Jules Gounon reserve driver for Alpine in Hypercar category
Celebrating his 30th birthday on December 31, Jules Gounon has finally secured his position as a driver in the top class of endurance racing. Jules Gounon, official Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver, adds another string to his bow by joining Alpine's Hypercar program, initially as a reserve driver.
Before heading off to Australia, where he will be aiming for a fourth consecutive victory at the Bathurst 12 Hours, Jules Gounon was in England at Enstone to attend the presentation of the Alpine 2024 programs.
Do you look forward to joining Alpine, and what can you bring to the team in 2024?
I am extremely pleased to join Alpine in the premier Hypercar category. I got my first taste of it with the A424 during testing in Barcelona. I must admit it is incredible to be involved in this formidable human adventure at the dawn of what I see as the new golden era of endurance racing. On a personal level, I will try to bring my experience and GT racing knowledge to the table, as I see a lot of similarities with the LMDh, particularly the weight and power.
What is your role as a reserve driver, and what are the essential qualities ?
First and foremost, I must always be ready to get behind the wheel if needed, although I obviously don't wish any harm to my teammates. I'm also on-hand during testing to support the development and offer an alternative point of view to the regular drivers, most of whom come from the world of prototypes and who may no longer see certain things out of habit. My outside perspective and feedback can be passed on to the engineers to help them find new ways of improving the team. Technical feedback is therefore vitally important, as is the feeling with the car and professionalism in debriefing, describing and transcribing the effects of our tests on the car. The goal is to help Alpine improve, while progressing in my prototype driving.
After a long and brilliant career in GT racing, what was it like to make your Hypercar debut?
My first run in the car last week was magical. I was really looking forward to getting to know the Alpine A424, and I would like to thank Mercedes-AMG for allowing me to join Alpine in this role. Many of the GT greats I've battled against over the years are now with various constructors in Hypercars, and this was a personal dream of mine. I remember my father, who raced in LMP1 in 2005, and I promised myself then that I would do everything I could to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall in a prototype. That's not yet the case as I'm a reserve driver, but I hope to work well and continue to improve to get closer to that goal in the future.