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Olivier Gendebien is dead

Brussels, October 3, 1998
 
Four wins at Le Mans on Ferrari
The Gran Premio Nuvolari
The races of the legendary Belgian

One of the most successful racing drivers ever is dead: The Belgian Olivier Gendebien died aged 74 on October 2, 1998 after suffering for a long time from a rare disease which carries his name.

Frere & Gendebien

The Belgian aristocrat had come in touch with motor racing during WW2 in Congo. Between 1955 and 1962, he was a Ferrari works driver and achieved many, many wins for the Scuderia during this period. He succeeded four times in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans: 1958, 1960, 1961 and in 1962.

To him, the most important success in his lifetime was his 3rd position in the 1957 Mille Miglia when he could keep up with the speed of the leading open sports cars in his inferior 250 GT LWB Berlinetta Scaglietti "Tour de France" and eventually even won the "Gran Premio Nuvolari", the Mille Miglia's final stage between Mantova and Brescia.
Gendebien did also participate in Formula One events and was part of the Scuderia's legendary "1-2-3-4 success" at Spa-Francorchamps in 1961 where he drove his yellow Dino 156 F1 to fourth.
Despite of his fatal illness, Gendebien remained a part of the motor racing world until recent years when he took part in the Mille Miglia Storica on the passenger's seat of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. With the passing of Olivier Gendebien, the Motorsport has lost one of its most important personalities from the era of the wooden steering wheels and wire wheels.
 

Gregor Schulz

Translation Andreas Birner

 

