Spa-Francorchamps, May 1-3, 1998
Bad weather in Spa-Francorchamps
An interesting programme
Ferrari Shell Historical Challenge
F355 Challenge "Europe West"
Ferrari Class B
What else could be seen?
Bad weather in Spa-Francorchamps
Although the 1998 Spa Ferrari Days were plagued by heavy rain, several hundred
Ferrari had come to the beautiful circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes in
eastern Belgium. Only Friday and Sunday afternoon saw some dry although
never sunny spells, the weekend's overall weather was cold and rainy. But since
these conditions are somehow typical for these mountains, they were possibly
just right to create an adequate atmosphere.
An interesting programme
Going through the event's schedule, it became obvious that the Ferrari Shell
Historical Challenge was definitely the highlight of the weekend. Although some
of the Ferraristi who had previously announced their participation in the
Challenge could eventually not make it to the event for various reasons, the
organizer had managed to gather not less than 37 rare historic Ferrari race-cars
Other categories included the Western European series of the F355 Challenge
and two Ferrari-sections called "Ferrari Class A" for gentleman drivers and their
totally stock Ferrari street-cars and "Ferrari Class B" for race prepared Ferrari
cars. Various Belgian touring car series made the weekend's programme
Furthermore, some areas in the large paddock had been reserved as parking
areas for "normal" Ferraristi who did not participate in any of the races, but did
just attend on the Ferrari Days as spectators and visitors.
Ferrari Shell Historical Challenge with 37 cars on the grid
The factory-organized Ferrari Shell Historical Challenge keeps growing. The
turnout of contestants was tremendous, and there were again some "new" cars
to be seen at Spa which had not been seen in any of the 1997 events, or which
were seen at least very rarely. At Spa, there was a large tent in the paddock to
house all the cars of the Historical Challenge.
"Modena Motorsport Ltd.", a leading independent German Ferrari dealership and
restoration shop, had brought his recently acquired 312 PB s/n 0886. Jacky Ickx
had been recruited as a celebrity driver for this car, which was quite special since
he used to be the director of this particular circuit years ago. And driving s/n 0886
did very probably remind him of the successful times he had with these cars in
the early 1970's, although he did never pilot s/n 0886 in particular.
Peter Gläsel had brought another 312 PB, s/n 0882, to be driven in the Challenge
by his son Christian. Unfortunately, the Ferrari-collector did not yet have wet-tires
for this car. Due to the bad weather conditions, Christian Gläsel could eventually
only move the car properly during the practice on Friday, which was dominated by
him. On the two following days, he decided to leave the car in the pits.
Ferrari-collector Ed Davies from Florida made use of his 512 M s/n 1024, while
his wife Leslie drove the 250 GTO '62 #3705GT. The couple is also active in the
American Ferrari Shell Historical Challenge which is organized by Ferrari of North
America in the USA for the first time this year.
Mario Bernardi, a specialist dealer for historic cars of Hannovers Münden in
Germany, showed up in his newly aquired 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione s/n
12547 for the first time. This car was the first Competition Daytona ever, built from
a stock 365 GTB/4 on behalf from Luigi Chinetti who later campaigned the car
with his NART, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1969. In recent years, this
car had been owned by "Pink Floyd" drummer Nick Mason.
Max Lustenberger from Switzerland brought his dark burgundy 365 GTB/4
Daytona Competizione s/n 13855 which is a former Chinetti car as well. It was
5th in class in the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours. Also from Switzerland: Nicolas Bührer
and his 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione s/n 15225.
Bernie Carl from the USA campaigned his dramatic Dino 268 SP s/n 0798. The
car was driven by the well-known classic car dealer Gregor Fisken from London.
Seen in the Historical Challenge for the first time, too, was the Dino 246 S Spider
Fantuzzi s/n 0784. Formerly owned by "Pink Floyd" manager Steve O'Rourke, it is
now owned by Harry Leventis. The collector from England again handed over his
car to the professional driver Peter Hardman, who had already driven Leventis'
330 LMB in the Challenge in 1997.
Modena Motorsport were present not only with the above mentioned 312 PB, but
also with a 250 GT LWB Berlinetta Scaglietti "Tour de France" (s/n 1037GT) and
the one-off 250 Europa GT Berlinetta Competizione Speciale Pinin Farina s/n
0403GT. The latter carries a wonderful and unique body which combines the front
design of the early 250 Europa GTs with a finned tail end that is nearly identical to
the one found on the famous "Ingrid Bergman" 375 MM Berlinetta s/n 0456AM.
