- September 24, 1966
- Nascar Whelen Euro Series
The French former racing driver Christophe Bouchut is one of the most popular racers in his homeland, who won the numerous championship titles in a career that lasted for more than 30 years. His most notable success was the overall victory in 1993, at 24 hours of Le Mans, in his debut participation with Peugeot Talbot Sport team. He raced at Circuit de la Sarthe 19 times, scoring three more class podiums.
Besides his victory at Le Mans, Bouchut was also the winner in other 24-hour races, at Daytona (1995) and Spa (2001 and 2002). Among his championship trophies, there are three FIA GT titles, two American Le Mans Series LMP2 titles and French titles in four different series (GT, super touring, Carrera Cup, F3). Besides all that, he was close to Formula One. He was chosen to be a driver for the Larrousse team in 1995, but the team withdrew from the championship before the first race.
Bouchut won his first title in the 1991 French Formula 3 Championship
Christophe Bouchut was born on September 24, 1966, in Voiron, in southeastern France. He gained his first racing experience driving the go-karts, winning the French title in 1987. In 1988, he switched to bigger cars, entering the Formula Ford 1600 and taking the second place in his debut season.
The next competition was the French Formula 3 in 1989, where he finished 8th in the points. Bouchut stayed in Formula 3 for two more seasons, until 1991, when he became the champion. His main rival was the future F1 star Olivier Panis.
1993 - Le Mans victory in debut participation
In 1992, Bouchut made a switch to the sports car racing, joining Peugeot Talbot Sport in one race of the World Sportscar Championship and driving for Martini in the Peugeot 905 Spider Cup. His only WSC race was the 500 km of Magny-Cours, together with Eric Helary in the #71 Peugeot 905 Evo 1. The pair finished in second place, behind their teammates Mauro Baldi and Philippe Alliot in the #2 car. In the Peugeot 905 Spider Cup, Bouchut finished second, behind Eric Helary.
Eric Helary and Geoff Brabham were Bouchut's co-drivers in his Le Mans debut in June 1993. Two French rookies and experienced Australian driver were driving the #3 Peugeot 905 Evo 1 and they took a sensational victory ahead of two Peugeot Talbot Sport's sister cars.
Bouchut's biggest obligation in 1993 season was in the cockpit of the Peugeot 405 Mi16, then competing at the French Touring Car Championship and one round of the World Touring Car Championship. With four podiums in ten races, Bouchut was fourth in the French championship standings.
1994 - first of four Porsche Carrera Cup titles
In 1994, Bouchut won his first out of four Porsche Carrera Cup France titles. He was the champion for three years in a row (1994-1996) and then in 2000. During 1994, Bouchut also competed in the International GT Endurance Series, driving the Venturi 600 LM for Agusta Racing Team, but without notable results.
At 1994 Le Mans race, Bouchut partnered Armin Hahne and Bertrand Gachot in the Kremer's #48 Honda NSX. They finished 14th overall and 6th in GT2 class.
1995 - Daytona 24h victory with Kremer K8 prototype
Bouchut remained with Kremer Racing until 1997, participating three more times at Le Mans, but also at 1995 Daytona 24h, winning the race in the #10 Kremer K8 prototype. His co-drivers were Giovanni Lavaggi, Jurgen Lassig and Marco Werner.
At 1995 Le Mans race, Bouchut partnered Thierry Boutsen and Hans-Joachim Stuck in the #4 Kremer K8, finishing sixth overall and second in class. Next year, Bouchut was again at the wheel of Kremer K8 Spyder, sharing the car with Jurgen Lassig and Harri Toivonen, but they didn't finish the race. Bouchut's last race with Kremer was at 1997 24 hours of Le Mans, driving the Porsche 911 GT1 alongside Andy Evans and Bertrand Gachot, again with DNF result.
Bouchut joined Larbre Competition
Between 1995 and 1997, while competing at Le Mans with Kremer, Bouchut was also driving different cars for different teams in different championships. In 1995, he was a member of the Larbre Competition and competed with Porsche 911 GT2 in the Global GT Championship, finishing 13th in the points. The same year, he also participated in eight races of the International Formula 3000.
In 1996, he won Porsche Carrera Cup for the third time and competed at the Global GT Championship with three different teams, driving Venturi 600 LM, Porsche 911 GT2 Evo and Lister Storm GTS. In 1997, Bouchut competed at the FIA GT Championship with three different teams and finished second at the French GT Championship with Larbre's Porsche 911 GT2. Bouchut was sharing the car with Patrice Goueslard, who took the title because he had more races and more points.
One more Daytona podium and move to Mercedes
In February 1998, Bouchut reached the overall podium (3rd place) at Daytona 24h, driving the #00 Porsche 911 GT1 for Larbre Competition together with Patrice Goueslard, Carl Rosenblad and Andre Ahrle. After that race Bouchut joined Mercedes, to drive Mercedes CLK-GTR at the FIA GT Championship and also at Le Mans. In the FIA GT Championship, his co-driver was Bernd Maylander and they finished 15th in the points. At 1998 Le Mans race, his co-drivers in the #36 car were Ricardo Zonta and Jean-Marc Gounon.
2000 FIA GT Champion with Larbre's Porsche
Christophe rejoined Larbre Competition in 2000, to drive Porsche 996 GT3-R in many different competitions (FIA GT Championship, American Le Mans Series, Grand American Sports Car Series, French GT Championship) and also at 24 hours of Le Mans. He was the most successful at the FIA GT Championship, he won six races and took his first FIA GT title. His championship-winning partner was Patrice Goueslard.
