Michel Ferté

Michel Ferté

8/12/1958

Michel Ferté started racing in the early Eighties and raced in F3, F2 and F3000. He was a test driver in Formula 1 for three seasons but never got race seat. He also raced in Touring Cars, IMSA, Ice racing and Sports Prototypes.

Younger brother of Alain Ferté, Michel is a veteran of F3, Le Mans and F3000. He started racing in the early 1980s and won the French F3 Championship and the Monaco F3 race in 1983 driving a Martini-Alfa Romeo MK39 for ORECA. It was also his first time at Le Mans. Driving a Rondeau M482 Cosworth with his brother and Jean Rondeau they failed to finish. At the end of the year, in November, he tested Ligier JS21 a Le Castellet and later gave interviews saying he'd be Ligier's second driver for 1984. Then François Hesnault got the drive and Michel Ferté ended up with a testing contract and a season in Formula 2.

Driving for ORECA in a Martini 001 BMW, he finished 3rd in the Daily Express International Tropy at Silverstone in early April. He was third again in the second round of the European F2 Championship at Hockenheim. A DNF at Thruxton in round 3 was followed by a fourth at Vallelunga in Italy and second at Mugello in round 5. An accident at Pau on lap 12 stopped his run of podium finishes. He returned with a 3rd at Hockenheim, a DNF at Santamonica near Rimini in Italy, 5th at Pergusa, another accident at Donington and rounding out an impressive season with a second at Brands Hatch Circuit in the final round. He also drove at Le Mans again this time in Preston Henn's Porsche 962, once again failing to finish.

For 1985, Formula 2 was replaced by Formula 3000. Michel was the quickest of the March 85B drivers. He qualified on pole for the first round at Silverstone in March and was a bit disappointed when he could only manage third in the race. He picked up another third in the next round at Thruxton. In Estoril in Portugal he finished third. It was his last visit to the podium that year. When the circus moved north for the fourth round at the Nürburgring, late snow brought about a cancellation.

At Spa bad weather had caused havoc with the track, which was breaking-up in places. Michel and brother Alain qualified 1st and 2nd. At the time it was believed to be the first time that two brothers had qualified 1st and 2nd for a major European single seater race. In the race, lack of grip made it tough going and only six cars crossing the line. Thackwell took victory with Alain second while Michel spun off.

A fourth place in the last round at Donington in September saw Michel finish 5th in the final championship standings on 17 points. The DNFs at Vallelunga, Pau, Spa-Francorchamps, Enna-Pergusa, Osterreichring and Zandvoort really hurt his championship chances. Christian Danner ran out the Champion on 51 points while Alain finished 9th on 10 points.

It once again looked like he might get an F1 drive in 1986 this time with Brabham but once again it came to nought and he continued in F3000. His season produced greater reliability, only failing to finish once. Three seconds and two thirds put him fifth once again the final Championship placings on 24 points. Ivan Capelli took the title with 38 points.

He finished 14th equal with Mark Blundell in a partial season of F3000 in 1987. Driving for Bob Sparshott, Michel had to wait for his new car and then only drove in four rounds with a best finish of third at Pau. In 1988 he came 20th equal with Andrea Chiesa with just one point. He had another DNF at Le Mans, after a break of four years, driving the Cougar C20B Porsche with Pierre-Henri Raphanel, caused by a fire in the pits.

Michel was by now competing in other series having given up on the goal of reaching F1. He competed in Super Tourism, IMSA, ice racing, WP and Sports Prototypes.

In 1989 he drove for Silk Cut Jaguar driving the XJR-9 LM at Le Mans with his brother and Eliseo Salazar, finishing 8th. In 1990 he achieved his best result at the Sarthe circuit coming home second in the XJR-12 with Davy Jones and Raul Boesel.

He last raced at Le Mans in 2003 and now competes in Historic racing driving in the 2006 European Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge.

hr

Leave a comment

Comments