Young, dynamic, talented and ambitious. French racing car driver Jean-Eric Vergne turned 26 on April 25th two days after taking second place in the FIA Formula-E race in Paris just a few kilometres away from his home town of Pontoise in the northwestern suburbs of the French capital. For Vergne, or “JEV” as his friends and fans call him, who lives in Dubai now, it was “crazy to see my public from the podium. Everybody was there, my friends, my family, the HYT team – it was a very important moment to push us for a win at the next race in Berlin on May 21.”
JEV became the first HYT ambassador in June 2015 after having met HYT board member and co-founder Vincent Perriard through a mutual designer. “I created, with my girlfriend, a brand of bracelets made of forged carbon fibre, and the designer, Sebastien Perret, is also the designer of HYT watches. When I saw some of the work he had done for HYT I was really astonished and impressed. I have always liked watches, and have quite a few — some Rolexes, Audemars Piguet, IWC, and when he explained the brand to me, the fantastic HYT concept, I fell in love with it! and wanted to meet the people behind this young, dynamic brand. I met Vincent Perriard, and became their ambassador. I have an H2 Full Bronze in my collection that I used to wear daily. These days, I love to wear the SKULL BAD BOY – it is really cool. I love the design.”
JEV does not wear his watch when driving. “I completely forget about the watch when driving and might damage the car, so I prefer not to. I know some drivers do, some are superstitious…” He started kart racing when he was 5 years old on his parents’ circuit in Pontoise. “I had a passion for kart racing, but never dreamed of driving in Formula 1 – it seemed so unreachable. But then, I had the opportunity to compete in a single seater racing car and I won my first Championship in France in my first year at the age of 16. After that, everything went very quickly to reach Formula 1. And now, I am a test pilot for Ferrari, and pilot for FIA Formula-E with DS Virgin Racing Team.”
After that brief and modest summary of 10 years of hard-working, competitive driving that took him from the French Formula Renault Campus to the British Formula 3 Championship that he won in 2010, from his first Formula 1 race at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July that same year driving a Red Bull RB5, to two years with Scuderia Toro Rosso from 2012-2014, we ask him why Formula-E today? “It’s the only automobile sport that is 100% electric. There is a lot of interest in it, a lot of development, we drive in major cities, and there are very good pilots, so the level of competition is very high. Many constructors are showing interest for this championship, and I think it has a great future. And I want to be in a car where I can race to win.” He tells us the qualities required to arrive at his level are “First of all, talent, then you have to work, and have a bit of luck too, be in the right place at the right time. All the risks are calculated, and from time to time, you have to disconnect from the sport and function on instinct.” The “BAD BOY” of the racing circuits concludes: “I think HYT has a great future ahead of it, and I think I have a great future in front of me with automobile sports, and I think the connection between us will continue for a long time”.
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