Monday, 19 September 2005 19:23
Marc Gene is the test driver for the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One team. Recently, he also served as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher for the WilliamsF1 team, following his injury in the 2004 United States Grand Prix.
Born in Sabadell, Catalonia, Spain on March 29, 1974, he finished runner-up in the 1987 Catalan Kart Championship (National Class) at the age of 13; he would win both this and the National Class Spanish Kart Championship in 1988. In 1989 he competed in both the European and World championships. Gene won the Senior Class of the 1990 Spanish Kart Championship, making him the youngest driver to do so. He competed again in the World Championship in 1991, placing 13th.
For 1992 Gene moved into Formula Ford, placing 5th in the Spanish championship with a win and 2 pole positions. He was runner-up in the 1993 European Championship, with 1 win and 3 podiums; also, Gene took 2nd place at the Formula Ford Festival. In 1994, Gene was named Rookie of the Year in the British Formula Three Championship; he placed 10th in 1995. In 1996 Gene won the FISA Superformula championship, and in 1997 he competed in 5 rounds of the FIA Formula 3000 series, though he failed to score a single point. In 1998 he won the Open Fortuna by Nissan Championship.
Gene got his big break in 1999, occupying a race seat with the Minardi team. It was a difficult year; however, after several 9th places and an 8th, he managed to score his first point, and Minardi's first since 1995, with a 6th place at the European Grand Prix. He continued with Minardi in 2000, but failed to score a single point. Unable to obtain a quality drive for 2001, Gene opted to sign with Williams as test driver. He has, however, driven some Grands Prix for Williams. The first of these was the 2003 Italian Grand Prix, where Ralf Schumacher was unable to race because of a concussion. Gene replaced his teammate well, collecting 4 points for a 5th place finish, but Schumacher was back in the car for the next race in the USA. Following a back injury to Schumacher at the 2004 USGP, Gene drove in the 2004 French and British Grands Prix, but subsequently lost the race seat to Antonio Pizzonia and hasn't raced since.
In November 2004, GenÃ© signed a deal to become a test driver for Scuderia Ferrari alongside Luca Badoer.
Along with 2006 rookie Nico Rosberg, Gene is one of two current F1 drivers with a university degree (in economics). Like Rosberg, Gene can also speak four languages fluently.
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