Bertrand Baguette is a Belgian racing driver who achieved the most in sports car racing, reaching a peak in 2013 when he won both LMP2 class at Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA WEC Trophy for LMP2 drivers.
After that triumph, Baguette moved his career to Japan in 2014, participating in Super Formula and Super GT Series for three seasons. Currently he's active in Super GT Series only.
Earlier in a career, before focusing on sports car racing, Baguette spent a season in the IndyCar Series in 2010, won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2009 and tested with several Formula 1 teams.
Starting a career in the Formula Renault
Born in February 1986 in Verviers, Belgium, Bertrand Baguette started his racing career in 2000, entering karting competitions. In 2003, he won a scholarship for the Formula Renault 1.6 Belgium in which he raced a full season in 2004, finishing in the third place.
In 2005, he moved to the Formula Renault 2.0, having a double programme with Epsilon Euskadi team both in the French series and Eurocup. He scored only one podium over a season. He continued to compete in both series in 2006. His only win was in the Eurocup race at Le Mans and he finished fourth in the points.
In 2009, Baguette was the Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion
Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion in 2009
In 2007, Baguette moved one step higher, to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, driving for Kurt Mollekens' KTR team. With two podiums, he was 17th in the points. In 2008, driving for Draco Racing, he scored maiden FR 3.5 Series victory at Spa-Francorchamps, finishing seventh in the points at the end of the season. Baguette stayed with Draco Racing in the 2009 FR 3.5 Series season, scoring five wins in the #11 car and taking the championship title with a big advantage over the second-placed Fairuz Fauzy.
During his time in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Baguette raced in two rounds of the 2008 Superleague Formula with Azerti Motorsport but also participated in some touring car and sports car races, driving Mazda RX-8 for Boutsen Ginion Racing in the Belgian Touring Car Series and driving Ferrari F430 GT3 for Easy Race at Spa 24 Hours.
Bertrand Baguette during F1 test with Renault
Testing F1 cars for Renault and Sauber
As a prize for his victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Baguette had an opportunity to test Formula One cars on the official F1 test at Jerez in December. First, he was driving a Renault R29 for ING Renault F1 Team and then he spent a day testing a BMW Sauber F1.09 car.
However, it was all that he gets in Formula One. He was in a game to take a seat in Renault but Vitaly Petrov had been chosen. There was no other free seat for Baguette in Formula One so he decided to go across the ocean and to compete in the IndyCar Series.
Bertrand Baguette in 2010
IndyCar season with Conquest Racing
Baguette joined Conquest Racing to drive the #36 Dallara IR5-Honda. He was driving that car in ten races, then switching to #34 Honda. In his Indianapolis 500 debut, he was 22nd, seventeen laps behind race winner Dario Franchitti. Baguette lost lots of time in the pits to replace a rear-view mirror that had fallen off. In the rest of the season, Baguette's best result was 10th place at Kentucky Speedway.
In 2011, Baguette switched his interest to sports car racing but returned to IndyCar Series to drive Dallara-Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Indianapolis 500. He was in the lead late in the race but stopped for fuel three laps before the end of the race and finished seventh.
Bertrand Baguette spent two seasons with OAK Racing
Switching to sports cars in 2011, joining OAK Racing in 2012
In 2011, Baguette joined Marc VDS Racing Team in two rounds of the FIA GT1 World Championship, driving the #41 Ford GT Matech at Navarra and Beijing. Sharing a car with Maxime Martin, he finished fourth in both rounds.
In 2012, Baguette joined OAK Racing to drive OAK-Pescarolo LMP1 or Morgan LMP2 prototype in three competitions (FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series, American Le Mans Series). In his Le Mans 24h debut, sharing the #15 Pescarolo-Judd with Franck Montagny and Dominik Kraihamer, he didn't finish the race. Later in the season, he was LMP2 class winner at Donington's round of European Le Mans Series. Baguette was also driving GPR Racing's Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at Spa 24 Hours, finishing in the 16th place.
2013 world champions and Le Mans winners: Ricardo Gonzalez, Bertrand Baguette, Martin Plowman
World endurance champion in 2013
Baguette stayed with OAK Racing in 2013, driving only the #35 Morgan LMP2 in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He won Le Mans 24 Hours together with Martin Plowman and Ricardo Gonzalez, adding one more victory (Fuji) later in the season. The trio in the #35 earned the FIA WEC Trophy for LMP2 drivers.
Besides racing in FIA WEC, Baguette recorded few races with Aston Martin Vantage in the International GT Open and Blancpain Endurance Series but also a one-off attempt in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in a Toyota Camry.
Bertrand Baguette is driving for Nakajima Racing since 2014
Moving to Japan and joining Nakajima Racing in 2014
For the 2014 season, Baguette moved to Japan and joined Nakajima Racing to drive the #32 Honda NSX-GT in the Super GT Series, sharing a car with owner's son Daisuke Nakajima. Third place in the fifth round at Fuji was their best result and they finished 17th in the final standings of GT500 class.
In 2015 and 2016, Baguette had a double programme with Nakajima Racing, competing both in Super GT Series and Japanese Super Formula Championship. In the Super GT, he and Daisuke Nakajima were sharing the #64 Honda NSX, not scoring wins or podium in two seasons. In the Super Formula, Baguette was driving the #65 Honda, finishing 18th in the standings in 2015 and 15th in the points in 2016.
Outside Japan, Baguette joined Belgian Audi Club Team WRT at 2016 Spa 24 Hours, sharing the #4 Audi R8 LMS with Adrien de Leener and Pierre Kaffer. They were 8th.
2017 Suzuka 1000 winners: Bertrand Baguette and Kosuke Matsuura
Victory in the last ever Suzuka 1000 Kilometers
In 2017, Baguette reduced his Japanese schedule to Super GT Series only. He was sharing the #64 Honda NSX-GT with Kosuke Matsuura. After disappointing results in the first five rounds, they scored a sensational victory at Suzuka 1000 Kilometres, the biggest endurance race for GT cars in Japan. It was the last edition of Suzuka 1000. In the last two races, they were again far from a podium, finishing the season in the eleventh place.
Outside Japan, Baguette was driving Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Attempto Racing in two rounds (Silverstone, Paul Ricard) of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
In the 2018 Super GT season, Baguette will share the #64 Honda with Kosuke Matsuura.