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BMW wins Sebring '99!

6/17/2022, 1:16:25 PM cet

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Sebring, March 20, 1999

Ferrari defeat in the legendary 12 Hours Race
Fangio II walking in uncle Juan Manuel’s footprints
The new works cars are dominant
Broken gearbox for the successful Doran Racing Team
Early drop-out for Doyle-Risi

Ferrari defeat in the legendary 12 Hours Race
After the various Ferrari-teams had been so successful in American motor racing during the past years, they suffered a defeat on March 20, 1999 when only one of the five 333 SPs which had been entered in the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring finished the race. The 333 SP s/n 018 of Doyle-Risi Racing finished 6th, missing 19 laps on the winning BMW V12 LMR. The Ferrari – driven by Alex Caffi, Wayne Taylor and Juan Manuel Fangio II. - had had to fight several problems, including a flat tire. During the race, the car had once even been on 3rd position.

Fangio II walking in uncle Juan Manuel’s footprints
Juan Manuel Fangio II, the nephew of the five times Argentine Formula One World Champion, was very happy about the fact that they finally made it to the finishing line. Fangio, aged 42, had ended his racing career - which includes several IMSA championship titles with Toyota and a Champ-Car entry for Dan Gurney in 1998 – last year, but he could not stand the temptation when Doyle-Risi Racing asked him to join the team. Up to that time, he had never raced a Ferrari in which his legendary uncle had become Formula One World Champion in 1956. In the same year, his uncle had won the 12 Hours of Sebring as well in a Ferrari (one of a total of twelve wins for Ferrari in the famous American race). However, after this year’s 12 Hours of Sebring, Juan Manuel Fangio II’s career will be definitely over; a possible entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans was botched because Doyle-Risi Racing failed to enlist at the ACO for the event in time!

By the way: The Ferrari of Taylor/Caffi/Fangio II with race number 12 was the only car except the works BMWs which made it to the top of the score board during the event: In the third open practice session, one of the three pilots set a lap of 1:54,212 on the 5,95 kms long track in Central Florida. Okay, one should provide the background information to this humble success as well: The BMW did not take part in this very session...

The new works cars are dominant
While the Ferrari and the Riley & Scott had been dominant in January during the 24 Hours of Daytona, it quickly became obvious that the aged machinery will have no chance against the works cars of BMW and Audi which had their debuts in the 12 Hours of Sebring; the Ferrari were missing up to four seconds per lap to the German high-tech products.

Mauro Baldi, who shared Doran Racing’s 333 SP s/n 026 with Didier Theys and Fredy Lienhard, said that one really feels the 333 SP’s age; the advantage of the five years old car was its reliability. Unfortunately one had not been able to profit from this advantage at Sebring.

Broken gearbox for the successful Doran Racing Team
Bad luck for Doran Racing who had been victorious at Sebring last year together with their main sponsor Giampiero Moretti (MOMO), despite of the fact that the hard concrete surface of the airfield is everything but optimal for the Ferrari.
Both cars of Lienhard/Theys/Baldi (r#27, s/n 025) and Matthews/Kendall/Dismore (r#36, s/n 026) dropped out within a very short time in the fifth and sixth hour and were eventually listed on 44th and 45th position. Gearbox problems had forced the two 333 SPs of the 1999 evolution to give up.

Early drop-out for Doyle-Risi
Except the fact that one of their cars made it to the finish, the Doyle-Risi Team was hit by a similar fate: Their 333 SP s/n 017, painted in the green color of the Italo-American chain of restaurants named "Olive Garden", was the very first car to give up the race. The Ferrari, which had been meant to be driven by Max Angelelli, Didier de Radigues and Anthony Lazzaro, only spent 56:24,013 minutes on the track prior to pulling into the pits in clouds of smoke.

And what happened to the fifth Ferrari which had set out to face the hardest race of the world? The elderly 333 SP s/n 004 of Dollahite Racing, driven by Bill Dollahite himself, Doc Bundy and Mike Davies, dropped out in the fourth hour, heavily smoking likewise as Doyle-Risi’s s/n 017.

Text and Pictures Gregor Schulz
Translation Andreas Birner


1. (1) J.J. Lehto, Tom Kristensen, Jorg Muller, Germany

BMW V12 LMR 313 laps. r#42

2. (4) Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, James Weaver

Riley & Scott Mark III Ford 313 laps. r#20

3. (12) Michele Alboreto, Renaldo Capello, Stefan Johansson

Audi R8R 310 laps. r#77

4. (18) Thierry Boutsen, Bob Wollek, Dirk Muller

Porsche 911 GT1 EVO 308 laps. r#38

5. (11) Emanuelle Pirro, Frank Biela, Perry McCarthy

Audi R8R 304 laps. r#78

6. (6) Alex Caffi,

Wayne Taylor, Juan Fangio II Ferrari 333 SP 294 laps. r#12 s/n 018

44. (14) Jim Matthews, Mark Dismore, Tom Kendall

Ferrari 333 SP 118 laps. r#36 s/n 026

45. (10) Fredy Lienhard, Didier Theys, Mauro Baldi, Monaco

Ferrari 333 SP 107 laps. r#27 s/n 025

49. (25) Bill Dollahite, Mike Davies, Doc Bundy

Ferrari 333 SP 84 laps. r#18 s/n 004

58. (7) Massimo Angelelli, Didier de Radigues, Anthony Lazzaro

Ferrari 333 SP 28 laps. r#11 s/n 017
Fredy Lienhard exits the pits in his Doran/Lista 333 SP s/n 025.
The Dollahite Racing 333 SP s/n 004 before qualifying.
The #38 Champion Porsche 911 GT1 Evo driven by Boutsen/Wollek/Muller slowing forthe Hairpin during the eleventh hour of the race.  It finished 4th overall between the two Audi R8Rs.
Audi-Sportchef Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich in der Startaufstellung
Der Schein trügt, denn nicht die beiden BMW, sondern der R & S vom Team Rafanelli führt und ist schon aus dem Bild heraus
BMW wins Sebring '99!
Der siegreiche BMW V12 LMR s/n 002/99 (Williams-G Force)von Tom Kristensen, JJ Lehto und Jörg Müller
Der Schein trügt, denn nicht die beiden BMW, sondern der R & S vom Team Rafanelli führt und ist schon aus dem Bild heraus
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