Born Marc Gene i Guerrero in Catalonia, Spain on March 29th, 1974, Marc started karting at a young age and finished second in the 1987 Catalan Kart Championship, aged just 13. Gene has raced with Minardi and Williams, and currently tests for Ferrari as well as demonstrating their cars at roadshows and other events around the world.
Finding success on four wheels, Gene raced again in 1988 and took the National Class title and the Spanish Kart Championship, making his name heard in motorsporting circles. In 1989 Marc progressed higher in karts competing in both the European and World championships and in the following year he won the Senior Class of the Spanish Kart Championship becoming the youngest driver to do so. In 1992 Gene moved into Formula Ford and following a win and two pole positions Marc ended the year in fifth place. The next two years Marc continued in lower formulae single seaters, and by 1993 was competing in Formula Three.
Competing in the FISA Superformula and Formula 3000 brings Gene up to his break in 1999 when he was contacted by Giancarlo Minardi. Gene filled a vacant seat in the second Minardi, but as predicted the season was tough. However, at the European Grand Prix Marc managed to run his car into sixth place and scored the team’s first point since 1995. Gene finished the year off the bottom of the final standings in 18th.
Gene continued with Minardi for another season, but this time the success could not be repeated and the year went by without a point. The highest position Marc was able to run was eighth, which he managed at the season opener in Australia. With today’s scoring system he would have scored another point, but alas eighth at the time was outside the range. Gene gave a good performance n Austria, finishing in eighth again with team mate Gaston Mazzacane close behind in twelfth. However, coming close to points was not good enough for Gene and by the end of the season he was looking for a drive with another team.
2001-2004: Williams Tester
Williams were to offer Marc an opportunity to drive a better car, but it wasn’t for a race seat. Instead, Williams saw a potential in Gene and put him in a testing role. Although Marc was set the task of improving and developing the car, he was allowed to race should one of the primary drivers not be able to and the first of stand-in races happened in 2003 at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. Gene qualified his FW25 in fifth and eventually finished the race in fifth, collecting 4 points for team. However, the driver he was replacing, Ralf Schumacher, was able to return to the cockpit for the next round and Gene went back to testing.
In 2004, Ralf Schumacher again had to take time away from the races to allow a back injury to heal. Marc stepped in but the results weren’t as spectacular as his previous. Qualifying eighth for the French Grand Prix, Gene could only muster a tenth place finish. And at the following round at Silverstone, Gene qualified eleventh and brought his car home twelfth.
2005-Present: Ferrari Tester
Towards the end of 2004, having lost out to Antonio Pizzonia for the remainder of the seasons driving (Ralf Schumacher was forced to sit out due to injury), Gene decided to move on and Ferrari showed interest in the driver’s ability to test and develop chassis. A contract was signed in November 2004 and Marc become one of the Scuderia’s family. Marc worked alongside long-term test driver Luca Badoer, whom he raced with in 1999 in the Minardi squad. And following the team’s continued success Gene has remained at Maranello. Rarely seen now, Marc tends to stay at either Mugello or Fiorano while Luca Badoer generally travels away to the test sessions and Grands Prix.
With a ban on testing from the 2009 season onwards, Gene has stepped further back from the spotlight. He does occasionally drive the new Ferraris in their pre-season testing, and shares these duties with Luca Badoer. Marc also travels with the team to roadshows and events, his most notable showings being at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed each July. When regular pilot Felipe Massa was injured in the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying session, a chance to step in as a temporary substitute presented itself. However, the team decided to give the opportunity initially to multiple world champion Michael Schumacher. However, Schumacher had sustained a neck injury earlier in the year while testing a superbike, and the Scuderia gave the chance to race to their long-term test driver, Luca Badoer.
Beyond Formula One
Marc is only one of a few Formula One drivers who has a university degree, for which the Spaniard was awarded for his studies in economics. Gene can also speak four languages fluently. Marc is married to Eva and they have two children, Sienna and Patrick.