The Clio Cup France field is chalk-full of colourful characters. Among them are the Gentleman category drivers, who often get a late start in motor racing. Emmanuel Raffin tells us about his path to competition.

Participating in the Clio Cup with the Gilles Zaffini run Autosport GP team since 2013, Emmanuel Raffin got involved in racing at an early age…

Early start

“I started racing when I was 15”, says Emmanuel. “I got my start in motocross. Then I tried enduro before racing bikes for six years and just as many in karts. Samuel had done nearly the exact same thing. One day, I ran into a friend who was at the track with his Clio. I gave it a go and had a lot of fun. It reminded me a little about bikes, but with a lot more safety.”

Being so involved, one might ask why Emmanuel Raffin didn’t devote himself to competition. “I started working at a very young age”, he answers. “We always wanted to circuit race bikes, but work came first. And after at least a dozen broken bones on two wheels, I found it safer to race in the Clio Cup!”

When passion takes over

Now managing the family business with Samuel, Emmanuel Raffin must often jungle professional responsibilities and his passion. This choice has become easier over the years. “I have travelled a lot across France, either in a truck or in a car”, he continues. “I have an affinity for everything that runs, but when you add motor racing and the adrenaline produced in competition, obviously that is where I like to express myself!”

“Of course, you have to know how to make compromises”, he explains. “Nevertheless, I will soon be 52. We own the company and I think there could be a problem if we can’t organize our work schedule. While sometimes we have to be at the office, we take the time to set a day or two aside for the Clio Cup. It has to be fun and I’ve always had such a great time in this category that can be done with an affordable budget!”

Spirit of race

“It’s a really unique form of racing”, adds Emmanuel Raffin, currently fourth in the Gentleman classification. “We all have cars with 220 horsepower. The least thousandth of a second can be costly and we must always try to extract the maximum. This is where the Clio Cup reminds me of motocross, despite the obvious differences.“

In motor racing just like in the business world, competition is an integral aspect of the environment. We took the opportunity to conclude on the contribution of the Clio Cup France in his field. “We collect, crush and export tyres”, he explains. "It brings attention to the company. There is a share of recognition and awareness, which is always difficult to quantify. This helps us find sponsorship and meet future customers through our presence at the track. It’s never trivial!"