Biography of Tomáš Enge

Liberec (CZ), 31 Dec 2003

Tomáš Enge, was born on 11 September 1976 in Liberec. He followed his father, one of the best touring car drivers in Czech history, Břetislav Enge - a BMW team driver, and in his 23 years he entered into the Czech motor racing history, when on 10 December 1999 tested for the first time a Formula 1 Jordan Mugen 199 car.

At the age of fifteen he completed the Jirí Micánek racing school in Brno. Then he waited for his sixteenth birthday with a licence in his bag. Literally a few hours after reaching sixteen he took part in his first race. It was the Ford Fiesta Cup and he raced for the team of Svet Motoru.

In 1993, Jaroslav Páral together with Tomáš finished eleventh in the final rankings. In the last race of that season, alongside his father, he climbed on the victory stand for the first time. In 1994, he was predicted to be one of the challengers for overall title along with Jürgen Rother from Germany.

Together they achieved eight pole positions. It is necessary to mention that the key role, not only for Tomáš Enge's progress, but for other young drivers who begin especially in karts as well - is and has been played by Charouz Racing Team. For the 1995 season with help of his manager Antonin Charouz, Tomáš Enge succeeded in joining the best German team - Mr Albert Hamper's Eifelland Racing. World Champion Michael Schumacher and his fellow-countryman Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Ayrton Senna or Nigel Mansell had followed the same road to Formula 1.

In 1996 Tomáš Enge won the German Formula Ford Championship and in the next year he started in the BSR Bertram Schäfer Team at the German Formula 3 Championship. However this team did not choose the right combination of an engine and chassis. This caused that Tomáš Enge, although doing his best, scored only 3 points in the middle of the season. Nevertheless his manager Mr Charouz found out a solution in such an unfavorable situation. Tomáš Enge started his first race in the Formula 3000 International Championship at the end of July 1998. He started in the middle of the season and he gained 1 point in the last five races in the Italian Auto Sport Racing Team.

In 1999 Tomáš Enge raced in the Italian WRT Rafanelli Team. Soon after two opening races, in which he did not qualified, he kept finishing the races regularly ending up second in France. Scoring six points gave 11th position in the overall ranking. Friday 10 December 1999 was a historic moment not only for Tomáš Enge, but also for whole Czech motor racing. Exactly at 4:10 p.m. as a first Czech he drove into the circuit sitting behind the driving wheel of a Formula 1 car. He was driving 13 laps with the Jordan Mugen-Honda 199 car. Italian Jarno Trulli drove the second car of the team. 'When comparing the times of Trulli and mine I learned I loose the most at the fast curves, which is understood, because Formula 3000 is slower from 30 up to 40 kilometres per hour there. It is quite hard to identify where the edge is. In slower parts I was more competitive.'

Tomáš Enge drove 38 laps on the following day and stayed behind the best Coulthard's time lap driving McLaren only 2.5 seconds and 1.4 second behind Trulli. 'It was important I was able to reach steady times and I did not have any troubles on the circuit. Mechanics praised me I communicated well about the car settings, which is an ability rookies do not mostly succeed in.' It was therefore no accident that team chief Eddie Jordan invited him to carry out further tests to Silverstone in England.

In the year 2000 Tomáš Enge achieved a test driver position in the F1 Jordan Team. At the same time he raced his second season in the 2000 FIA F3000 International Championship for the team, that was the McLaren Junior Team. That is why Jordan rather did not use Tomáš Enge for tests, due to a conflict of interests.

This season Tomáš Enge sits behind the driving wheel of Formula 3000 in the Coca-Cola Nordic Racing Team. At the opening race with its premiere in Brazil he drove two thirds of the race on the second place. However following he was penalised with a stop/go together with two drivers from the top for controversial overtaking after a yellow flag. He was classified on the 12th place. Meanwhile the second race of the season brought first Tomáš Enge's podium finish. After a successful start he made it to the third place in first chicane and kept it until the finish. It had taken only three races of this season International Championship and Tomáš Enge reached a podium finish with an emphatic win at the Barcelona. Having said this the Czech national anthem could had been played for the second time in the history of Formula 3000 competitions.

