Jordi Gene is a Spanish racing driver mostly known as a touring car racer. He spent nine consecutive seasons in the European and World Touring Car Championships between 2002 and 2010. Besides touring car races, he was also successful in sports car racing, participating three times at 24h Le Mans and scoring the class victory in 2001.
Three consecutive championship titles early in a career
Jordi Gené was born on December 5, 1970, in Sabadell, Catalunya. As a teenager, he competed in the Spanish karting championship, winning the title in 1986. He switched to car racing in 1987, immediately winning his first championship title in the Formula Fiat. Next year, he moved to the Spanish Formula Ford and he was the champion again.
In 1989, Jordi went to England, continuing to race in the British Formula Ford. His best result was the fourth place in the annual Formula Ford Festival. In 1990, Jordi progressed to British Formula 3, driving for Techspeed team.
Successful partipations in F3 non-championship races
In 1991, he joined West Surrey Racing to finish fourth in the final classification of the British Formula 3. He scored three notable podium results in the non-championship races, winning the Formula 3 Fuji Superprix and finishing second at Macau Grand Prix and Masters of Formula 3.
The next step forward was the Formula 3000 International in 1992, with Pacific Racing team. He won the season-opening race at Silverstone. Later in the season, he added two more podiums and finished fifth in the points.
1994 - test driver for Benetton F1 team
In 1993, Jordi was involved in the Bravo F1 project, an attempt by former Spanish F1 driver Adrian Campos to create an F1 team. However, the project was aborted upon the sudden death of team owner Jean Mosnier. Gené continued to compete in the Formula 3000 with Tom Walkinshaw Racing but without any success, so he wasn't even classified in the final standings.
However, the TWR connection gave him an opportunity to work for Benetton F1 team as a test driver in 1994. In the same time, he participated in three F3000 races with Nordic Racing but also debuted in the Spanish Touring Car Championship with Seat. Failing to move up to Formula One, Jordi left open-wheel racing and started his career as a touring car racer.
Two successful seasons in the Spanish Touring Car Championship
In 1995, he became an Opel works driver and competed with Opel Vectra in the Spanish Touring Car Championship. He finished as the runner-up, behind Alfa Corse's Luis Villamil. For 1996 season, Gene joined Audi Racing Team Espana to drive Audi A4. With five wins in 16 races, he became the Spanish touring car champion.
After one more year with Audi, Jordi accepted a completely new challenge in his career, joining the Cepsa MAN team in the 1998 European Truck Racing Cup. After two fruitless seasons, he returned to car racing in 2000.
Le Mans debut for Jordi in 2000, class victory in 2001
In 2000, Jordi joined Racing Organisation Course team for his debut at 24 hours of Le Mans. Together with Jerome Policand and Jean-Christophe Boullion, he was driving the #34 Reynard 2KQ-Volkswagen prototype. They didn't finish a race due to engine failure. A month later, Boullion and Gené participated in one more endurance race with Reynard prototype, finishing 9th at Nurburgring 1000km.
In 2001, Jordi Gene returned to Le Mans with the same team, but this time with Jean-Louis Deletraz and Pascal Fabre as co-drivers in the #38 Reynard prototype. They finished fifth overall and took the victory in the LMP675 class, as the best among eight crews with LMP675 cars. In August 2001, Gene scored one more class victory with Reynard prototype, in the European Le Mans Series race at Most circuit. During the year, Gené also participated in few rounds of the Spanish GT Championship, driving the Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge.
2002 - one more Le Mans attempt, switch to the ETCC
He had the similar schedule in 2002, driving Ferrari in the Spanish GT Championship and participating at Le Mans 24h one more time. In his last Le Mans attempt, he was sharing the car with two British drivers Mark Smithson and Peter Owen, but only until their retirement after 126 laps.
In 2002, Gene's main competition became the European Touring Car Championship, after he joined Roberto Ravaglia's BMW Team Italy-Spain to drive #5 BMW 320i. In twenty races, Gené scored one podium (Donington) to finish 8th in the points.
Gene started racing with Seat Sport in 2003
For 2003 season, Jordi joined Seat, not only in the ETCC but also in the Spanish GT Championship, where he was driving for Darro Motor Racing. He scored five GTA class wins, sharing the #16 Seat Toledo GT with Gines Vivancos, who became the overall champion. In the European Touring Car Championship, Gené had a disappointing season with #9 Seat Toledo Cupra, finishing 17th in the points.
His performances improved in 2004, when he reached podium two times, finishing third at Hockenheim and Spa. At the end of the season, he was 8th in the points.
Four WTCC wins in four seasons
For the 2005 season, ETCC elevated to World Touring Car Championship status. Gene remained in the #9 Seat Toledo Cupra, scoring no podiums in first six rounds of the championship. The new Seat Leon came for the seventh round in August. In the penultimate round, at Spanish Circuit Ricardo Tormo in October, Gene finally scored his first international touring car victory. At the end of the season, he was 11th in the points.
In the following three seasons, Jordi Gene took one victory each year. In 2006, he was the winner at Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba in Brazil. In 2007, he scored a victory with new Seat Leon TDI at Monza. The last victory came in 2008, at Autodromo Miguel E. Abed in Mexico. In the season's standings, he finished 10th in 2006 and 2007, improving to 8th place in 2008.
Two Manufacturers' titles with Seat Sport
In 2009, Gene finished 8th in the points again, scoring only three podiums (Brazil, Morocco and Macau). His teammates Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller captured a 1st and 2nd place in the championship while the team took Manufacturers' title ahead of BMW for the second year in a row.
Following the withdrawal of the Seat Sport factory team from WTCC, Gene joined Seat supported private team SR-Sport, run by SUNRED Engineering. Gene's best results were 4th and 5th place at his home round in Spain, at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. He missed the last two rounds of the championship, finishing 12th in the points.
GT racing in 2011, Scandinavian Touring Car Championship in 2012
During his WTCC years with Seat, Jordi occasionally competed with different Seat or Sun Red cars in the Spanish GT Championship, but without notable results. In 2011, he left WTCC and his main competition was International GT Open with Sun Red's SRX car. He also took part in few races of the Russian Lada Granta Cup, and then returned full-time to the touring car racing in 2012.
He joined Volkswagen Team Biogas in the 2012 Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, driving Volkswagen Scirocco. His best results were second place at Åre Östersund Airport and third place at Knutstorp Ring. He finished seventh in the championship while his teammate Johan Kristoffersson won the championship.
Third place in the inaugural TCR International season
After two years without racing, working as an Audi Driving Experience instructor and running his own karting centre in Barcelona, Jordi returned as a full-time driver to the race tracks in 2015, participating in the inaugural season of the TCR International Series. He was driving the #88 Seat León Cup Racer for Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil. He finished third in the points, winning three races during the season.
In the 2016 TCR International season, he participated in just one round, driving Volkswagen Golf for Liqui Moly Team Engstler at Imola.