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The meningitis survivor thriving in motorsport management

Ludovic Peze came close to death when he contracted meningitis almost 10 years ago. After making a recovery and building a team and driver management agency, with his work noted by the Hamilton Commission, he now wants to raise awareness of the disease

For Ludovic Peze, November this year will serve as a solemn reminder of a time when the French-Mauritian’s life hung in the balance as it marks a decade since he contracted meningitis.

Since that uncertain time, the now 31-year-old has developed his passion for motorsport, cultivated during his time growing up in Monaco where the annual grand prix would pique his interest, into a full-time career centred around his own team and driver management agency. 

Working with some of the sport’s rising stars as part of an ever-growing portfolio, his work has also been noted by Lewis Hamilton through the seven-time Formula 1 world champion’s Hamilton Commission. But as well as raising awareness and highlighting diversity in motorsport, Peze hopes to do the same for the disease which nearly killed him with World Meningitis Day taking place on Thursday (5 October). 

“In my case, the symptoms were I didn’t feel very good, a low fever and my throat was really scratchy,” says Peze. 

“At the beginning, my doctor thought it was laryngitis, so I got a prescription to treat this but then a few days after I didn’t get better, and then I started to get a stiff neck. My neck was really stiff, like when you’re tired but really amplified and the main thing was the light sensitivity – I was literally like a vampire when someone was switching on the light! 

“I went to sleep normally and what happened after that I woke up a few days later in hospital. I found out after my mum went to see me in the morning and I didn’t respond at all, not any noise – nothing. She understood something was wrong, she called my doctor and he recognised straightaway the symptom of meningitis, so he called the emergency room.” 

These quick actions saved Peze’s life but only after he spent several days in a coma and despite it being “written in black and white” that “he could die”. The road to recovery took more than a year after he lost 20 kilos which left him physically weak, while his memory was also severely impacted. 

Ludovic Peze's work has been noted by Lewis Hamilton's Hamilton Commission

Ludovic Peze's work has been noted by Lewis Hamilton's Hamilton Commission

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“When my family came [to the hospital], I spoke a little and I recognised them, but I could not put a name [to them], not even my parents, my brother, sister, nobody,” he says. “So I understood that something went very wrong.” 

While he has made an almost complete recovery, Peze still suffers from post-traumatic stress when placed in a hospital environment from the near-death experience as well as back pain caused by medical procedures. 

But despite the gruelling rehabilitation Peze began focusing on making the most of a second chance at life, which included the business and management side of motorsport. 

“I started to think about motorsport because at that time I was doing football management with a youth team and I was thinking there’s something to be done in motorsport, particularly because I’m French and half Mauritian,” says Peze, holder of a motorsport MBA in management and leadership. 

"I think it’s good that nowadays people start to open their eyes and there are more and more people trying to change motorsport" Ludovic Peze

“I thought there’s not really many diverse people in motorsport other than Lewis Hamilton I would say at that time and I thought maybe if I’m inside on the management side I can change this and that people with talent can work in motorsport.” 

He founded the Motors Formula Team in 2014 which covers a number of areas from running the management of a team, advisory and consultancy as well as Esports. Over nearly a decade he, along with several others, has expanded the company’s portfolio and worked with several high-profile drivers, including Nissan GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough in this year’s Fuji 24 Hours, Porsche Supercup driver Dorian Boccolacci and Porsche Formula E driver Pascal Wehrlein.  

Like Peze, Wehrlein is half-Mauritian and a press tour in the country was organised by the former as the ex-F1 driver prepared to enter Formula E with Mahindra. While on the Esports side, Peze organised an expo when the all-electric championship visited Monaco to generate interest in the area. 

His work has not gone unnoticed, with Peze being named as part of the Hamilton Commission’s Accelerating Change report, which was released in 2021 and detailed how to improve the representation of black people in motorsport. 

Pascal Wehrlein is one of a number of high-profile drivers that Peze has worked with

Pascal Wehrlein is one of a number of high-profile drivers that Peze has worked with

Photo by: Uncredited

“I thought it was a joke and then a few days after I got the official emails,” admits Peze. “I was quite surprised because I still don’t know all the people that gave my name and sometimes it’s just good connections. I’m just myself and I think I’m doing my job correctly and have good relations with people and they’re passing on the word. 

He adds: “I think it’s good that nowadays people start to open their eyes and there are more and more people trying to change motorsport and not because of gender or skin colour, but because people have the talent.” 

The future focus for Peze is working within the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe series to support drivers as well as at the Monaco Historic, while a greater ambition is to have some involvement with the Le Mans 24 Hours. 

But aside from his focus on motorsport, Peze is keen to do more around meningitis knowing his experience of the disease could save someone’s life. 

“I didn’t like to talk about it [at first] because I didn’t want people having some mercy or pity for me,” admits Peze. “But then I realised that it’s impacting more and more people, youngsters or young adults like me. I was like, that’s stupid that I would not talk about it, not say what are the symptoms. 

“With meningitis in 24 hours if you don’t act you can die and that’s the danger of it, you need to quickly react, and to react you need to know about the symptoms and that’s how I got interested in spreading awareness and also change people’s mindset thinking it will only happen to babies or children.

"It saves lives at the end, it’s nothing magic, it's just passing the word around and if passing the word can save a life then I’m more than happy.”

Peze is driven by the desire to save lives by passing on information

Peze is driven by the desire to save lives by passing on information

Photo by: Uncredited

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