Through The Esses - James Gué Is Looking For A French Connection
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© Andrew S. Hartwell

The Mid-Ohio circuit was the next stop on the KONI Challenge tour when we caught up with James Gué (Goo-A). He had just arrived there, having driven over 600 miles from his home in Georgia. He made the trip to once again run in the #37 JBS Motorsports Mustang Cobra GT in the GS Class. His co-driver is Bret Seafuse (the B and the S' in JBS Motorsports, with Bret's father, Jim being the J') and coming into this, the seventh race of the season, the pair was solidly in fourth place in the driver standings. Coincidentally, fourth is also the highest finishing position they have achieved this year. They finished in that spot at both Miami and Iowa.

Gué, at age 25, has logged a lot of racing miles in the last 16 years, starting with karts at the age of 9. He graduated from backyard races, run against his brother Robert, to full fledged karting competitions that led to a two year stay in Italy after graduating from High School. He eventually returned to the states and gave open wheel racing a shot, running in a few Formula Ford and Formula Mazda races. His racing resume would soon expand with stints behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype and in open-top prototypes in the early years of Grand-Am and in the American Le Mans Series. And last year, Gué even made it to the Le Mans 24 Hours race. That is, he made it to the race, but not into the race. But we will come back to that in a moment.

Gué was born into a family that lived and breathed sportscar racing. His father, Michael Gué, has run a number of different race cars under the Essex Racing banner for over 25 years. James Gué practically grew up at racetracks across North America. It probably wouldn't surprise anyone were blood tests to reveal his blood type is 5W-30.

Gué got hooked on the rush of rushing early on and today he is constantly on the hunt for a quality ride, preferably in a prototype running in the ALMS and with a shot at putting him on the starting grid for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But he isn't narrowing his focus on just a prototype ride. He is quite satisfied to have a season long commitment with JBS in the KONI Challenge. Like most ambitious and talented young racers though, he feels you can never have your hands on too many wheels in one season. The more cars you can get to drive, the more you can enjoy the rush of racing. It's the competition that he hankers for the most.

My racing schedule this season is to do the full season in the KONI Challenge. To date I have also done four races in Grand-AM GT, running with the Stevenson Corvette at Daytona and Watkins Glen, and with the Racer's Edge Pontiac at VIR and Laguna Seca.

I'd like to run in the ALMS again in a prototype. The level of competition has definitely gone up quite a bit since I last ran there. Unfortunately all the factory efforts with Porsche and Honda make it tough to get in.

Getting in' is the difficulty every aspiring racer faces when they decide they want to pursue their passion for speed on a professional level. Finding sponsorship, making the right contacts, and of course, performing while behind the wheel, all play a role in determining a driver's future. Gué wants his name to be on the list of as many competitive teams as possible and to that end he is determined to make the most of every opportunity, be it in a series with large fields, or one where technology reigns supreme.

I have a few possibilities in GT racing that might pan out for the rest of this year. I enjoy the competition in Grand-Am with the large fields. They don't get the car counts in the ALMS but the level of sophistication with the cars is much higher. But when you come down to it I enjoy both series for different reasons. Both types of cars excite me. I just really like the atmosphere and the international flavor of the ALMS.

Perhaps we should take a minute here to go back in time and let Gué tell us in his own words how he became a man who hunts s