Du Souza, better known as Du Lei (杜磊, born 13 April 1996 in Golmud, China), is a Chinese racing driver who currently competes in the Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series, driving for Kamaha Motorsports. She also drove in the Italian F3 Championship and in F2RWRS for the Trueba Junior Team.
Du Lei was born to policeman Hongkui Lei and housewife Lìwěi Lei. Her youth is not too well covered since Lei refuses to comment on most of it and official documents leave questions open. One of the few things known is that she did not have any interest in racing and that her parents moved to Tibet during her childhood. Tragedy struck when Lìwěi Lei became the victim of a car accident in early 2008 and doctors were unable to save her life. Turning from bad to worse Hongkui Lei was killed during the 2008 Tibetan unrest a few months later, leaving her an orphan. By unknown means, a Portugese couple living in Lisbon managed to adopt her two years later but the earlier events left her scarred and therefore challenged to adapt to her new environment.
In a fortunate turn of events she met Kay Lon who visited a musuem in the city. The German driver grew interested in her seeing as she presented total apathy to the German star. After a short time, she warmed up to him and became willing to try her hands at racing. Her adoptive parents, happy to see her open up to her surroundings, invested a significant amount to buy her a seat in the Italian Formula 3 series supporting her by going to Italy themselves. It was obvious that her racing license was not too well-earned as she struggled to be competitive and did not finish higher than 15th in her four outings. However, in the first race of the season finale she scored the fastest lap of the race. Lon understood her Chinese roots would be decisive in furthering her career by gaining sponsorship money, which is why he called China's attention on her by having her participate in the final race of China Touring Car Championship (with it being fused with the JTCC). Lei impressed with a fifth place in the 2000cc class. Experts argue she could have fared even better but chose to not get involved in the championship battle playing down in front of her.
With one seat left open for the first season of the new feeder series, Lon decided to do a risky move, sending Lei out to work for Trueba in order to raise RWRS awareness of her. While that worked, earning her a F1RWRS drive for later in the season, she was completely overwhelmed by the new challenge, being cleary beaten by her new team mate. After Scuderia Alitalia and Sammy Jones built a joint effort, there was no place for her on the team, leaving her unemployed. To stay sharp whilst not involved in open-wheel racing, Lon asked Du Lei to take part in the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race, where she finished third total driving a Porsche 996 GT3 together with Marc Cini and Adam Andretti, managing exactly 300 laps.
A few weeks after that, Gary Cameron announced he was going to retire from racing in order to focus on rebuilding Prospec. He announced that Du Lei would be driving for the team in the Asian rounds. Her debut was in wet conditions in Macao, where she proved terribly uncompetitive, drawing mockery from the F1RWRS paddock. Those voices were silenced, however, when she handily out-qualified Jean-Luc Schiller for the 2014 F1RWRS Chinese Grand Prix, becoming the youngest F1RWRS Grand Prix starter, taking that title amusingly enough from Kay Lon. On race day, she did very well, earning respect by doing battle with former F1 driver Phoenix McAllister before her retirement shortly before the last lap. After unsuccessful participation in the 2014 Luxembourg Grand Prix, Lei was demoted to test driver to make room for new drivers Fredo Mestolio and Kay Lon.
Before the 2015 F1RWRS Italian Grand Prix the Japanese team run by Barii Mori released American driver Nicolas Steele and hired Lei as a replacement. This deal is supposedly closely connected to Tomo Kazama's F1RWRS debut with the team next season. After failing to impress in her debut for the team (although completing her first full F1RWRS race distance), the managed second place in qualifying for the 2015 F1RWRS North Sea Grand Prix. She ran safely in the points until her car broke down shortly before the finish.
After the death of her parents, she was adopted by the Souza family who run a major lawyer firm in Portugal. While she is not very talkative, Kay Lon has reported she has sufficient knowledge of English.
Complete F2RWRS Results
|2014||Trueba Junior Team|| TUR
Complete F1RWRS Results
|2014||Pemberton Prospec Racing||Prospec PRS 301||Lamborghini 3512||TAS||AUS||BRA||MEX||USA||MON||FRA||GBR||GER||BEL||ITA||MED||NED|| MAC
|2015||Kamaha Motorsports||Kahama KM-6||Yamaha OX10A|| TAS
- * Season in progress
- † Driver did not finish race, but was classified as they had completed 90% race distance.