At the Nürburgring Tomáš Enge achieved his third win of his career, second of this season. Following at the Magny Cours Tomáš Enge finished third. Due to cut out of his engine as he accelerated out of the last corner he scored fifth instead of third at the Silverstone. Tomáš Enge drove a very exciting race in Germany making a challenge for third on pole-sitter Sperafico on the very last lap, yet a small collision sent him out of the track, so he had moved down to fifth. Penalty stop and go meant eleventh place at the Hungaroring. Tomáš Enge stands on the 3rd place overall gaining 36 points after the tenth round of the 2001 FIA F3000 International Championship.

Tomáš Enge entered the 2002 season as one of the top favorites of the FIA F3000 International Championship.

Enge enters his fourth complete season, not counting his absence in the last race of the previous year in the colours of the British Arden International Team. Enge managed to confirm his position of one of the favourites in pre-seasonal testing, where he regularly ranked among the top drivers. For this season FIA has introduced a new car - Lola B02/50. Enge has been able to capitalise on his experience with tuning up the new car.

Enge was able to confirm his favorite role during whole season. He won four races - more then any other driver - and after dramatic finish of the season finally took championship crown. He was not only fast but also very consistent. He has best qualifying average place even if he had less pole positions than Sébastien Bourdais. He set five fastest laps - more than any other driver did. Unfortunately, he did not pass dope test after Hungaroring race and he was disqualified from the race that he won. He lost 10 points and consequently the title.

Just before the actual beginning of the Formula 3000 championship, the Czech driver left for Sebring in the United States, where he defended the colors of the Prodrive team Ferrari 550 Maranello and he did a great job. He created a new record in his class, and did better than the other more experienced team members in the race. The well-known team very much praised his performance.

Enge also took part in the 24-hour race in Le Mans. The first official training took place on the first weekend of May, and Enge dominated his class again. In the same way as in Sebring, he drove the Ferrari 550 Maranello of the Prodrive Team, and recorded a lap nearly 4 seconds faster than the second best competitor. His performance did not remain unnoticed by the attending observers, and Enge belonged among the top favorites in his class. And he didn't disappoint. Tomáš won the qualifying of GTS class and set the fastest lap of the race in his class. Unfortunately, fire terminated effort of his team just after half of the race. Enge and his teammates Rickard Rydell and Alain Menu built two laps advantage over the nearest competitor up to that point.

Enge returned to Prodrive's Ferrari cockpit for the last three races ALMS. He showed great performances once again and scored podium finish in all three races plus two pole positions and two fastest laps of the GTS class.

Enge moved to sports cars in 2003 and have had busy schedule as he starts in the American Le Mans series with Prodrive Ferrari, FIA GT championship with MENX team and also at Le Mans with Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari.

The main event of the season was the 24 Hours race at Le Mans where Enge took part for the second consecutive year. He showed great performance once again and set the best time of the GTS class. He dominated, together with Peter Kox and Jamie Davies, in the race itself, which the crew led for almost whole 24 hours. The Prodrive built Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello on behalf Care Racing run as clockwork and the whole Veloqx Prodrive Racing team celebrated well deserved victory.

Tomáš Enge races sports cars this year and so many times demonstrated his undoubted talent. Teams appreciate his speed and technical feedback and fans love his style and fighting spirit. Twenty-six years old Czech driver is not only quick but also reliable and rarely makes a mistake - and pressure is not a problem for him.

Enge has been proving during this season that he has not lost anything from his speed. He was at the very best form at Le Mans where he set the fastest time of the GTS class for the second consecutive year. Together with Peter Kox and Jamie Davies completely dominated the legendary 24 Hours race leading almost all 24 hours! He displayed also how mature driver he is and perfectly managed his pace when the team did not have to push to the maximum.

Care Racing supported Ferrari Prodrive team takes for the first time part in the all races of the series and Enge once again has been showing his qualities. Despite the fact that he had not known the circuits - Sebring and Atlanta were exceptions - before, Tomáš was constantly quick and proved that new circuits do not present problem for him. Although often stroked by bad luck in the race he demonstrated his speed and consistency and frequently set the fastest lap of the race of the GTS class. And his pole lap at Trois Rivieres hugely impressed insiders, as short and twisty street circuit should not suit Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello.

Tomáš has been also racing with the young Czech team MENX in the FIA GT championship. He has been leading driver and his experience and excellent technical feedback helped the team establish itself among established teams. Particularly the performance during the wet qualifying at Magny Cours was impressive as he was quickest from the fleet of Ferrari 360 Modena.