Jules Gounon (born 31 December 1994 in Aubenas) is an Andorran-based French professional racing driver. He is best known for his victories in the 24 Hours of Spa in 2017 and 2022 and Bathurst 12 Hour in 2020 and 2022.[1][2]

Career

1994-2015: Youth in karting, single-seaters and Porsche Carrera Cup

Jules Gounon is the son of the former racing driver Jean-Marc Gounon, who finished second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997.[3] He started karting in 2010 at the age of 15. He was crowned Rotax National French Champion in 2011.[4] In the year after, he clinched the X30 world title.[5] He was promoted to single-seaters, joining the French F4 Championship for the 2013 season and finished second with six wins.[6] He competed one year in Formula Renault 2.0, but failed to impress as he "could not get on well with the team". As his career seemed to be in a deadlock after a difficult 2014 season, he was selected "Espoir Porsche Carrera Cup France 2015" to take part in Porsche Carrera Cup France for the next season with a grant of €30,000.[7] He scored his maiden win in the championship in Val de Vienne[8] and finished sixth in the final standings.

2016-2017: Success in German GT and win in the 24 Hours of Spa

In 2016, he joined Callaway Competition in ADAC GT Masters, the German championship of GT.[9] He drove a brand new Corvette C7 GT3-R with his teammate Daniel Keilwitz.[9] Callaway ran three Corvette for this season. He won three times and put himself in title contention for the last event. However, Jules Gounon suffered a big crash at Hockenheim, staying conscious and alert, but with an injured (although not broken) left leg.[10] Finally he stood third in the final standings while developing his new car during the year. Callaway Competition decided to run only the car of Gounon and Keilwitz for the 2017 season.[11] He scored his first win of the season in Red Bull Ring.[12] After this round, his teammate Keilwitz got injured and was replaced by Renger van der Zande who won with Gounon in Zandvoort, letting the Frenchman take alone the championship's lead.[13] He then had two difficult weekends without podium with Albert Costa and van der Zende. However, he won his third race of the season in Hockenheim after the return of Keilwitz to competition.[14] This last win let him seal the title in the last event.[14] He also clinched the Junior title for drivers under 25.[15]

Also engaged with Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Nico Bastian in Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup (Pro-Am Cup), he took two podiums. He was recruited by Audi Sport Team Saintéloc for the 2017 24 Hours of Spa, the greatest race of GT, teaming up with Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock.[16] Despite running one lap down in the first half of the race because of a mis-threaded wheel, Gounon and his teammates came back in front. He battled with a Bentley in the last hours and created an 11-second gap with it to win the biggest victory in his career.[17][18] This 2017 edition was very tight as six cars arrived in the same lap as the leader.

2018-2020: Official factory driver for Bentley

In 2018, Jules Gounon at the age of 22, was signed by Bentley M-Sport as an official factory driver for Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge, replacing Oliver Jarvis.[19] With Steven Kane and Guy Smith, the Frenchman had to develop the new Bentley Continental GT3 which replaced the former generation.[19] In Paul Ricard, he scored his maiden podium with Bentley finishing second.[20] He missed the win because of a bonnet problem.[21] For the 2018 24 Hours of Spa, he had to leave the race after some braking problems. He also did a one-off in Super GT for the Fuji 500-mile race.[22] He finished thirteenth which represented the best result of the team that season in the Japanese championship. Jules Gounon said about that 2018 season: "I have progressed and learnt a lot. [...] I had to get used with a new car. The target was to have a good car at the end of the season. Unfortunately, we had a lack of speed in straight lines. With this new Continental GT3, Bentley started again from the beginning. 2018 was a season of development. After more than two years of work with German people, I discovered another vision of motorsport with a different way of working. The Bentley Continental GT3 will have a say in 2019".[23]

For the centenary of Bentley in 2019, Jules Gounon was engaged in Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge with Steven Kane and Jordan Pepper. After two complicated races, the Frenchman set the fastest time of the qualifying session in Paul Ricard, faster than his teammates and than his rivals.[24] Battling with the Ferrari 488 GT3 of Miguel Molina, Jules Gounon and Bentley won their first race of the year and also their first win since the introduction of their new car back in 2018.[25] Two weeks later, Jules Gounon participated in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans with Risi Competizione, teaming up with Oliver Jarvis and Pipo Derani on a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.[26] Qualified 17th in the category LMGTE Pro, they finished 11th in this category and 40th overall, despite a mechanical problem in the last hours of the race.[27]

Since 2021: GT World Challenge success with Mercedes

In 2023, Gounon began competing under an Andorran racing license.[28]

