- April 03, 1971
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Emmanuel 'Manu' Collard is a French racing driver who achieved his best results in the sports car racing, winning several international championships and scoring many podiums or class wins at 24 hours of Le Mans. Collard's most recent success was the victory in the GTE Am category of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Earlier in a career, he was the 1996 Porsche Supercup winner, the 1998 International Sports Racing Series winner, the 1999 Sports Racing World Cup winner and three-time Le Mans Series champion (2005, 2006 and 2011). At Le Mans 24h race, Collard participated 22 times, scoring two overall podiums, two class podiums, and two class victories.
Young Emmanuel was the World karting champion
Emmanuel Collard was born on April 3, 1971. Manu started his racing career in karting competitions, becoming the French champion at the age of 11. Six years later, in 1988, he was the world champion and second in the European championship.
French Formula Renault champion in 1990
After he reached the top of the world in the karting competitions, Manu moved to bigger cars in 1989, entering the French Formula Renault Championship. He was a championship runner-up in his debut season, losing a title to Olivier Panis. Next year, Collard became Formula Renault French champion. During 1990, the 19-year-old Emmanuel had an opportunity to test Ligier-Ford Formula One car.
Competing with single-seaters until 1993
In 1991, Collard progressed to Formula 3, competing in the French championship with Lemco Racing but without notable results. The next step was the Formula 3000 with Appomattox team. Collard spent two seasons in that competition, finishing 8th in 1992 and 11th in 1993.
His career with the open-wheelers came to an end in 1994 when he switched to GT cars, entering the Porsche Supercup as a member of the Porsche Junior programme.
Le Mans 24 hours debut with Porsche
In his debut with Porsche, Collard finished in second place, behind Uwe Alzen. Next year, he was third. During the 1995 Porsche Supercup, one of Collard's sponsors was Benetton, because he was at the same time a test driver of the Benetton F1 team.
Porsche was Collard's car in his debut at 24 hours of Le Mans in June 1995. His co-drivers in the #37 Larbre Competition Porsche 911 GT2 were Stephane Ortelli and Dominique Dupuy. They retired after 82 laps because of an accident.
1996 Porsche Supercup winner
In 1996, in his third Porsche Supercup season, Collard was the winner of that one-make series. He won five out of nine races, dominantly taking the title. Collard was also the winner of the Zhuhai 4 Hours, the round of the Global GT Championship. His co-driver in the #36 Porsche 911 GT1 was Ralf Kelleners.
Prototype debut at 1996 24h Le Mans
In June 1996, Manu returned to La Mans, participating for the first time with prototype car. He was sharing La Filiere's #5 Courage-Porsche with Henri Pescarolo and Franck Lagorce. The French trio finished seventh overall and second in LMP1 class.
In 1997, Collard's main competition was the FIA GT Championship, where he was driving Porsche 911 GT1 for JMB Competition. His teammate was Jürgen von Gartzen. At 1997 Le Mans 24h, Collard was a member of Porsche factory team in the #26 Porsche 911 GT1, together with Yannick Dalmas and Ralf Kelleners. After 327 laps, a car was caught by fire and they didn't finish the race.
Two championship titles with Ferrari 333 SP
For the 1998 season, Collard joined JB Giesse Team to drive Ferrari 333 SP in the International Sports Racing Series. He won six out of seven races, sharing the car with Vincenzo Sospiri, and they became the ISRS champions. Besides winning in the ISRS, Collard had a one-off appearance with Ferrari 333 SP in America, winning Petit Le Mans alongside Eric van de Poele and Wayne Taylor.
In 1999, Collard spent one more season with JB Giesse Team. The series was renamed to Sports Racing World Cup but the result was the same as in 1998 – Collard and Sospiri were champions. Their #1 Ferrari 333 SP scored wins in just two races but it was enough to defend a title.
Two Le Mans participations with Toyota
At 1998 Le Mans, Collard started his cooperation with Toyota, driving Toyota GT-One together with Martin Brundle and Eric Helary. They retired after 191 laps because of an accident. A year later, Collard returned to Le Mans with Toyota GT-One, sharing the car with Martin Brundle and Vincenzo Sospiri. The result was the same - DNF.
24h Spa victory with Peugeot 306
In June 1999, Collard participated at 24 hours of Spa, opened for touring cars. He won the race, sharing Peugeot 306 GTi with Frederic Bouvy and Anthony Beltoise. It was Collard's first win in a 24-hour race.
Racing with Cadillac from 2000 to 2002
For the 2000 season, Manu Collard joined DAMS team to drive Cadillac Northstar LMP both in the American Le Mans Series and at Le Mans. His full-time co-driver was Eric Bernard. They scored no wins or podiums in the ALMS. At Le Mans, Franck Montagny was the third driver. They finished 19th overall. At 2001 Le Mans, Eric Bernard and Manu Collard returned with Cadillac's prototype, joined by Marc Goossens. The result was disappointing, they retired after 56 laps.
Cadillac's results weren't good in the ALMS either, so Collard finished 13th in the points. On the other side, he joined Alex Job Racing to drive Porsche 911 GT3 RS in two ALMS races, scoring GT class victory at Sebring 12h and podium at Jarama.
While competing with Cadillac in America, Collard intensified his activities with Porsche in Europe. He scored two FIA GT N-GT class wins with Freisinger Motorsport's Porsche 996 GT3 RS, at Anderstorp and Spa 24 hours. Collard also spent a full season in the Porsche Michelin Supercup, finishing 10th in the points.
