Rui made a huge leap this season by graduating to sports cars, firstly with a successful campaign in the Asian Le Mans Series with G-Drive Racing by Algarve Pro, alongside American driver John Falb and fellow Bullet athlete Franco Colapinto. Finishing third in the championship overall was an excellent start to 2021 and gave Rui a good foundation for his ELMS title assault.
What started as a learning year for the young Angolan, quickly turned into a title chase. The dynamic duo of Andrade aand Falb, sharing the #25 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 with Pietro Fittipaldi, Roberto Merhi, and Gustavo Menezes throughout the season, became a regular podium contender in ELMS. Scoring six top-three finishes out of six races, including two class victories and a spectacular overall podium at the Red Bull Ring.
Rui, who started his racing career rather late compared to other drivers his age, stepped up to endurance racing after three seasons in junior single-seaters. This new challenge has allowed Rui to thrive in a new and professional environment, showing impressive race craft, and making consistent progress throughout the year. With Rui´s performance this year, we witnessed him match his peers with grit and determination and for a rookie, he made little or no mistakes throughout the year, which was phenomenal for his experience in LMP2.
“European Champion. It’s hard to find the words to express what I feel now. It’s been an incredible year and even though we’ve been leading the championship for almost the entire season, it still feels unreal. To be able to raise the Angolan flag on the podium filled me with immense pride.
This year showed me how important teamwork is in motorsport, and I was fortunate to be able to work with one of the best in the business. Thank you to the entire G-Drive Racing by Algarve Pro team for their relentless work- especially Sam and Stewart. Thank you to John for being the best teammate a rookie could wish for, he has not only helped me but also made it fun along the way. Thanks to Pietro, Roberto and Gustavo for assisting us along the way, we couldn’t have done it without you.
A massive thank you goes out to Bullet Sports Management for the guidance and support over the course of the past few years that played a crucial role to get me where I am now.
Thanks to my partners, Sonangol and Welwitschia Racing Services for supporting me.
Last but not least, thanks to my family for being on my side through thick and thin and to my entire nation, Angola for the support. “
Jamie Campbell-Walter, Managing Director, Bullet Sports Management:
“I could not be happier for Rui, he is a champion with 2 wins and 4 podiums to his name and continuously improved throughout the season. He made no mistakes when it mattered and always completed his stints in style by moving up the order. John Falb was the perfect teammate for Rui as well, they complimented each other, and both deserve this championship. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of G-Drive Racing by Algarve Pro and my thanks goes to them for giving Rui a great car all year. I now look forward to Rui performing at an even higher level next year and this process has already started.”