DRIVERS: TOMAS ENGE

Name: Tomas Enge
Nationality: Czech Republic
Date of birth: September 11, 1976 - Liberec

The son of one of Czechoslovakia's top racing drivers of the 1970s and 1980s, Enge did not see much of his father's racing because at the time only a few people could leave the country. Bretislav Enge did most of his racing in the European Touring Car Championship, initially with Skoda but later with western teams, notably Hartge.

Tomas's passion early on was ski jumping but he was not very successful. Tomas was 14 when the Czech Revolution changed everything. The Iron Curtain disappeared and Czechs could travel. For Bretislav Enge this meant that he could race at home and he started competing with Ford Escorts.

In 1991 Tomas tried karting and found that he was very quick. After that he moved into Ford Fiesta racing and satyed there for three years before trying a Formula Ford car for the first time.

Money was found for him by his manager Antonin Charouz, who had watched him in Ford Fiestas, and Tomas was able to get a drive with Eifelland Racing in the German Formula Ford championship. His team mate was Nick Heidfeld and while Heidfeld won the title Enge made a lot of mistakes and ended up third. he stayed for a second year and won the title. He then moved to Formula 3 where he was against Heidfeld's team mate, this time with Bertram Schafer Racing. After a learning year with Enge, BSR took the decision to go with Martini chassis in 1998. These did not work and in the midseason Enge decided to move to Formula 3000 with the Auto Sport Racing team. He scored a point in his fifth race.

In 1999 he signed to drive for Gabriele Rafanelli's World Racing Team but it was not aa success until the French GP where Enge was able to finish the Formula 3000 race in second place. In July that year Enge tested for the Jordan F1 team thanks to the support of Jordan sponsor Pilsner Urquell, a Czech brewery. This led to Enge being named as a Jordan test driver in 2000. He signed to race in 2000 with the McLaren-owned MySAP.com team but it was not a success except at Hockenheim where Enge won his first F3000 victory.

Switching to Coca Cola Nordic Racing in 2001 he was a frontrunner in the International Formula 3000 series, winning in Barcelona and at the Nurburgring. In September he did a deal to test for the Prost team and he made his debut at Monza after Luciano Burti was sidelined by a huge accident at Spa. Enge's F1 career was short and spectacular with several big accidents. At the end of the year he was dropped by Prost, which was struggling for money. Enge decided to go back to Formula 3000 with the Arden team and was the dominant force in the series in 2002 but lost on the title when he failed a drugs test after the Hungarian GP event. He struggled to revive his career but finished fourth in the Formula 3000 series in 2004 with the new Ma-Con team and made his debut in the Indy Racing League at the end of the season.

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