Realtor® and race car driver Bruno Junqueira acknowledges fans and gets ready for the track.
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – While winding down his Formula One racing career, Bruno Junqueira, an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Key Biscayne, decided to start investing in Miami real estate.
“I started buying foreclosures in 2010 when Miami prices went down,” says Junqueira, a Brazilian race car driver, former Formula 3000 champion and three-time runner-up in the Champ Car World Series. “Then, I bought myself a few apartments and a building in Key Biscayne as an investor. By the end of 2014, I wanted to sell my apartment, as did many of my Brazilian friends who bought apartments around the same time I did.”
When a friend wanted to buy an expensive house, Junqueira decided to earn his real estate license.
“A few months later, another friend wanted to buy an apartment and I helped them,” he says. “I didn’t intend to continue, but business picked up – two sales my first year, four or five sales my third year, and then it just went up from there.”
Junqueira started racing go-karts in Brazil when he was 10 years old. He recalls, “I had great success and started moving through the ranks. I won the South American Formula 3 Championship. The next step was racing Formula 3000 in Europe.”
He was a test driver for the Williams Formula One team for many years. Then, in 2000, he won the International Formula 3000 Championship. In 2001, he joined the CART Championship Car series, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.
“Indy car was very strong,” he says. “So, I moved to the United States and lived in Indianapolis for a few years. I had nine wins over 10 years and found a lot of success.”
Unfortunately, in the 2005 Indianapolis 500, Junqueira crashed head-on into a turning wall and collided with another driver.
“I broke my back and was out for a year,” he says. “From there, I drove for small teams and started to struggle a bit to get the right equipment. So, in 2011, I started racing sports cars and have been doing that ever since.” Today, he spends about 70% of his time on real estate and 30% on racing. Last year, he raced the Lamborghini Super Trofeo and a few historic Formula One races as well, driving 1970s Formula One cars.
Real estate isn’t that much different than car racing, Junqueira explains.
“I like to compete, whether it’s racing or in real estate,” he says. “I like to win and make the deal happen. For me, it’s not about getting the commission, it’s closing the deal. So, I especially like it when difficult deals are closed.”
While Junqueira doesn’t use his racing in his marketing, he does work with quite a few clients he knows through the circuit.
“Racing is a high-network sport,” he says. “More importantly, I work with a lot of Brazilian clients. About 20 years ago, I was well-known in the racing world in Brazil. So, most of my clients know me from racing. They saw how responsible I was, so I built up credibility, and that carried on to my real estate career. My clients know they can trust me.”
Some 90% of Junqueira’s customers are Brazilians; however, he’s worked with a Canadian race car driver, as well as others from France and Columbia.
His other sport of choice is cycling. “I go cycling a lot because it’s good physical separation from being in a car,” he says. “I’ve met a lot of people through my cycling in Miami.”
Racing is in Junqueira’s blood. And the competitive streak he nurtured while racing now shows itself in his real estate profession.
“I have a broker license. I’m learning a lot. I want to be the best at whatever I do,” he says.