Multi-time karting champion Tristan Nunez turned pro in 2013 when he was named a factory MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver and competed in his first Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona with SpeedSource. In addition to competing in GRAND-AM, Tristan is competing in the American Le Mans Series for Performance Tech Motorsports.
Claiming the prestigious title of the youngest driver to win a sports car championship, the Boca Raton resident secured the 2012 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series' championship in his rookie season, with 11 wins, 12 poles, 13 top-five finishes and seven track records, all of this on the heels of being named by Sports Illustrated as a "Face in the Crowd". Following his regular 2012 season, Tristan was selected as a Team USA recipient and competed in England as part of the Formula Ford Festival where he claimed two heat wins and two pole positions before securing the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone, among a field over 120 entries and two past champions!
After competing in various levels of karting, Tristan took part in a Skip Barber three-day race school in January of 2009. In March of that same year, He completed the two-day advanced program. Now qualified to compete in series events, Tristan made an attempt at the Skip Barber Shootout and his chance to be a Skip Barber Scholarship Award Winner. He went on to claim the 2010 Skip Barber Half National Scholarship Award. Though he had only been in the car a few times, Tristan was showing the natural skill and ability to run with competitors that had much more experience. Taking the safe road, the Tristan Nunez Racing team decided to use the funds to compete in the Skip Barber Summer Series in 2011.
That decision paid off with Tristan claiming “Rookie of the Year” honors as well as a third place result in the overall championship in the Skip Barber Summer Series, which included five race wins. He went on to compete at the 12 Hours of Sebring official test in an IMSA Prototype Lites car, running in the top-three in times throughout the two-day program. With sponsorship help from Florida Surgical and teamed with Performance Tech Motorsports, Tristan entered the Sebring race event and stood on the podium with an impressive second-place result in race one, becoming the youngest driver ever to claim a podium result in the series.
Showing his diversity, Tristan was back behind the wheel of an IMSA Prototype Lites car at the famed Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta. Looking to improve on his second place result from earlier in the year in the IMSA Lites series, Tristan was optimistic for the Georgia race weekend. After four on-track laps, Tristan’s car burst into flames as he was forced to evacuate after a blown engine was determined to be the cause. He then switched to a back-up car and missed a full day of testing, but still qualified just inside the top five. He then drove to an impressive second place result after falling outside the top five at the beginning of the race. Race two would bring even more excitement to the team, as Tristan would jump out in the lead early. Though a pair of lapped cars would cost Tristan the win, a second podium of the weekend was achieved.
Heading into the 2012 season, Tristan signed with Performance Tech Motorsports for his first opportunity at a full-season in the IMSA Prototype Lites series. Tristan started off the year in grand style at Sebring International Raceway where he captured his first career win from the pole position in both races to open the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season. During the opening rounds of the 2012 season, Tristan broke two IMSA Prototype Lites series track records at Sebring and made series history as the youngest driver to win a race in IMSA Lites. He finished out the season with a record-setting 11 wins, 12 poles, 13 top-five finishes and seven track records to round of his rookie season to clinch the championship.
Following the season, Tristan traveled to England as a winner of the prestigious 2012 Team USA Scholarship, which would see him competing at Brands Hatch as part of the Formula Ford Festival and at Silverstone for the Walter Hayes Trophy. During the Formula Ford weekend, Tristan secured two pole positions and two race heat wins. At Silverstone, he connected in the grand finale to capture the celebrated Walter Hayes Trophy. The home of the British Grand Prix was the setting for the 12th annual running of the Walter Hayes Trophy race meeting held in honor of one of the founding fathers of Formula Ford, which has helped launch the careers of a bevy of top drivers since its introduction in 1967.
For the Grand Finale, Tristan lined up seventh and by Lap 3, he had moved up four spots to third. Just ahead of him were Peter Dempsey, son of team owner Cliff Dempsey, and Joey Foster, both three-time winners. As Dempsey, Foster and Tristan were packed together, Dempsey and Foster tangled jointly at Beckett's corner on Lap 10, just two short of the checkered flag. Tristan was able to capitalize and took the lead. He wouldn't keep it for long. Arch-nemesis, Formula Ford Festival overall winner Ivor McCullough took the lead from Tristan on Lap 11. Unfazed, Tristan kept on his tail and just as McCullough erred, Tristan was there to again take the lead a lap later and sped clear, ultimately for the win as the checkered flag flew. He then closed out 2012 by competing for MLB star C.J. Wilson’s team in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
For 2013, Tristan was announced as a factory MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver with sponsorship from VISIT FLORIDA and driving for SpeedSource in the Rolex GRAND-AM Series. His first race in GRAND-AM was competing in the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. In addition to GRAND-AM, Tristan is also competing in the American Le Mans Series, where during his first race in ALMS, driving the No. 500 VISIT FLORIDA Prototype Challenge car for Performance Tech Motorsports, he placed third and earned his first podium result within the PC class of ALMS during the 61st annual Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Date of birth: October 31, 1995
Place of birth: Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
Residency: Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Weight: 155 lbs
Family: Juan Nunez (Father), Diane Nunez (Mother), Dylan (Brother)
Hobbies: Tennis, iRacing, Playing Guitar, Mountain Biking
Now racing: GRAND-AM / ALMS
Team: SpeedSource & Performance Tech
Goal: To be a successful professional racecar driver, brand ambassador and continue to stand atop the podium. Along with continued racing success, Tristan looks to help make North Americans aware of the dangers of texting and driving.