Jota Sport has further strengthened its relationship with Audi Sport by securing the services of Marc Gene for a two-race FIA World Endurance Championship program.
Gene, who celebrates his 40th birthday on Saturday, will join Jota Sport’s regular European Le Mans Series drivers Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“This is the most perfect race planning for me as it fits perfectly with my F1 commitments,” Gene said. “Spa and Le Mans are two of my favorite circuits. I have won three times at Spa and have been on the podium three times at Le Mans winning once.
“Obviously this year my targets are LMP2 class victories. I have never raced an LMP2 but I don’t see adapting to it will pose a problem especially as I know both circuits well.”
The ultra-experienced Spaniard, who remains Audi Sport’s reserve driver at both of these races, will test the UK-based team’s LMP2 Zytek Z11SN for the first time next week.
Gene joins fellow factory Audi Sport driver Filipe Albuquerque, Dolan and Tincknell at the ELMS Official Tests at Paul Ricard.
Albuquerque, as announced earlier this month, combines his Audi Sport LMP program of Spa and Le Mans by racing for Jota Sport in the five-race ELMS.
Gene contested 36 Grands Prix for the Minardi and Williams Formula One teams and remains actively involved at this level, attending every GP as a Scuderia Ferrari F1 Test Driver – a position he has held for almost 10 years with the Italian team.
Since 2007, Gene has carved out a very successful sports car career as a factory driver with Team Peugeot Total and from 2012 at Audi Sport Team Joest.
Indeed Gene, who became a Bachelor in Economics at the University of Buckingham in England and speaks six languages fluently, won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2009 and also finished on the “podium” in 2008 and 2013. He also has won the Six Hours of Spa on three occasions.
Gene is not the first ex-F1 pilot or outright Le Mans race winner to represent Jota Sport. Gene follows in the wheel tracks of Stefan Johansson, Jan Lammers, Alex Yoong, John Neilsen and Hideki Noda.
Albuquerque also tests for Jota Sport at Paul Ricard next week having had his maiden run with the British-based team in Portugal recently. The Portuguese driver, along with his ELMS team-mates Dolan and Tincknell, clocked up almost 700 trouble-free miles in the two-day test.
“At the recent Estoril test, we concentrated on getting all three ELMS drivers fully integrated into the team and with the Zytek,” team owner Sam Hignett said.
“Over the course of the two days, we managed to get all of the drivers comfortable and began to start working towards a competitive race set-up to suit their styles. We even had time for a little qualifying shoot out!”