2003 - class wins at 24h Le Mans and 24h Nurburgring
In 2003, Manu Collard scored his first Le Mans victory. He won the GT class, together with Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr in Alex Job Racing's #93 Porsche 996 GT3 RS. They beat the closest rivals in GT class by six laps. Collard scored one more 24-hour race class victory that year. At 24 hours of Nurburgring, he was the winner of A8 class with Manthey Racing Porsche, sharing the car with Lucas Luhr and Timo Bernhard.
Collard's main GT competition in 2003 was the FIA GT Championship with EMKA Racing. He was sharing Porsche 996 GT3 RS with Tim Sugden. Beside GT racing, Collard participated full season in the French Supertouring Championship, driving the Opel Astra Coupe. With two wins, he finished third in the points.
Two Le Mans podiums and two LMS titles with Pescarolo Sport
In 2004, Collard started his successful cooperation with Pescarolo Sport, which resulted in two overall podiums at Le Mans and two Le Mans Series titles. First Le Mans outing with Pescarolo didn't finish good, because Pescarolo C60-Judd stopped after 282 laps due to engine failure. Collard's co-drivers were Nicolas Minassian and Sebastien Bourdais.
In the 2005 Le Mans Series, Collard and Boullion became the champions. Next year, they defended the title, winning all five races during the season.
At 2006 Le Mans, Collard was again among the front-runners, finishing in fifth place. The next big success followed in 2007, when Collard, Boullion and Romain Dumas finished third overall at Circuit de la Sarthe, behind factory-entered Audi R10 TDI and Peugeot 908 HDi.
Collard won 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona and 2008 Sebring 12h
Collard also recorded some notable results with other teams. In 2004, he was third in the NGT classification of the FIA GT Championship, driving the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for Freisinger Motorsport. Next year, he was third in the GT2 classification of the FIA GT Championship, again with Porsche.
Le Mans LMP2 victory with Danish teammates
After five consecutive Le Mans participations with Pescarolo Sport, Collard joined Team Essex in 2009, driving the Porsche RS Spyder in LMP2 class. Danish team hired two more Danish drivers, Casper Elgaard and Kristian Poulsen, and they scored a victory in the LMP2 class.
In 2009, Collard's main competition was the FIA GT Championship with Prospeed's Porsche. He finished third in GT2 class. One more notable result in 2009 was the second place overall at 24 hours of Nurburgring, in the cockpit of Manthey Racing's Porsche.
Petit Le Mans victory with Corvette Racing
In 2010, Collard joined Corvette Racing in selected ALMS races and at Le Mans. His best result was a GT2 class victory at Petit Le Mans, together with Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen in the #4 Corvette C6.R. At 24h Le Mans, Collard'sco-drivers were Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta, they retired after 255 laps.
One more championship title with Pescarolo
In 2011, Collard rejoined Pescarolo Sport both in the Le Mans Series and at Le Mans 24h race. He captured his third LMS title, winning two races with Pescarolo 01-Judd prototype. His co-driver was Julien Jousse. At 24h Le Mans, Collard and Jousse had no luck, they retired after 305 laps. The third driver was Christophe Tinseau.
Even bigger disappointment followed in 2012 when Pescarolo 03-Judd prototype lasted for just 50 laps at Circuit de la Sarthe. All went wrong even before the race when Jean-Christophe Boullion was injured in an accident prior to qualifying. No replacement driver was found, leaving Emmanuel Collard and Stuart Hall as the only drivers for the # 16 Pescarolo 03-Judd.
Switching to GTE Am class of the World Endurance Championship
The 2012 Le Mans race was a part of revived FIA World Endurance Championship. Collard participated in one more race, at Sebring, finishing sixth. In the 2013 FIA WEC season, he came to Le Mans with Prospeed Competition and later joined AF Corse in Bahrain, competing with both teams in the GTE Am class. At Le Mans, he was ninth in class. In Bahrain, he climbed to the podium, finishing third in class.
The first full season in the FIA WEC followed in 2014 when Collard participated in eight races with Prospeed's Porsche. He scored only one podium, the third place at Fuji, finishing 9th in the points. His co-drivers in the #75 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR were Francois Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxiviere.
Collard joined AF Corse in 2015
During 2014, Collard started to race with AF Corse's Ferrari 458 Italia, participating in the European Le Mans Series and British GT Championship races. He completely switched to AF Corse in 2015, forming the partnership with Francois Perrodo and Rui Aguas in the #83 Ferrari 458 Italia GTC.
The trio scored six FIA WEC podiums and a victory at Shanghai and finished as the championship runner-ups behind three drivers in SMP Racing's Ferrari. At Le Mans, the #83 Ferrari was fourth in GTE Am class.
World Endurance Championship title in 2016
The victorious season followed in 2016. The #83 Ferrari started the season with a class victory at Silverstone, adding one more win and six podiums later in the season. Collard, Aguas and Perrodo became the world champions in the GTE Am class. At 24 hours of Le Mans, Collard earned one more podium, finishing in second place.
For the 2017 FIA WEC season, Emmanuel Collard was announced as one of three drivers of the #28 Oreca 07-Gibson LMP2 prototype for TDS Racing. The other two were Francois Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxiviere. Scoring just one podium, he finished just 14th in LMP2 class points.
In 2018, he retired from full-time racing on a top level, continuing to compete in classic racing events.