Racing record

Racing career summary

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
2013 French F4 Championship Auto Sport Academy 20 6 0 1 9 236.5 2nd
2014 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 KTR 2 0 0 0 0 0 30th
AVF 2 0 0 0 0
Formula Renault 2.0 NEC KTR 2 0 0 0 0 54 23rd
AVF 8 0 0 0 0
2015 Porsche Carrera Cup France Martinet by Alméras 11 1 1 1 4 125 6th
2016 ADAC GT Masters Callaway Competition 14 3 1 0 4 152 3rd
Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Konrad Motorsport 4 0 0 0 0 0 NC
2017 ADAC GT Masters Callaway Competition 14 3 3 2 6 174 1st
Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup AKKA ASP 4 0 0 0 0 28 11th
Audi Sport Team Saintéloc 1 1 0 1 1
Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup AKKA ASP 8 0 0 0 0 0 NC
Blancpain GT Series Asia Craft-Bamboo Racing 2 0 0 0 0 12 26th
IMSA SportsCar Championship - GTD Montaplast by Land-Motorsport 2 0 0 0 1 40 6th
Intercontinental GT Challenge Audi Sport Team Saintéloc 1 1 0 1 1 25 6th
RealTime Racing 1 0 0 0 0
2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Bentley Team M-Sport 5 0 0 0 1 29 14th
Intercontinental GT Challenge 4 0 0 1 0 4 23rd
Super GT Series - GT300 EIcars Bentley 1 0 0 0 0 0 NC
2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Bentley Team M-Sport 5 1 1 0 2 49 4th
Intercontinental GT Challenge 5 0 0 0 0 10 25th
International GT Open Petri Corse 1 0 0 0 0 0 39th
24 Hours of Le Mans - GTE Pro Risi Competizione 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 11th
2020 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup Bentley K-PAX Racing 4 0 0 0 0 6 23rd
GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup CMR 8 0 0 1 1 22.5 13th
IMSA SportsCar Championship - GTD Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian 1 0 0 0 0 21 49th
Intercontinental GT Challenge Bentley Team M-Sport 2 1 0 0 1 28 7th
K-PAX Racing 2 0 0 0 0
24 Hours of Le Mans - GTE Pro Risi Competizione 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 4th
2021 ADAC GT Masters Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing 14 2 2 2 2 136 6th
GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup AKKA ASP Team 5 1 1 0 3 79 2nd
GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup 10 0 0 0 2 35.5 7th
IMSA SportsCar Championship - GTLM Risi Competizione 2 0 0 1 0 308 13th
Intercontinental GT Challenge Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP 1 1 1 0 0 25 10th
Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing 1 0 0 0 0
2022 ADAC GT Masters Drago Racing Team zvo 14 4 0 0 5 153 3rd
British GT Championship - GT3 Ram Racing 4 1 1 0 4 92.5 5th
GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup AKKodis ASP Team 5 1 1 1 3 89 1st
GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup 6 0 0 1 2 41.5 7th
IMSA SportsCar Championship - GTD Pro WeatherTech Racing 2 0 0 1 1 542 19th
IMSA SportsCar Championship - GTD 2 0 0 1 0 533 39th
Intercontinental GT Challenge SunEnergy1 Racing by Triple Eight
Mercedes-AMG Team AKKodis ASP
Winward Racing
Mercedes-AMG GruppeM Racing
2023 IMSA SportsCar Championship - GTD Pro WeatherTech Racing
Intercontinental GT Challenge SunEnergy1

* Season still in progress.

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
2019 United States Risi Competizione United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
Brazil Pipo Derani
Ferrari 488 GTE Evo GTE
Pro
329 40th 11th
2020 United States Risi Competizione France Sébastien Bourdais
France Olivier Pla
Ferrari 488 GTE Evo GTE
Pro
339 23rd 4th

Complete WeatherTech SportsCar Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Class Make Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pos. Points
2017 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport GTD Audi R8 LMS Audi 5.2 L V10 DAY
2
SEB
4
LBH COA DET WGL MOS LIM ELK VIR LGA PET 41st 60
2020 Michael Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian GTD Acura NSX GT3 Acura 3.5 L Turbo V6 DAY
10
DAY SEB ELK VIR ATL MDO CLT PET LGA SEB 51st 21
2021 Risi Competizione GTLM Ferrari 488 GTE Ferrari F154CB 3.9 L Turbo V8 DAY
4
SEB DET WGL WGL LIM ELK LGA LBH VIR PET 13th 308
2022 WeatherTech Racing GTD Pro Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo Mercedes-AMG M159 6.2 L V8 DAY
11
SEB
3
LBH LGA WGL MOS
LIM
ELK
VIR
PET
19th 542
GTD DAY SEB LBH LGA
MID DET WGL
MOS
LIM
7
ELK
VIR
6
PET
39th 533
2023 WeatherTech Racing GTD Pro Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo Mercedes-AMG M159 6.2 L V8 DAY
1
SEB
LBH
LGA
WGL
MOS
LIM
ELK
VIR
IMS
PET
1st* 385*

