Getting to know…
The 2020 season will be a busy one for Lamborghini Factory Driver Franck Perera. The Frenchman will compete in no fewer than four GT championship this year, which if you ask the man himself, suits him just fine as he embraces his “second career” in motorsport.
Barely out of karting, Perera had achieved something rare for drivers his age; he’d signed his first professional contract, with Toyota. In much the same fashion as future six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton had with McLaren, Perera’s signature helped him climb the ranks of the single seater ladder.
He says: “I was performing very well in karting and I was one of the first to sign a contract with a manufacturer, like a young driver programme deal. So, I started in Formula Renault, Formula 3, GP2 and I had been a test driver for two years with Toyota F1 team.
“I spent six years with them and that was a great chance for me as there was no issue for my family to pay something. I was really lucky.”
Winning the title in 2003 against the likes of Pastor Maldonado, Esteban Guerrieri and Kamui Kobayashi, Perera moved up to Formula 3 the following year, staying for two seasons and finishing fourth in the standings in Hamilton’s title year in 2005.
The pair continued racing against each other in 2006, in GP2, with Perera finishing a close second to Hamilton on the streets of Monaco. Things had looked good for the Frenchman, but the F1 dream quickly ebbed away.
“Unfortunately, my contract with Toyota finished as they were pulling out a few years later, but that gave me the chance to go to America in ChampCar and Indycar.
“After Indycar, there was the Superleague Formula which was awesome, but the financial crisis of 2008 made racing difficult as the budgets were so important. Inevitably, money dried up and things didn’t look so good.”
It was a difficult period for Perera who admits to suffering from ‘burnout’ both mentally and physically. He stopped racing completely, before being lured back. It was there that his “second career” began, this time in GTs.
“Now, I am a factory driver for the second time in my life, which is like winning a championship for me!”
After a season with FFF Racing in 2019, which resulted in an historic triple title success in the GT World Challenge Europe, Perera returns to the championship in 2020 with Emil Frey Racing.
In addition, Perera will race for Grasser Racing Team in the GT Daytona class of the IMSA Endurance Cup as well as in ADAC GT Masters.
And if that wasn’t enough, Perera will also be competing in British GT with WPI Motorsport