags pictured on his vehicle, along with USF’s logo.
“I believe almost every aspect of what I’ve achieved is through my culture and my family…Brazilian culture is a huge part of everything I do. The family [as well] because it’s a family-run team. So it’s me, my father, my mother, and my sisters support [me] …. Pretty much everything we do is self-taught. It’s so foreign.”
Despite Cará’s strides in motorsport, he still juggles the responsibilities of being a student-athlete at USF.
“It is a lot of struggle — I spend a lot of time allocated to preparing for my races, both training physically and mentally,” he said.
“Originally I studied physics. At that time, the workload and the racing were unreal…So I started studying business. It allowed me to blend in my skills to help me form our own team. And it also gives me a little bit more time and more applicable studies to what I’m doing.”
Cará is currently ranked sixth out of the 40 F4 drivers in the U.S.
“It’s even a dream to be competing in the series. I’ve always wanted to be a racing driver…my goal is always to get the best result [so] I can progress into the next level,” he said.
He continued, “However, if we want to stand higher, we need to grab a couple more podiums, possible wins, and move up through the formula regional series…Whatever I can do to help both fund and expose the team name and also develop as a driver, I believe is a step in the right direction.”