References

  1. ^ "Bentley takes comprehensive win in Bathurst 12 Hour". Speedcafe. 2 February 2020.
  2. ^ O'Brien, Connor (15 May 2022). "Gounon leads SunEnergy1 Racing to Bathurst 12 Hour glory". Speedcafe. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  3. ^ Businaro, Martin (9 July 2014). "Course de leur vie #36 Jean-Marc Gounon, France 1994". f1i.com (in French). Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  4. ^ "08/11/11 CNRF: La réussite de l'année !". kartcom.com (in French). 8 November 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  5. ^ Gauthier, Stéphane (28 October 2012). "Jules Gounon remporte la finale Internationale IAME". racingforever.org (in French). Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  6. ^ "French F4 Championship 2013 standings". driverdb.com. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  7. ^ "JULES GOUNON: ESPOIR PORSCHE CARRERA CUP 2015". autonewsinfo.com (in French). 24 November 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  8. ^ "PORSCHE CARRERA CUP. AU VAL DE VIENNE, 1ers SUCCES POUR GOUNON ET JAMINET". autonewsinfo.com (in French). 6 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  9. ^ a b "ADAC GT Masters - Gounon avec Callaway". autohebdo.fr (in French). 6 April 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Schwerer Unfall von Jules Gounon im ADAC GT Masters-Finale in Hockenheim". motorsport-magazin.com (in German). 2 October 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  11. ^ Jensen, Jens (23 March 2017). "Callaway Competition with one car in ADAC GT Masters". racing24-7.net. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Callaway & Grasser Star At Red Bull Ring". dailysportscar.com. 11 June 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  13. ^ Runschke, Oliver (22 July 2017). "Win for Corvette duo of Gounon and van der Zande at Zandvoort". automobilsport.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  14. ^ a b Runschke, Oliver (23 September 2017). "Jules Gounon is the 2017 ADAC GT Masters champion". automobilsport.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Hockenheim, Course 1 : Jules Gounon (Corvette) vainqueur et Champion 2017". endurance-info.com (in French). 24 September 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  16. ^ "24h de Spa - Jules Gounon pilote officiel Audi". autohebdo.fr (in French). 15 June 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  17. ^ Watkins, Gary (30 July 2017). "Sainteloc Racing Audi comes from a lap down to win Spa 24 Hours". autosport.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Spa 24 Hours: Winkelhock, Hasse & Gounon Win In Sainteloc Audi". dailysportscar.com. 30 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  19. ^ a b Newbold, James (15 December 2017). "Bentley signs Jules Gounon to replace Oliver Jarvis in 2018". autosport.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  20. ^ Lickorish, Stephen (2 June 2018). "Blancpain GT Paul Ricard: Costa grabs Lexus's first win on last lap". autosport.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  21. ^ Castaldi, Gauthier (28 July 2017). "24 Heures de Spa : Gounon défend son bien". ledauphine.com (in French). Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  22. ^ O'Connell, R.J. (5 April 2018). "Jules Gounon joins EIcars Bentley for Fuji 500 Miles". supergtworld.wordpress.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  23. ^ Mercier, Laurent (9 November 2018). "Jules Gounon (Bentley Team M-Sport) : "L'intensité des courses GT3 est incroyable"". endurance-info.com (in French). Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  24. ^ Giordmaina, Jack (1 June 2019). "Bentley takes pole for Paul Ricard Blancpain GT Endurance Cup race". autosport.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  25. ^ Giordmaina, Jack (1 June 2019). "Ricard Blancpain GT: Bentley makes up for 2018 heartbreak with win". autosport.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  26. ^ Euwema, Davey (8 April 2019). "Oliver Jarvis and Jules Gounon complete Risi Competizione Le Mans line-up". motorsportweek.com. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Post Race Report from Risi Competizione – 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans". motegiracing.com. 16 June 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  28. ^ Lloyd, Daniel (2 January 2023). "Weekly Racing Roundup (1.2.23)". sportscar365.com. John Dagys Media. Retrieved 2 January 2023. Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup champion Jules Gounon has switched to an Andorran racing license after previously driving under the French flag.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by ADAC GT Masters
Champion

2017
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Bathurst 12 Hour
2020, 2022
With: Jordan Pepper & Maxime Soulet (2020)
Kenny Habul, Luca Stolz & Martin Konrad (2022)
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup
Champion

2022
With: Raffaele Marciello & Daniel Juncadella
Succeeded by
Incumbent