S/n 0403GT was driven by Uwe Meissner himself in qualifying on Saturday, but
unfortunately suffered some technical problems since it had not been moved for
many years. S/n 1037GT was piloted by fellow car dealer Axel Urban from
Another 250 GT LWB Berlinetta "Tour de France" not previously seen in the
Challenge had been brought to Belgium from Switzerland: s/n 0909GT, owned by
Carlo Vögele. This car is painted in red with a white stripe, the Swiss racing
colours. This is a reminiscence to 0909GT's early history when it was raced in
many events in Switzerland by its first owner, the Swiss privateer Willy Lambert.
Carlos Monteverde, the well-known London-resident Brazilian collector,
personally piloted his 250 TR Spider Scaglietti s/n 0738TR, while he had handed
over his 750 Monza s/n 0552M to a friend of his, Antonio Amaddeo. A third car out
of his large collection was the 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione s/n 15667,
which was piloted during the weekend by David Franklin.
Also a novelty in the Ferrari Shell Historical Challenge: For the first time, a normal
street model with a racing pedigree had been admitted to the series. Jean
Guikas, a classic car dealer from Marseille/France, drove a stock 275 GTB/2
Shortnose, s/n 07765. This car had been raced in several events in the
mid-1960's. Jean Sage decides whether or not a car is "worthy" of being entered
in the Historical Challenge if it does have a racing pedigree although it is not a
There were too many cars in the Historical Challenge to be mentioned
separately, so please study the list of the participating cars to find all of them.
The two races on Saturday evening and Sunday morning were naturally
dominated by Jacky Ickx in the 312 PB. The Belgian racer with residence in
Monaco achieved a top average speed of 146.471 km/h and needed 2:51.655
minutes to complete a lap on the difficult and wet track.
The Stieger brothers from Switzerland were as close to him as non-professional
drivers could be; Christoph in the 312 PB s/n 0888 became 3rd on Saturday and
2nd on Sunday, while Patrick drove the 512 M s/n 1018 to second on Saturday.
On Sunday, he suffered a technical problem in the final lap and so Tommy
Brorsson snatched the third position on the podium. The man from Sweden
drove Claes Jung's Dino 206 SP, s/n 016. In free practice on Friday, Christian
Gläsel had even been faster in his 312 PB than Ickx, but as already mentioned
above, the young German could eventually not start in the races. On Saturday, he
did just one lap with the slick-equipped car before returning to the pits since the
risk of a crash on the wet surface was too high.
Since the Historical Challenge is divided into eight classes, not only the overall
winners should be mentioned. For example, it is quite remarkable that another
newcomer to the Challenge, Nicolas Springer, did perform excellently in his 250
GTO '62 s/n 4153GT. In "Class 5" for disk-braked GT-cars of the 1960's, he
became 2nd on Saturday and 1st on Sunday. "Class 4" for cars with drum-brakes
of the 1950's was dominated by Paolo Bozzetto driving Pietro Brigato's 250 TR
Spider Scaglietti s/n 0758TR, followed by Carlos Monteverde.
Bernd Hahne, a semi-professional driver from Germany, performed outstandingly
in his 166 MM/53 s/n 0264M: His best average speed was 117.150 km/h - this
means that he was faster than several of the younger 250 GT TdFs, a 500 TRC
and a 750 Monza, but it has to be considered that the engine of his car was
upgraded to 3-litre spec's!
Some accidents again proved that the Historical Challenge is not a
"Sunday-afternoon-outing" for hobby drivers, but a real historic racing series: On
Saturday, Nicolas Bührer hit the passenger's side of Bart Rosman's 250 GT SWB
Berlinetta Competizione s/n 2179GT when he tried to overtake in a turn, badly
damaging the body.
