From a well-to-do family in Brazil, Marques started karting when he was 11 years old and was very successful in regional championships in Brazil. He did five years of karting before moving to Formula Chevrolet in 1992. He won the title at his first attempt beating Helio Castro Neves and Tony Kanaan and in 1993 moved to the South American Formula 3 series. That year he became the youngest driver ever to win a Formula 3 race. He then decided to jump straight into Formula 3000 in Europe and for 1994 did a deal to race for the Vortex team. At the end of the year he switched to the Elf-sponsored DAMS team and at Estoril became the youngest ever driver to win a Formula 3000 race.In 1996 he was in competition with Giancarlo Fisichella for a drive at Minardi. He made his F1 debut for Minardi in the two South American races and then moved aside and became the team's reserve and test driver. Later that year he conducted Bridgestone tyre testing work at the wheel of a 1995 Ligier-Mugen Honda. He was back racing for Minardi in 1997 but the deal lasted only for 10 races. He was released from his long-term Minardi contract at the start of 1998 and had a year without a drive but then decided to go to America in 1999 to race for Payton-Coyne Racing. When Al Unser Jr injured himself in an accident Marques took over at Penske Racing for six races and in 2000 he stayed in America, racing for Payton-Coyne.The urge to be F1 had not gone away, however, and in 2001 he did a deal to race for Minardi. He did most of the year before being dropped to make way for the heavily-sponsored Malaysian driver Alex Yoong.