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Alain Ferté: “I’ll Be Around As Long As I’m Quick”

1994 Le Mans polesitter back in action in ELMS at Red Bull Ring

The 4 Hours of the Red Bull entry list revealed the surprising presence of Alain Ferté in the #19 M Racing YMR Norma M30. The 62-year-old Frenchman replaced Bronze driver Nicolas Ferrer last weekend.

So naturally, DSC went and spoke to Ferte, to gain more insight into his ELMS drive.

“I have been talking for a while with Yvan [Muller]. I told him that I would be ready, should he need another Bronze driver for a one-shot race in the ELMS. I had nothing else on my agenda so I decided to step in” he said. “Furthermore, I know the Norma M30 fairly well: I raced it in the VdeV series with TFT earlier on this season”.

Ferté’s experience in Sportscar is amazingly rich: he, for instance, competed fourteen times in the 24 hours of Le Mans from 1983 to 2012 on diverse cars such as the Rondeau M482, the Porsche 956, the Jaguars XJR9 and XJR12, the Mercedes Benz C11, the Peugeot 905 Evo and the SARD MC-8R Toyota.

The Frenchman snatched pole in the big race in 1994, led it countless laps yet never managed to finish better than 8th (in 1989).

“I have seen so many regulatory changes in my career. I can’t really say which car I liked best. What really mattered to me was the spirit of the teams I worked with. Each entity had its own way of approaching a challenge. This diversity is really what I liked best. Embracing it remains my philosophy, even to this day with the Yvan Muller Racing”.

Ferté raced with prestigious team-mates at Le Mans such as Henri Pescarolo, Jean Rondeau, Thierry Boutsen, Didier Theys, Martin Brundle, David Leslie, Jochen Mass, Kenny Acheson, or Karl Wendlinger.

“I had a good time with many” said Ferté “but my two favourite teammates ever remain Ander Vilarino and Philippe Illiano with whom I claimed two CN titles in the VdeV Series. We had such a great moment”.

Ferté has no immediate retirement plans in mind. “I can’t care less about my age” he says after pausing for two puffs of cigarette. “I’ll be around as long as I’m quick and as long as I remain passionate and respected.”

He was certainly that, playing a full part in putting the #19 Norma in the lead LMP3 group before trouble intervened for the effort.