Marc Gené

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene at the Nurburgring
Full Name: 
Marc Gené Guerrero
Birth Date: 
28 March, 1974
Birth Place: 
Sabadell, Spain
Driver Status: 
Status Text: 

Marc Gené Biography

Like so many Spanish drivers, it appeared that Formula One may have passed Marc Gene by, only for him to have been rescued from a life in business by the Minardi team.

Beginning his racing career, like so many others, in karting, Gene soon proved that he had what it took to be a race driver. At the tender age of 13, he won the Catalan Kart championship (iniciacion class), before going on to take Spanish and Catalan honours in the national class twelve months later. A difficult season in European and World competition followed but, in 1990, Gene bounced back to become the youngest ever winner of the senior Spanish title.

Further national crowns came his way in 1991, before Marc decided to make the move into car racing. Fifth place in his domestic Formula Ford series - with a win and two pole positions - in 1992 set him up to take runners-up positions in both the Formula Ford Festival and European championships (one win, three podium finishes) the following year, running with Britain's Manor Motorsport.

Like his brother Jordi before him, Marc's next move was into the British F3 series. Although he won unofficial rookie of the year honours in 1994, the young Spaniard was never consistently able to show his best, and failed to feature among the regular point scorers in either this or his second season, despite two podiums and two fastest laps in 1995.

Part of Gene's problem was due to the fact that he was trying to combine full-time studies with his racing career. Keen to have something to fall back on should his driving ambitions come to nought, Marc worked towards a degree in Economics at the University of Buckingham, near Silverstone, eventually graduating with honours.

By now, however, his racing future in Britain looked bleak, and Gene returned to southern Europe to contest the Italian Superformula series. Proving that he still had what it took, the Spaniard took the title at his first attempt, racking up one win, four podiums and as many pole positions along the way.

The championship paved the way for Gene to move into the International F3000 series, initially with Pacific Racing and then with Nordic Racing, but the season proved to be another filled with disappointment. Six races failed to produce a single point, and Gene looked destined never to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport.

He was rescued, however, by the launch of the improbably named Open Fortuna by Nissan series. Returning to his native Spain, Gene knew that it was win-or-bust in 1998, and lined up a job with accountancy firm Price Waterhouse should everything not go to plan. As it happened, six wins and three pole positions in 14 races were enough to seal the crown - and the Minardi test drive which accompanied it.

Outpacing regular test pilot Laurent Redon proved to be the first step in launching Gene's F1 career and, with the surprise retirement of teenage driver Esteban Tuero, the Spaniard found himself offered a contract with the small Italian team. After impressing in testing, Gene hoped to help Minardi move away from its usual basement position and, belying his rookie status, eventually scored its first point for several seasons, taking sixth - ahead of Eddie Irvine - at the European GP in September.

Gene's promising debut season, and his links with part-Minardi owner Telefonica, secured his place in the team for 2000. Partnered by another rookie, Gaston Mazzacane, and powered by outdated Ford V10s, the Spaniard was always likely to have his work cut out to reach the heights of '99, and so it proved, as Minardi received as much TV coverage while being lapped as some of the midfield runners did for avoiding the ignominy.

With Telefonica pulling out of F1 at the end of 2000, and a proposed buy-out deal involving media company PSN also falling through, Minardi appeared to be on the brink of closure. Not wanting to wait too long and possibly being taken down with the team, Gene opted to jump to Williams where he acted as back-up to Ralf Schumacher and Juan Montoya for 2001.

During 2002 he continued to act as the teams official test driver, notching up miles at Mugello, Barcelona, and Silverstone amongst others.

Gene spent most of his 2003 season continuing to test for the Williams team, as well as competing in the Nissan World Series. Solid performances in testing meant that Gene was on the ball when he got an unexpected chance to race for the team when Ralf Schumacher was ruled out of the Italian GP. Gene didn't let them down, finishing a career best fifth.

Gene carried on with his testing duties for Williams in 2004 while acting as back up for Montoya and Schumacher. Following Ralf's crash at the US Grand Prix, Gene was drafted into the fold again, however this time he failed to do the business, in either France or Britain, and as such was dropped in favour of fellow Williams' tester, Antonio Pizzonia, who got the nod to race in Germany, Hungary, Belgium and Italy, before Ralf returned for the final three grand prix.

Seemingly upset by this, Gene decided it was time to move on, a decision no doubt hastened by the fact that while Williams had a race seat for 2005 alongside Mark Webber, he was not even on the list as one of the drivers to be considered.

Gene thus jumped ship and headed to arch rivals Ferrari, where he linked up with Luca Badoer, as one of their test drivers. The Spaniard continued to test for the Scuderia in 2006 and 2007 and will remain at the Maranello-based squad for a fourth year in 2008.