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The 24 Hours of Le Mans 1998

Le Mans, June 7, 1998

A 1st in class for Ferrari
Number 3
Number 5
Number 10
Number 12


Up to now, Ferrari gained nine overall wins in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, the last one back in 1965. In 1998, one was at last reminded of Ferrari's great tradition in the world’s most famous endurance race because of the class win of the F333 SP of Wayne Taylor, Eric van der Poele and Fermin Velez in the LMP-category (the class for Le Mans prototypes). Their overall ranking is the 8th position, just 19 laps were missing on the winning Porsche 911GT1 198.

333 Sp s/n 018 LeMans98-001

Four 333 SPs had started on Saturday at 2 o'clock in the afternoon; two of them could eventually stand the tough race.

What did happen to the individual teams?

Number 3 - Momo Racing Return, to top of Page

The favorite among the Ferrari had been Giampiero Moretti's car after the team had already been victorious at Daytona and Sebring. Moretti did again team up with Didier Theys and Mauro Baldi.

Having started from the 17th position, they had reached rank 14 after four hours and later even the 11th position, but various minor problems occurred later in the race and eventually the Momo team ended up on the 14th overall position (3rd in the LMP-category) again. When they crossed the finishing line, 40 laps were missing on the winning Porsche.

333 SP s/n 019 LeMans98-010
333 SP s/n 019 LeMans98-007333 SP s/n 019 LeMans98-011

Number 5 - J B Racing Return, to top of Page

The Ferrari of J B Racing had started from the 17th position and was piloted by the former Formula 1 pilots Vincenzo Sospiri and Jean-Christophe Bouillon plus Jerome Policand. The Italian-French team suffered the most common fate at Le Mans: DNF due to a broken gearbox. When they dropped out of the race, their 9th position had been the best one among the competing Ferrari.

333 SP s/n 022 LeMans98-014333 SP s/n 022  LeMans98-016
333 SP s/n 022  LeMans98-025

Number 10 - Pilot Racing Return, to top of Page

Another French 333 SP was the car of Pilot Racing. Team boss Michel Ferté shared the wheel with Pascal Fabre and Francois Migault. They eventually dropped out in the 17th hour, after the Ferrari had already fought against various problems and was running on 20th position. The Pilot Racing car, too, ended up with a damaged gearbox. This 333 SP was the only competing car of the first production series which had been made by Dallara. The remaining three 333 SPs at Le Mans were examples out of the 2nd series built by Michelotto in winter of 1997/1998.

Pilot Team - LeMans98-023
333 SP s/n 005 LeMans98-019333 SP s/n 005  LeMans98-020

Number 12 - Doyle-Risi Racing Team Return, to top of Page

As already mentioned, the American Doyle-Risi Racing Team took the 1st in class in the LMP-category, plus an 8th OA. This 333 SP had been piloted by Wayne Taylor, Eric van der Poele and Fermin Velez. Despite of the class win, the team was not completely satisfied and claimed that the LMP-category was disadvantaged compared to the GT1-category.

The only problem that caused some trouble to the Ferrari with race number 12 was a lost wheel.

333 Sp s/n 018 LeMans98-003333 Sp s/n 018  LeMans98-005


1st: 26 GT1 McNish/Aiello/Ortelli Porsche GT1 98 24:00,0.00 351 laps
2nd: 25 GT1 Muller/Alzen/Wollek Porsche GT1 98 -1 lap
3rd: 32 GT1 Hoshino/Suzuki/Kageyama Nissan R390 GT1 -4 laps
4th: 40 GT1 O'Rourke/Sugden/Auberlen McLaren F1 GTR -8 laps
5th: 30 GT1 Nielsen/Lagorce/Krumm Nissan R390 GT1 -9 laps
6th: 31 GT1 Comas/Lammers/Montermini Nissan R390 GT1 -9 laps
7th: 45 GT1 Brabham/Wallace/Davies Panoz GT-R1 -16 laps
8th: 12 PRO Taylor/van der Poele/Velez Ferrari 333 SP -19 laps
9th: 27 GT1 Katayama/Suzuki/Tsuchiya Toyota GT-One -25 laps
10th: 33 GT1 Kurosawa/Motoyama/Kageyama Nissan R390 GT1 -32 laps
11th: 53 GT2 Bell/Donahue/Drudi Chrysler Viper -34 laps
12th: 16 PRO Agusta/Coppelli/Pompidou Kremer K8/2 -37 laps
13th: 51 GT2 Beretta/Lamy/Archer Chrysler Viper -39 laps
14th: 03 PRO Moretti/Theys/Baldi Ferrari 333 SP -40 laps
DNF: 10 PRO Ferté/Fabre/Migault Ferrari 333 SP 203 laps/gearbox
DNF: 05 PRO Sospiri/Boullion/Policand Ferrari 333 SP 187 laps/gearbox

Text Gregor Schulz
Translation Andreas Birner
Photos Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

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