“The end of a beautiful chapter in my life”

It’s no longer a Bentley Boy. The news was difficult for Jules Gounon to digest. “It was hard, because I had a moral and verbal agreement for the renegotiation of my contract for 2021. I was super happy, but they called us, two days before the last race at Le Castellet, to tell us that it was over. It was in November, while the official pilot contracts are all signed in September, or even in October at the latest. It was a shock ”.

This put the six official drivers concerned in a delicate situation, that of finding a new employer, when the various teams have already made their choice. Only certainty for the moment, the Ardéchois, 26 years old, will be at the start of the next 24 Hours of Daytona (see opposite).

Crewe’s brand decision, “This is the end of a nice chapter in my life, three years of adventure. There were a lot of positives, a lot of situations that broke my heart, but it’s top-level sport ”.

A beautiful apprenticeship

The Albenassian pilot is aware that this has taken him to a new stage in his career. “Above all, it allowed me to have a first boss, to earn my living, and to do motorsport, my passion, my only job. I learned a lot alongside the big bosses, and I realized the pressure that it can sometimes be to be an official pilot. We no longer have the right to make mistakes, but I have learned a lot of things ”.

When he takes a look at the retro, Jules especially remembers the victory at the 12 Hours of Bathurst last February. “It was an extraordinary race, and I was the first Frenchman to win this race since 1959. It meant a lot to me and to Bentley as well. It was the first real big modern race they won in GT ”.

Good trios

During these years, too, the relationship with its various partners was perfect. We remember that he started this adventure with two old men, Guy Smith and Steven Kane. “They taught me a lot of things, including the words that can be said to such and such a person, to the press, etc. At this level, you must always think before you speak, and to whom. It is really the more political aspect of the thing that I was not confronted with before ”. Then, the Albenassien teamed up with Jordan Pepper. “With him, we really established a very strong relationship of man, friendship and sport. It worked very well, just like when we were joined by Maxime Soulet the last year. We made a wonderful trio. It was a great time, but unfortunately today we have to move on ”.

Let us wish the Ardéchois, who has succeeded in making a name for himself in recent years, to find a steering wheel elsewhere. And, who knows, to take a new step in his career.


Already the 24h of Daytona

On January 30 and 31, Jules Gounon will team up at the 24h of Daytona with James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, and Davide Rigon. “Three official Ferrari drivers won Le Mans in 2019 in GT at Risi Competizione. I’m really happy to be behind the wheel of an official Ferrari for this race. This is a great opportunity. In addition in the top class of the GT, in GTLM, that is to say a little bit the F1 of the GT “. But, for all that, he does not lose sight of his 2021 target. “My goal is to get back to being an official driver, no matter what. It is true, even if it is a commodity which is very rare, since with the crisis, Porsche withdrew 7 pilots, BMW fired 2 …. The places of official pilots, today, are very complicated. to have “. However, he points out: “I am currently in discussion with two factories which are very renowned and which have been in motorsport for a long time. I am hopeful that it will work out with one or the other, and I would be very happy. And, moreover, if this is the case, it would be bad for good ”. To be continued…

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