The same year, Bouchut clinched his fourth Carrera Cup title. At 2000 Le Mans race, driving for Larbre Competition, Bouchut had fifth consecutive retirement.
Two FIA GT titles and 24h Spa wins with Larbre's Chrysler Viper
In 2001, Bouchut repeated the triumph at the FIA GT Championship, driving the Chrysler Viper GTS-R for the Larbre Competition. His partner was Jean-Philippe Belloc. At 2001 Le Mans race, the duo was joined by Tiago Monteiro and they finished fourth in GTS class.
The third consecutive FIA GT Championship title followed in 2002, again with Larbre Competition's Chrysler Viper GTS-R. This time, Bouchut had different co-drivers so he was standing alone on the top podium spot at the end of the season. The famous race 24 hours of Spa was a part of the FIA GT Championship and Bouchut has won two years in a row (2001 and 2002). In 2002, he also participated full season in the Porsche Supercup, finishing fifth.
2003 - French Supertouring champion with Seat
In 2003, Bouchut had a shortened program in the FIA GT Championship as his main competition was the French Supertouring Championship. He was driving the Seat Cordoba Silhouette and won the title with five wins in 14 races.
At 2003 Le Mans race, Bouchut competed for the third year in a row with Larbre's Chrysler Viper and finished fourth in the GTS class.
Combining different teams and cars
In 2004, Bouchut competed with four different manufacturers (Chrysler, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche), scoring the best result in the Le Mans Endurance Series, winning the GTS class with Larbre's Ferrari 550 Maranello. It was also his car at 2004 Le Mans race, where he finished 5th in GTS class.
In 2005, Bouchut returned to Le Mans with Ferrari, sharing the car with two Russians and again scoring the 5th place in GTS class. Ferrari 550 Maranello was also Bouchut's car in the FIA GT Championship and Le Mans Series.
At the 2006 FIA GT Championship, Christophe was combining Aston Martin DBR9 and Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT with four different teams, scoring no wins and podiums. In the Le Mans Series, he was driving IMSA Performance Matmut's Porsche 911 GT3, finishing fifth in the GT2 class points. He also competed with Chevrolet Corvette at the French GT Championship.
Class podium at 2007 Le Mans with Aston Martin
Bouchut missed Le Mans in 2006 and returned in 2007, driving the Aston Martin DBR9 for Larbre. Together with Casper Elgaard and Fabrizio Gollin, he scored a GT1 class podium, finishing third.
Besides driving Larbre's DBR9 in the Le Mans Series, he was also competing at the French GT Championship with Chevrolet Corvette and at the ADAC GT Championship with Lamborghini Gallardo.
2008 - French GT champion with Saleen
Larbre Competition switched to Saleen S7-R and with that car Bouchut won the 2008 French GT Championship title, winning five out of 14 races together with Patrick Bornhauser.
At 2008 Le Mans race, the duo was joined by David Smet and they finished 7th in GT1 class. At the FIA GT Championship, Bouchut competed with Selleslagh Racing's Chevrolet Corvette C6-R and finished 8th in the points.
Moving to North America in 2009
For the 2009 season, Bouchut chose North America, competing with Level 5 Motorsports' Riley-BMW prototype in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. With just one podium, he finished 16th in the points. He competed in Europe only at 24 hours of Le Mans, driving the Ferrari F430 GT2 for JMB Racing and finishing 8th in GT2 class.
Bouchut expanded his activities on three championships in 2010. In the French GT Championship he was driving the Sainteloc Racing's Audi R8 LMS, in the American Le Mans Series he drove Level 5's Oreca FLM09, while in the FIA GT1 World Championship his car was the Lamborghini Murcielago of the All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport. At 2010 Le Mans, he joined Kolles team to drive Audi R10 TDI, alongside Scott Tucker and Manuel Rodrigues, but they didn't reach the finish.
Bouchut and Tucker were two-time ALMS champions
Tucker and Bouchut returned to Le Mans in 2011 with Level 5's Lola-HPD prototype, alongside Joao Barbosa. The trio finished tenth overall and third in the LMP2 class. The outstanding performances continued during the year in the American Le Mans Series, so Tucker and Bouchut became the LMP2 champions. They won four out of five races.
Tucker and Bouchut repeated their success in the 2012 American Le Mans Series season, winning the LMP2 championship with seven wins in ten races. At 2012-edition of Le Mans race, they retired after 240 laps.
The last two Le Mans participations
In 2013, Bouchut joined the German team Kodewa (now ByKolles Racing) that participated in the FIA World Endurance Championship supported by Lotus Cars. Bouchut's #31 car didn't finish either one of four races, including 24 hours of Le Mans. It was Bouchut's last Le Mans participation. His co-drivers were James Rossiter and Kevin Weeda.
In 2014, the team switched to AER-powered CLM P1/01 prototype in the LMP1 class. Bouchut missed Le Mans and participated in two FIA WEC races, at Circuit of the Americas and Fuji. He finished 15th in Texas and retired in Japan. His co-drivers were James Rossiter, Lucas Auer and Pierre Kaffer.
Christophe also tried a stock car racing
During 2014, Bouchut tried completely new challenge – a stock car racing. He participated in eight races of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series with Chevrolet SS, scoring one podium and finishing 20th in the points.
In 2015, Bouchut returned to stock car racing for one weekend, but his main competition was the Blancpain GT Series with GT Russian Team. He was sharing the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 with different co-drivers in the Endurance and Sprint races. His best result was the 9th place overall at Nogaro and first place among Pro-Am class drivers. Bouchut was out of racing in 2016 and then returned to NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for one more season.