Following his Formula 3 days, Duval went on to race in Japan for nearly a decade. As well as in single-seater racing, he was active in the Super GT Championship there, which he won in 2010. “I drove cars there that were similar to the ones in the DTM, so I immediately felt comfortable in my first test in the Audi RS 5 DTM at Jerez. Besides that, this is not the worst point in time for switching to the DTM. In 2017, there’ll be changes in aerodynamics, engine power and tires. Plus, the tires can no longer be preheated. All these things mean that even seasoned campaigners have to make some adjustments, it may be easier for me to reach the same level.”
His goal for his first DTM year: “I’d like to have a lot of fun because that’s when the results are good too. The faster I adjust to the DTM the sooner good results can be expected. I’d like to mount the podium in the 2017 season. I know that in Audi Sport Team Phoenix I can rely on the backing of a strong team. After all, it’s the team that clinched the last two titles for Audi.”
Alongside the DTM, Duval will continue to contest the FIA Formula E electric racing series. “In case of overlapping events, the DTM will clearly take priority,” says the Frenchman who was born in Chartres, 130 kilometers northeast of Le Mans, and lived in Tokyo for a long time. Today, the DTM newcomer lives in Nyon on Lake Geneva in Switzerland together with his wife, Gaëlle, and their two sons, Hugo and Martin. Parked in the family’s garage used to be an Audi RS 6 Avant that in 2017 will be replaced by an Audi SQ7. “A perfect family car,” Duval enthuses.
Besides racing, soccer is one of the Frenchman’s passions. Be it at official PR events, games with celebrity teams or simply in his private surroundings – Duval is an avid kicker and has been a supporter of Audi’s partner FC Bayern München ever since his childhood days. “I love tennis as well. I’m generally a big sports fan and enjoy watching many sporting events on television. At the beginning of the year, I had the opportunity to watch the Hahnenkamm ski race on-site in Kitzbühel. That was a great experience too.”
Duval personally stays fit primarily by cycling and swimming. He is into hoverboarding and has been working out with a private fitness coach since last winter. For the DTM, he selected 77 as his car number, another parallel to Mike Rockenfeller who drives car number 99. “I’ve had a 7 on several occasions in my career. But it was no longer available in the DTM, so I thought that maybe a double 7 will bring me a double dose of fortune ...”