Nico Pino, the young Chilean driver and technology entrepreneur who has made his way in global motorsport
He’s only 18 years old but has the track record of a man several years older than him. And not only because of his sports career, as he has already earned accolades from the European and American press thanks to his performances there, but also because of his life as a young entrepreneur involved in the tech world where he manages to combine the two. Greatest passions: sports and entrepreneurship. Here we tell you his story.
At the age of 18, Nicolas “Nico” Pinot has become the talk of the motorsport world: in 2022, his first full season in the European Le Mans Series, he finished as runner-up and started this new year with his second outing at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where he ran His first ‘pole’ is in the LMP3 class for Sean Creech Motorsport’s team, but despite the feat, Nico remains unusually quiet for such a young driver.
Despite his success on the track, Niko creates buzz for his activities off it, particularly the way he built his career, with the mind of a businessman rather than a classic athlete.
At the age of eight, he got behind the wheel of a kart for the first time and since then he has never stopped. “I am one of seven siblings,” he said, explaining his life in a family with estranged parents. Niko is a sociable guy, though a bit introverted, and talking to him feels more like talking to an engineer or businessman than a race car driver. That may help explain why LinkedIn has become his main social networking site, developing his brand and persona as an athlete, businessman, and tech entrepreneur, carving his own path toward becoming a leading figure in one of the most competitive, expensive, and complex sports in the world.
From karting to his first job.
“My whole family is very adventurous, it’s like a contagious virus,” says the young Chilean Ice.
He made his karting debut at the age of eight, and by ten he was already racing in Europe after stints in Argentina and the USA. He had forays into WSK and the FIA as a 12-year-old and by 13, now as part of a factory team, he’s moved to England with his family friends. “We decided England would be mainly a formative thing, to improve my English and also because of the sporting culture there.” Once there, he exploded onto the scene with his FIA-F4 debut, racing in British F4, GT, F3 Euroformula Open and finally LMP3 models, finishing as runner-up in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS).
“Nothing comes easy, free or given. Everything I have achieved has been the result of hard work both on and off the track, and perhaps that has also helped me build my character and temperament,” admits Nico Pino, who has managed to combine his natural curiosity to understand how things work with his passion ( Sports, Wellbeing, Child Development and Talents) to become something that would seem impossible to many: to be an elite athlete and a tech entrepreneur at the same time.
His first venture was to set up a used karting market when he was 11 years old. “I sold for nothing” – he laughs – “but it made me realize that with hard work, discipline, rigor and style, you can get ahead.” We didn’t have a budget and we had to make something happen, anything, so I started befriending the Startup developers who were around my dad’s office.”
The inflection point came in 2019, when a wave of protests and social unrest in Chile coupled with the onset of the COVID pandemic saw his sponsors back down with their support. “I had to do something to keep going. Either I started something or I had to stop racing,” says Nico, who remembers a lot of people telling him to quit, but far from doing that he decided to keep going from England. So many people have told me to put myself a stop loss, but I never quite grasped the concept and if I had, we certainly wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. For me, “stop loss” is very close to “try stop”, I sure as hell won’t stop trying. I wanted to race, compete, win, and learn, and now, I had to take a chance on staying on the track.”
Nico: Crypto and Blockchain mode is on.
At the time, Niko was a minor, so he couldn’t sign his legal papers. But, he tells us, “When I turned 18 in 2022, that finally changed. Now I’m a partner in all the societies we’ve created, and it was agreed beforehand that this is the way we’re going to go. Now I’m a normal, taxpaying person.”
In terms of sports, Nico Pino owns an operations company to advance his career, its name is “NP78After his Race Car number, with a great team behind him, as well as all the tools necessary to qualify his sports career for tax breaks, his image and economic rights are the property of the USA based company of his foundation.
On this side of him he created Bennu sports, a technology platform based on Blockchain technology and smart contracts that seeks to provide support and funding to sports talents around the world. The young driver is the main partner, he already has a team and investors, while the company has been rated by the Singapore startup accelerator. “We have created an ecosystem of solutions that allow athletes to add value to their careers along with their fans in Game-fi, Social-Fi and De-Fi Dynamic. Unfortunately, due to all my commitments and agendas, I cannot become CEO, as this is a full time job Complete, so now I’m in charge of the CSO, which means I’m still involved in every aspect of the company, and I’m having a blast doing that,” Nico Pino tells us.
His opinion regarding the world of Crypto, and all the recent scandals that have occurred in it, is strong: “Blockchain and the world of crypto will start to penetrate deeper when it is truly connected to the real world. Sports and athletes are an excellent natural bridge towards that goal.”
All this structure is not spontaneous or the product of chance. Back in early 2021, while in Milan for various meetings with European businessmen, Pino made the decision to take his dalliances further with the Blockchain and Crypto worlds, studying projects and getting into the recently emerged NFT. “I met a lot of people in this world through LinkedIn, I learned how to trade with money that we in Chile can withdraw from our pension funds during the pandemic, and with that I paid off all my 2021 races and in a few months I made 15 times what I started with” he says with a smile. shining.
Pino has a special affinity and closeness with children with special needs, due to his younger brother, whom he affectionately calls “Titin”. “If I achieve what I set out for myself to do, I will pour it all out for the benefit of children with special needs. Athletes inspire, everything they do can create very high value content, and that also holds us accountable for a lot of the things we create and inspire in our environment,” explains Nicholas Benno, the professional race car driver and tech entrepreneur.
Nico Pino BR