- January 01, 1963
- Not Active
Jean-Marc Gounon is a former French racing driver who recorded nine starts in the Formula 1 World Championship in 1993 and 1994, driving for Minardi and Simtek. Earlier in a career, he gained some success in the Formula 3000 and Formula 3, winning the French F3 Championship in 1989.
Gounon was also successful in the sports car racing, participating eleven times at 24 Hours of Le Mans. The highlight of a career was the second place at 1997 Le Mans 24h when he was driving McLaren F1 GTR for Gulf Team Davidoff.
Three seasons in the Formula Renault
Born on January 1, 1963, Gounon started his racing career in 1985, entering the French Formula Renault. He scored no wins in his debut season, finishing 10th in the points. In the next two years, he was among the front-runners in the championship, finishing in the second place both in 1986 and 1987.
In 1986, he was a race winner two times, losing a title to Erik Comas. In 1987, Gounon was a race winner once, losing a title to Claude Degremont.
French Formula 3 champion in 1989
In 1988, Gounon progressed to the French Formula 3 Championship, driving a Dallara-Alfa Romeo for Promatecme team. Scoring three podiums, he finished fourth in the points.
Next year, Gounon wad driving Reynard-Alfa Romeo for Oreca, scoring five wins during the season to dominantly winning the championship title. In non-championship races, Gounon was 10th at Macau Grand Prix and 19th at Monaco Grand Prix.
Three seasons and two wins in the Formula 3000
In 1990, Gounon made a step further on his way towards Formula 1. He joined British team Madgwick International to drive the #17 Reynard-Honda in the International Formula 3000 Championship, the series just one step below F1. In his debut F3000 season, Gounon scored one podium to finish ninth in the points.
Gounon scored his first F3000 victory in the second round of 1991 season at Pau Grand Prix, driving the #31 Ralt-Cosworth for British team 3001 International. He ended a season sixth in the points. In 1992, Gounon spent F3000 season with DAMS, driving the #7 Lola-Cosworth and scoring a victory at season's finale at Magny-Cours to finish seventh in the points.
Unsuccessful attempt at 1991 Spa 24 Hours
While competing in Formula 3000, Gounon made several appearances on other racing disciplines. In August 1991, he was driving a BMW M3 Sport Evo at Spa 24 Hours, sharing a car with Jean-Denis Deletraz and Tiziano Carugati.They didn't finish the race.
He also made two starts in the Porsche Carrera Cup France, participating in one race in 1991 and one race in 1992.
1993 - two Formula One starts with Minardi
In 1993, Gounon was out of racing and he finally made a Formula 1 debut in October, paying for a two-race deal with Minardi as a replacement for Christian Fittipaldi. He joined Italian team at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, driving the #23 Minardi M193-Ford. Gounon was the last on the starting grid, retiring from a race after 26 laps.
Two weeks later, he participated in the season-closing Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide Street Circuit. Starting 22nd, he retired after 34 laps.
1994 – seven F1 starts with MTV Simtek
In 1994, Gounon returned to Formula One in the seventh round, replacing injured Andrea Montermini in the Italian team MTV Simtek. He made a debut in the #32 Simtek S941-Ford at the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, finishing in the ninth place.
Later in the season, Gounon managed to qualify for six more Grand Prix races, finishing best in 11th place at Belgian Grand Prix. Due to lack of funds, he was replaced by other drivers for the last three rounds of the season.
One season in the touring car championship
In 1994, having no full-time seat in Formula 1, Gounon switched his interest to touring car racing. He spent a season with BMW Fina Oreca team in the French Supertouring Championship, driving a BMW 318is.
In twelve races, Gounon scored one podium to finish sixth in the final standings, three places behind his teammate Yvan Muller.
1995 – Le Mans 24h debut in a Venturi 600LM
In 1995, Gounon realized that his single-seater career came to an end, starting a career in the sports car racing, including a debut at 24 Hours of Le Mans. In his first attempt at Le Mans, Gounon was driving the #44 Venturi 600LM, sharing a car with Paul Belmondo and Arnaud Trevisiol. They made 193 laps, not being classified in the final standings.
Later in 1995, Gounon participated in two rounds of the BPR Global GT Endurance Series, driving a Venturi at Suzuka 1000 Km and Ferrari F40 GTE at Zhuhai # Hours.
1996 – a season with Ferrari in the Global GT Series
With three podiums, they were fifth in the final points. At Le Mans, a trio in the #45 Ferrari stopped after just 40 laps.
Le Mans podium in a McLaren F1 GTR
In 1997, Gounon joined GTC Racing/Gulf Team Davidoff in the FIA GT Championship, driving the #3 McLaren F1 GTR. He was 8th in the final points after scoring two podiums (Hockenheim and Suzuka) together with Pierre-Henri Raphanel.
In June, Gounon and Raphanel were sharing the #41 McLaren at Le Mans 24 Hours, with Anders Olofsson as the third driver. They finished first in the GT1 class and second overall, behind Joest Racing's TWR Porsche WSC-95.
