Laguna Seca track record unofficially falls to Ferrari’s Gene

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Marc Gene has unofficially beaten the track record at the Laguna Seca circuit in the USA driving a 2003 Ferrar1 F2003-GA.

Gene was driving the car at the Ferrari Racing Days event at the California circuit. He covered the 3.6km (2.24-mile) circuit in 1’05.78.

That beats the previous fastest time of 1’05.88 set by Sebastien Bourdais driving a Panoz DP01 Champ Car in 2007.

Although F1 has never raced at the famous circuit, home of the Corkscrew corner, Ricardo Zonta set a 1.06.30 in a Toyota TF106 at the track in 2006.

Champ Car last raced at the circuit in 2004. A1 Grand Prix made a single visit to Laguna Seca in 2006.

Pictures: Marc Gene in a Ferrari F2003-GA at Laguna Seca

See more pictures of the car here:

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Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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41 comments on “Laguna Seca track record unofficially falls to Ferrari’s Gene”

  1. By far my favourite American circuit. A shame it will never be viable for F1.

  2. What time did he do?

  3. Never mind that previous comment: I hadn’t read the article properly

  4. Woah, that’s slow. I got the Gold in the Special License in Gran Turismo 2 in 1:12.883 :P

    *good times*

    1. Man that takes me back… I wish I still had my PS1 (and accompanying memory card) so I could compare lap times with you!

    2. A-Safieldin (@)
      22nd May 2012, 0:40

      I did it in 58 sec in GT3 in the Williams-esque FW16-ish car.

      1. Yea, I set a time below a minute driving the one that looked more like the 86′ Lotus I think.

  5. I wonder what a well set up F2004 with a top driver in it could have managed?

    1. xeroxpt (@)
      21st May 2012, 19:06

      Ye, still an 08 car should be quicker in this kind of track.

      1. Unlikely as F2004 still holds majority of the lap records in current F1 track calendar.

    2. Well even with that 2003 Ferrari on a proper race weekend with put down rubber and driven in real anger the laptimes would be a lot faster. So this isn’t quite comparable to a race record in any other series that may have driven there imo.

  6. I am always confused by these events because of the tires. Is he running Pirelli slicks?

    1. if they are, the almost certainly won’t be a set of race-spec tyres

    2. @texagf1 He is indeed.

    3. The teams get promotion event tyres for these kind of things (track days, filming days, etc.), those are a lot harder than the normal tyres used for racing

  7. I was wondering how that ferrari got through the corkscrew, but then i saw the ground clearence of the car in the pics :)

  8. I wonder what time would Montoya achieve in FW25

  9. Check this out.
    1. F2003 Pass-By
    2. F2003 Onboard

    1. SafirXP (@)
      21st May 2012, 19:46

      Thanks for the links! Love the track and the corkscrew! Always wondered when I’ll get to see onboard shots of an F1 going around this track!

    2. @buran Nice footage, thanks – he was six seconds off Gene, though!

      1. Not hard to see why: missing apexes, leaving lots of track at entry and exit, late to maintenance throttle and not brave enough once he got on the throttle, very timid through the Corkscrew.

        Can’t say that I blame him, though– driving F1 machinery on the limit on an unforgiving, technical, and old-school track like LS is not for the faint of heart!

        1. for example, look at the 2 pics of Gene coming through the Corkscrew– at the top he’s so much on the throttle that his right front is completely unloaded, and on the way down he’s all over the kerbing of the second apex, in fact his RF is going to cut well inside it.

  10. Wow! a Ferrari in the corkscrew.

  11. So is it unofficial because it wasn’t part of a race event?

  12. Was this a Ferrari special event? If so, it is curious they still run the original livery that includes current McLaren sponsor Vodafone and omits Santander.

  13. The other driver is a friend of mine, Bud Moeller. He is an amazing guy; owns & races a Ferrari 312-T5 & is also part of the Ferrari Clienti program. They have run track days at Imola & Spa in the past, & Infineon Raceway two weeks ago…
    This is some great footage of him racing at Road America in the T5 a few years ago…

  14. Looking odd a Ferrari car adorned in Bridgestone stickers driving with Pirelli tyres!!

  15. Argentinian driver laping around minute 8, in a 04 ferrari also at Laguna Seca.
    By the way, he uses Kimi’s helmet :)

  16. it’s a shame gene isn’t driving a certain peugeot right about now

  17. William Brierty
    22nd May 2012, 8:41

    Sorry Marc, I just did a 1:04.362 in a Ferrari F1 car (F2007) that has two fewer cylinders and groved tyres, thanks to Gran Turismo 5.

  18. An F1 car barely edges out a Champ car? That’s pathetic.

    1. That’s comparing apples and oranges. This is an old Ferrari, on super hard demo spec tyres which are in a size the car was never designed for, running with a ‘safe’ engine map which will have a conservative limiter on it. An F1 car in full racing trim would be much faster.

    2. dont forget the champcar record was done at the end of a week of testing where all the cars had managed to fine tune there setups & the track had been properly rubbered in.

      have a proper f1 test at laguna seca for a couple days to get setups sorted & the track rubbered in & the modern f1 cars would go 2-3 seconds quicker.

      1. or more. I think the comparison at Montreal (don’t remember which year) between F1 and Champcar was 5sec+

  19. This is interesting – but surprised at how Bourdais in a Champ Car managed to be faster than the late 90s Indycars

    1. Laguna Seca is a fairly slow and twisty course, so it’ll be all about downforce.

      1. +1. And a car that’s compliant over the kerbs, because you have to use them pretty much maximally.

  20. What if Gene used a F2004 or a MP4-20, then? ;D

  21. Aditya Banerjee (@)
    22nd May 2012, 17:50

    I still think he should have replaced Massa in ’09, not BADoer or FISHichella…

    1. He would have faired no better though. Fisichella was hardly slow in his last race before he joined Ferrari. No one expected Badoer to be that bad.

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