Spa-Francorchamps, May 1-3, 1998
weather in Spa-Francorchamps
Shell Historical Challenge
Challenge "Europe West"
else could be seen?
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.
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, organizer Jean Sage had managed
to gather not less than 37 rare historic Ferrari
race-cars at Francorchamps.
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 complete.
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.
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.
Meissner, boss of "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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Hamburg.
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.
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.
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 competition model.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 Vanneste).
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.
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
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.
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
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 Swaters.
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 perfect.