1998 - FIA GT Championship season with Mercedes
In 1998, Gounon changed a manufacturer again, joining Persson Motorsport to drive the #12 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR in the FIA GT Championship. His co-driver was Marcel Tiemann. They were second in the season-opening round at Oschersleben, what remained their only podium. They finished sixth in the final standings of GT1 class.
1999 - double sports car racing schedule with DAMS
In 1999, Gounon spent a season with DAMS team in two competitions, the American Le Mans Series and Sports Racing World Cup. He was driving a Lola B98/10-Judd prototype in both championships. He scored four SRWC wins, finishing sixth in the points. His teammates were Eric Bernard and Christophe Tinseau.
Gounon didn't race at Le Mans in 1999, being a member of the AMG-Mercedes team which withdrew the #4 Mercedes-Benz CLR after qualifying and warm-up accidents when a car went airborne two times because of problematic aerodynamic design.
2000 – a season with BMW in the American Le Mans Series
In 2000, Gounon returned to Le Mans with another German manufacturer, driving the #15 BMW V12 LM for Thomas Bscher/David Price Pacing. His co-drivers were Thomas Bscher and Geoff Lees. They retired after 180 laps.
Gounon spent an entire season with BMW, driving the #43 BMW V12 LMR in the American Le Mans Series. His full-time co-driver was Bill Auberlen. They scored podiums at Mosport (3rd) and Las Vegas (3rd).
Two seasons with BMS Scuderia Italia
In 2001, Gounon joined BMS Scuderia Italia to drive the #1 Ferrari 333 SP in the FIA Sportscar Championship. He and Marco Zadra won the race at Spa and finished second at Brno and Donington. Gounon was also driving the #10 Kremer Racing Lola B98/10-Ford in three races, retiring in all three.
In 2002, Gounon stayed with BMS Scuderia Italia in the FIA GT Championship, driving a Ferrari 550 Maranello in three races and finishing best in the second place at Donington. He also joined Cirtek Motorsport to drive Porsche 996 GT3-RS in one FIA GT race.
2003 – return to Le Mans in a Courage prototype
In the 2003 FIA GT Championship, Gounon joined Konrad Motorsport to drive the #2 Saleen S7-R together with Franz Konrad and Toni Seiler. In July, at Spa 24 Hours, Gounon moved to Creation Autosportif to drive their Lister Storm. He stayed with Creation for the rest of the season but without notable results.
In June 2003, Gounon returned to Le Mans after a two-year absence. He was driving the #13 Courage C60-Judd LMP900 prototype for Courage Competition, sharing a car with Stephane Gregoire and Jonathan Cochet. They finished in the seventh place.
Gounon repeated Le Mans participation with Courage Competition in 2004, driving the #31 Courage C65-JPX LMP2 prototype. He, Alexander Frei and Sam Hancock retired after 127 laps.
Competing with Courage in the Le Mans Series
Except at Le Mans, Gounon was driving for Courage Competition in the Le Mans Series. In 2004, he scored two LMP2 class wins at Nurburgring and Silverstone, finishing fifth in the points.
In 2005, Gounon was driving Courage C60 Hybrid-Judd LMP1 prototype in three Le Mans Series rounds but without notable results.
Fourth place at 2005 Le Mans in an Audi R8
In 2005, Gounon also joined Audi Playstation Oreca team in the LMS round at Spa, as a preparation for his Le Mans attempt with Audi. At Le Mans race, Gounon was sharing the #4 Audi R8 with Franck Montagny and Stephane Ortelli, finishing in the fourth place.
The third team which Gounon was driving for in 2005 was Konrad Motorsport, in the FIA GT Championship round at Oschersleben. Driving the #5 Saleen S7-R, he finished 4th together with Robert Lechner. Gounon also joined Konrad Motorsport in January 2006, driving a Saleen at Mil Milhas race in Brazil, finishing in the third place together with Antonio Hermann and Didier Theys.
Three more DNFs at Le Mans 24 Hours
From 2006 to 2008, Gounon recorded three more attempts at Le Mans, recording three DNFs. In 2006, he was sharing the #13 Courage LC70-Mugen with Shinji Nakano and Haruki Kurosawa. In 2007, his partners in the #13 Courage LC70-AER were Stefan Johansson and Guillaume Moreau. His last Le Mans attempt Gounon recorded in 2008, sharing the #21 Epsilon Euskadi EE1-Judd LMP2 prototype with Shinji Nakano and Stefan Johansson.
Except driving for Courage Competition in the Le Mans Series, Gounon joined Aston Martin Racing BMS in two FIA GT rounds, driving an Aston Martin DBR9 at Nogaro and Zolder in 2007. Le Mans start with Epsilon Euskadi in June 2008 was his last race in a career.
Nine years later, in 2017, he appeared in the Race of Legends as a part of the Audi Sport TT Cup support programme, finishing in the sixth place.
Jean-Marc's son Jules Gounon (born 1994) is also an accomplished racing driver who most recently won the ADAC GT Masters title in 2017.