Tony Kanaan started karting at eight years old and quickly demonstrated his excellence in racing, becoming a five-time São Paulo Kart champion and Brazilian Kart champion. However, at the age of 13, he faced a significant loss when his father, his biggest supporter in motorsport, passed away. Undeterred, Tony took his mentor's advice to heart: Never stop racing.
By the time he was 19 years old, Tony had already made a name for himself in the F-Ford and F-Chevrolet circuits in Brazil. Driven by his dream of racing in Formula 1, he moved to Italy, where he competed in F-Opel, became the Italian Alfa-Boxer champion, and participated in the Italian F-3 championship. After numerous races and challenges, Tony's journey led him to the United States at the end of 1995 for a crucial test among 10 drivers vying for a spot in Indy Lights. Tony emerged as the fastest driver in the test, earning him a spot in the IndyCar entry category for two seasons.
In 1996, he finished second in the championship, and the following year, he clinched the title. In 1998, Tony took a significant step in his career by joining FIndy (CART), where he raced for Tasman Motorsports and won the Rookie of the Year award. He secured his first victory in the category while racing for the Forsythe team in 1999. In 2000, he moved to Mo Nunn Racing before being signed by Michael Andretti at the end of 2002 to join his team.
The year 2004 marked a milestone in Tony's career when he won the IndyCar championship, completing every lap of every race of the season, a record he still holds today.
However, at the end of 2010, Tony faced a setback when Andretti Autosport terminated his contract due to the loss of its main sponsor, leaving him without a job for the 2011 season. With only seven days left before the first race of 2011, Tony signed a contract with the mid-sized KV Racing team. In his debut race, he finished third. Tony raced for three seasons at KV Racing, where he achieved his most significant victory: the 2013 Indianapolis 500, a triumph that, until then, had been missing from his impressive resume. In 2014, he transferred to Chip Ganassi Racing, where he competed for four seasons.
In 2017, Tony signed with the legendary AJ Foyt's team, and in November 2020, he announced his return to Chip Ganassi Racing to participate in the oval stages in 2021 and 2022, partnering with Jimmie Johnson.
Tony holds the absolute record for consecutive starts in INDYCAR with 318 starts and is the second driver with the most starts in INDYCAR history, with a total of 383 races, only behind Mario Andretti.
Beyond his passion for racing, Tony is dedicated to fitness and trains twice a day, seven days a week. His journey into triathlon sports began when his father encouraged him to swim for physical conditioning during his karting days. As a teenager, Tony was an avid cyclist, and over time, he embraced street racing. Eventually, his coach suggested he participate in a triathlon since he excelled in all three sports. His first experience with triathlons was a Half-Ironman 70.3 event. Tony fell in love with the sport and started competing in several amateur events. In 2011, he received an invitation from Ironman to participate in the prestigious Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Tony seized the opportunity, completing the race in 12 hours, 52 minutes, and 40 seconds on a free weekend between two Formula Indy races. Eleven years later, in 2022, Tony returned to the prestigious event and bested his own time by more than 15 total minutes.
Tony concluded his IndyCar career this year with what marked his 22nd Indy 500, this time with the Arrow McLaren team, leaving a lasting impression with one of the most remarkable overtakes in history, with four wheels on the grass, at over 220mph, and becoming known as the 'World's Fastest Lawn Mower.’ In the summer of 2023 Tony also raced in the SRX modified stock car series in the US and is currently competing in Stock Car Brazil full-time.
Tony and his wife, Lauren, live in Indianapolis with their four children - Leo, Deco, Max & Nina.
DECEMBER 31, 1974