It can be very tough for a driver to combine work commitments with a passion for motorsport, which is what led Frenchman Ange Barde to renounce the Ferrari Challenge for several years. But now he is back and more highly-motivated than ever, supported by the SF Côte d'Azur Cannes - IB Fast team. Thrilled with the 488 Challenge Evo, Ange is getting ready to relive the thrills he so badly missed in the Trofeo Pirelli Am, as he recounts to Fast Lane.
After so many years in the Ferrari Challenge, what keeps you so tied to this championship?
"It’s Ferrari itself, with their cars, that keeps me so tied to this championship. For me Ferrari represents a legend and I am really happy to be back racing with the Prancing Horse. I hope to keep going for a long time to come".
Indeed you are back after so many years, why did you choose this year for your return?
"I came back here because I raced in the Ferrari Challenge for nine years from 2000 to 2008, so I consider it a real family. In 2008 I founded my own company and having just started up a new business I found myself without enough time to race: so I was forced to give it up. Today the company is solid, the situation has stabilized and I can once again dedicate my time to my passion".
What is your fondest memory of the Ferrari Challenge?
"Definitely my most exciting memories are those from the first ever championship: Since then I have competed in so many others, but the first one retains a different, unique flavour. At that moment I realised I had fulfilled my dream of racing and winning with Ferrari. As in everyday life, you never forget your first time and it always remains something special".
Which is your favourite circuit?
"There are actually two favourite circuits of mine. The first is undoubtedly Paul Ricard, if only because it is my home circuit in France. Then Mugello, which I think is the best track of all".
What are the aspects which characterise your driving style?
"Well, I am the type of driver who needs to study a strategy and plan how to manage a race. In this sense, thirty minutes of racing isn’t enough for me, I need more time to build up my performance. But, on the other hand, these are the rules, so I always try to optimise the times".
How do you feel behind the wheel of the Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo?
"It's a magnificent car. Also, it has a lot of electronics and for a driver of my age it is important to get a bit of help if you want to be fast and competitive! But joking apart, it's an incredible car. Also, Ferrari strives to make constant improvements to their cars with a view to constantly progressing. Truly magnificent!”