Bennani at the 2014 FIA WTCC Race of Belgium.
August 25, 1983 |
|World Touring Car Championship career|
|Current team||Sébastien Loeb Racing|
|Former teams||Proteam Racing
|Best finish||10th in 2012|
|Formula Le Mans
Italian Formula 3000
Formula Renault 3.5 Series
Formula BMW Asia
He became the first Moroccan driver to win a race world championship organized by the FIA, the after his victory in Shanghai, WTCC .
Like most racing drivers, Bennani started out in karting, winning his national championship in 2001. He finished as runner-up in the European Karting Championship in the 100 ICA class. He also won the Moroccan Fiat Palio Trophy in 2001. He moved into single-seaters and was runner-up in Formula BMW Asia in 2004. He moved to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2005 with the Avalon Formula team, racing against the likes of Robert Kubica and Will Power. He also competed for EuroInternational in 2006, but failed to score a point in his time in the series. He competed in Euroseries 3000 in 2007 , finished 14th at the final standings and scored a best result of fourth. In 2008 he competed in the Pau Historical Grand Prix, where he finished second.
World Touring Car Championship
Exagon Engineering (2009)
In May 2009 Bennani competed in his home round of the World Touring Car Championship, the Race of Morocco at the Marrakech Street Circuit in a SEAT León 2.0 TFSI prepared by Exagon Engineering. He was backed by OMNT, Morocco's Tourism Office. He became the first North African to race in the WTCC, on the series' first visit to the African continent. He qualified in 14th place for the first race, and finished in 9th place, winner of the Independents category. He finished ninth in the second race, and impressed throughout the weekend with the way he was able to keep up with WTCC regulars. He competed at four further race weekends for Exagon. At the Race of Portugal he collided with the stranded car of Alain Menu on the narrow street circuit, he was later disqualified from the final classification.
Proteam Racing (2011–)
Bennani stayed on at Proteam for 2012. He was joined at the team by Isaac Tutumlu until he left after the Race of Slovakia, reducing the team to one car for Bennani. He took a career best fourth-place finish in race one at the Race of Hungary. He bettered this with his maiden podium finish in race two having finished in third place. A collision with Stefano D'Aste at the Race of Portugal earned him a suspended grid penalty. He started second for race two of the Race of the United States and inherited the lead from D'Aste half way around the first lap when D'Aste spun off. He held the lead until lap four when he spun off and damaged his car, forcing him to retire and the lead passed to Franz Engstler. Race one of the Race of Japan saw Aleksei Dudukalo collide with Bennani who then returned to the pits for repairs. The second race was better and Bennani held off the Chevrolet trio for much of the race before passing him in the lap two laps. He was caught up in a first corner crash in race one of the Race of Macau in which a number of cars piled into the Lisboa corner on the first lap and blocked the track. Bennani's car was stuck across the track and was lifted out of the way before the race resumed. He finished the season tenth in the drivers' championship tied on points with Alex MacDowall but ranked ahead due to his podium in Hungary.
Bennani stayed with Proteam for the 2013 season, driving their BMW 320 TC for the third consecutive year., mehdi finished 12th ,4th independant and the 2th BMW in the championship with Three podiums (2nd Suzuka ,Sonoma and Hungaroring) . After a difficult season with unlucky mechanic , and bad car , mehdi deleced the BMW for a Honda civic
In 2014 Bennani scored his first WTCC win at the championship's Shanghai round. Bennani went on to finish the season in 11th place.
For the season 2015 , Bennani signed for sebastian loeb racing team with a 2014 citroen car , and will the first driver for the team in World touring car championship
Complete World Touring Car Championship results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
* Season in progress.
† Driver did not finish the race, but was classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.
- Meissner, Johan. "Mehdi Bennani joins Exagon at Marrakech". TouringCarTimes. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Auger, Matt. "Bennani Joins Weichers-Sport". The Checkered Flag. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Casillo, Pietro. "Mehdi Bennani joins Proteam Motorsport". TouringCarTimes. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Courtoisier, Arnaud. "Mehdi Bennani to stay with Proteam". Nextgen-Auto. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Hudson, Neil. "Isaac Tutumlu leaves Proteam Racing". TouringCarTimes. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Allen, Peter. "Local Hero Michelisz Thrills Hungarian Crowd With Race 2 Victory". The Checkered Flag. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "PROTEAM AND BENNANI TOGETHER AGAIN". World Touring Car Championship (Kigema Sport Organisation). 17 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- Mills, Peter (12 October 2014). "Shanghai WTCC: Mehdi Bennani scores Honda's first 2014 win". autosport.com. Retrieved 16 October 2014.