Paolo Bozzetto bumped into the tail of Mario Bernardi's Competition Daytona,
damaging the 250 TR's right front. Plinio Haas' 250 GT TdF (s/n 1401GT) lost a
wheel and Christoph Stieger hit the curbs with the 312 PB's front spoiler, slightly
damaging it. On Sunday, Mario Bernardi spun in the Daytona on lost oil and
touched a barrier - s/n 12547 is now in need of new headlights and bumpers. Up
to that point, the German did perform very well in his first race in this car.
Several participants suffered technical trouble and mishaps which sometimes
forced them to give up. Max Lustenberger's Daytona was left in the paddock on
Saturday and Sunday after water had somehow made its way into the car's oil,
and Nicolas Zapata's 625 TR (s/n 0612MDTR) was not seen in the heat on
Sunday due to engine trouble.
However, the Ferrari Shell Historical Challenge brought both interesting cars and
interesting motor racing to Spa-Francorchamps, and this first event in 1998 did
definitely generate an appetite for more.
F355 Challenge "Europe West"
The section of the world-wide F355 Challenge consists of drivers from the UK,
France and Belgium, plus pilots from Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Denmark and Maroc. The top drivers in this series are François Jakubowski from
France and J.-C. Pillon from Switzerland; they did dominate both the training
sessions and the two heats on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, Jakubowski
took the win, followed by Pillon and Massimo Manganaro from France. Due to
technical problems, Jakubowski was a non-starter on Sunday. Pillon came in on
first and was joined on the podium by Christophe d'Ansembourg from Belgium
and Sean Walker from England.
Ferrari Class B
This class is particularly interesting because it consists of very different Ferrari
cars, ranging from a modified 365 GTB/4 Daytona (s/n 14321, owned by Richard
Chester from England) to a genuine F40 LM (s/n 88520, driven by Belgian Michel
The class is divided into several groups, named "V8", "V12/B12" and "Proto". The
most spectacular cars are gathered in the latter group, since it is intended for
heavily modified Ferrari cars, ranging from a 348 GT Competizione to several
F40s. These F40s were modified to the so-called "GTE" specifications, similar to
the F40s which were campaigned in the BPR series; they feature modified
engines and dramatic changes on their bodies, most of them looking like F40
LMs with a large adjustable rearwing etc. Dick Waaijenberg and Michel Oprey,
both from the Netherlands, were dominant in their modified F40s on Saturday,
followed by Peter Andersen from Denmark in his 348 GT Competizione and
Roberto Vaglietti in the one-off 348 tbf, a competition version built for Garage
Francorchamps and Jean Blaton in the early 1990's.
On Sunday, Michel Vanneste from Belgium took the win in the F40 LM s/n 88520,
followed by Michel Oprey and Dick Waaijenberg. The day before, Vanneste had
dropped out after just one lap with mechanical problems.
What else could be seen?
Due to the bad weather, there were not too many special Ferrari to be seen in the
parking areas. The Belgian Ferrari-importer Jacques Swaters drove his 166 MM
Barchetta Touring s/n 0064M during a parade on Sunday. This parade made it
possible for some selected Ferrari-owners to absolve some slow laps in their
cars on the circuit. During a similar session on Saturday, a Belgian F50 had been
crashed very heavily in the Eau Rouge turn when the driver lost control, spun off
the track and crashed the car's tail into the barrier.
In the parking lot, one could see a silvergrey 250 GTE s/n 4823GT, several 365
GTB/4 Daytona and a 365 GTC/4 s/n 14493, Jacques Marcotty. Other interesting
cars included the 275 GTB/2 Longnose s/n 08259 of Maurice Harlaux and the
288 GTO s/n 53779 of Christian Clerico. Modena Motorsport had a 1954 625
Formula 1 s/n 0540 on display in their tent.
Carlo Tazzioli was the representative of Ferrari SpA during the event, and Stewart
Winston of Ferrari's UK-importer Maranello Concessionaires Ltd. was present as
well. Maranello Concessionaires, an Inchcape subsidiary, recently took over the
Garage Francorchamps, importer for Belgium and Luxembourg, from Jacques
Despite of the poor weather conditions, many spectators at come to the track,
especially on Sunday. About 200 Ferrari could be seen in the parking areas. So,
the 1998 Spa Ferrari Days were obviously quite a success, and they will take
place next year again. Hopefully, the weather will be better then to make them