Date Event Ferrari S/N N Result Co-Driver(s)
1953
17-May Spa-Francorchamps 166 MM 0064M 26 1st OA  
1954
12-Apr Cannes, Soleil Rally 166 MM 0064M 800 5th CL D’Hendecourt
1955
17-Jul Aosta-Gran San Bernardo Hillclimb 500 Mondial S.II 0560MD   2nd OA/1st CL  
17-Sep Dundrod, RAC Tourist Trophy 857 Sport 0588M? 6 DNS Gregory
1956
22-Jan Buenos Aires, Argentine GP 555/D50 F/1 555-4? 38 5th OA  
29-Jan Buenos Aires, 1000 Km 857 SPORT 0578M 36 2nd OA/1st CL Hill
5-Feb Mendoza, Buenos Aires GP 555/D50 F/1 555-4? 38 6th OA  
25-Mar La Roche Hillclimb 250 Europa GT 0419GT ? 2nd CL  
8-Apr Giro di Sicilia 250 GT TdF 0503GT 254 4th OA/1st GT Washer
29-Apr Mille Miglia 250 GT TdF 0503GT 505 5th OA/1st GT Washer
27-May Nurburgring, ADAC 1000 Km 860 Monza 0628M 2 DNF-DSQ De Portago
27-May Nurburgring, ADAC 1000 Km 290 MM 0626 4 3rd OA Hill/Wharton/Portago
  *Portago/Gendebien took over the Hill/Wharton car after their car was disqualified.
10-Jun Targa Florio 860 Monza 0628M 110 3rd OA Herrmann
10-Jun Targa Florio 290 MM 0616 110 DNS* Herrmann
24-Jun Monza, Supercortemaggiore GP 500 TR ? 65 4th OA De Portago
1-Jul Reims, French GP D50 F/1 0003? 44 DNF  
8-Jul Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti 860 Monza 0628M 77 2nd OA/1st CL Washer
28-Jul Le Mans, 24 Hour 625 LM 0644MDTR 12 3rd OA/1st CL Trintignant
12-Aug Kristianstad, Swedish GP 290 MM 0616 5 DNF Collins/Manzon
2-Sep Liege-Rome-Liege Rally 250 Europa GT 0373GT 60 3rd OA Stasse
17-23 Sep Tour de France 250 Europa GT 0373GT 74 3rd OA/3rd GT Ringoir
1957
24-Feb Havana, Cuban GP 500 TR 0614MDTR 36 5th OA/2nd CL Helburn
23-Mar Sebring, FL, 12 Hour 250 GT TdF 0513GT 16 DNF Greenspun
14-Apr Giro di Sicilia 250 GT TdF 0677GT 315 1st OA Washer
12-May Mille Miglia 250 GT TdF 0677GT 417 3rd OA/1st GT Washer
26-May Nurburgring, ADAC 1000 Km 335 0700 5 2nd OA Collins
22-23 Jun Le Mans, 24 Hour 250 TR 0704 9 DNF Trintignant
3-Jul Reims, 12 Hour 250 GT TdF 0677GT 80 1st OA Frere
14-Jul Reims GP D50 F/ 0005 8 DNF  
11-Aug Kristianstad, Swedish GP 250 TR 0666 5 DNF Trintignant
25-Aug Spa-Francorchamps GP 335 Sport 0700 3 3rd OA  
15-21 Sep Tour de France 250 GT TdF 0677GT 170 1st OA Bianchi
6-Oct Montlhery, Coupes du Salon 250 GT TdF 0677GT 19 1st GT  
3-Nov Caracas, Venezuelan GP 250 TR 0704 18 4th OA Trintignant
1-Dec Bahamas/Nassau Tourist Trophy 500 TRC 0668MDTR 59 5th OA/1st CL  
6-Dec Bahamas/Governor’s Trophy I 500 TRC 0668MDTR 59 ?  
8-Dec Bahamas/Nassau Trophy 250 Mile 500 TRC 0668MDTR 59 DNF  
1958
26-Jan Buenos Aires, 1000 Km 250 TR 0716TR 6 DNF Musso
22-Mar Sebring, FL, 12 Hour 250 TR 58 0726 16 2nd OA Musso
7-Apr Pau, 3 Hour 250 GT TdF Berlinetta 0677GT 56 1st OA Bourillot
11-May Targa Florio 250 TR 58 0726 106 1st OA Musso
18-May Spa-Francorchamps GP 312 Sport 0744 9 DNF  
1-Jun Nurburgring, ADAC 1000 Km 250 TR 0746 7 3rd OA Von Trips
15-Jun Spa, Belgian GP 246 F/1 0011 20 6th OA  
21-22 Jun Le Mans, 24 Hour 250 TR 58 0728 14 1st OA Hill
5-Jul Reims 12 Hour 250 GT TdF 0677GT 64 1st OA/FL Frere
27-Jul Clermont-Ferrand, Auvergne 3 Hour 250 GT TdF 0677GT 76 4th OA/3rd GT  
31-Aug Lausanne, Ollon-Villars Hillclimb 250 GT TdF 0677GT 114 1st GT  
7-Sep Monza, Italian GP 246 F/1 0007 20 DNF  
14-21 Sep Tour de France 250 GT TdF 1033GT 164 1st OA Bianchi
19-Oct Casablanca, Moroccan GP 246 F/1 0007 2 DNF  
1959
21-Mar Sebring, FL, 12 Hour 250 TR 59 0770 8 DNF Hill
21-Mar Sebring, FL, 12 Hour 250 TR 59 0766 7 1st OA Gurney/Daigh/Hill*
  *Car started by Gurney/Daigh, taken over by Hill/Gendebien after their car failed.
3-May Montlhery, Paris GP GT 250 GT TdF 1033GT ? 1st OA  
24-May Targa Florio 250 TR 59 0766 152 DNF Hill
7-Jun Nurburgring, ADAC 1000 Km 250 TR 59 0766 4 2nd OA Hill
20-21 Jun Le Mans, 24 Hour 250 TR 59 0766 14 DNF Hill
5-Jul Reims, French GP/European GP 246 F/1 0004 22 4th OA  
5-Sep Goodwood, RAC Tourist Trophy 250 TR 59 0774 11 DNF Hill
13-Sep Monza, Italian GP 246 F/1 0011 38 6th OA  
18-25 Sep Tour de France 250 GT TdF 1523GT 163 1st OA Bianchi
1960
25-26 Jun Le Mans, 24 Hour 250 TR 59/60 0774 11 1st OA Frere
15-23 Sep Tour de France 250 GT SWB 2149GT 152 14th OA Bianchi
23-Oct Montlhery, Paris 1000 Km 250 GT SWB 2149GT 3 1st OA Bianchi
1961
25-Mar Sebring, FL, 12 Hour 250 TR 61 0792 14 1st OA Hill
30-Apr Targa Florio 246 SP0 0790 162 1st OA Von Trips/Ginther*
  *Gendebien took Ginther’s place in this car after0 Phil Hill crashed the Hill/Gendebien car on the first lap.
28-May Nurburgring, ADAC 1000 Km 246 SP 0790 4 3rd OA Ginther/Von Trips
10-11 Jun Le Mans, 24 Hour 250 TR 61 0794 10 1st OA Hill
18-Jun Spa, Belgian GP 156 F/1 0002 8 4th OA  
14-23 Sep Tour de France 250 GT SWB 2819GT 145 2nd OA Bianchi
1962
11-Feb Daytona, FL, 3 Hour 250 GT SWB 2845GT 22 DNF  
24-Mar Sebring, FL, 12 Hour 250 GTO 3387GT 24 2nd OA/1st GT Hill
6-May Targa Florio 268 SP 0802 150 DNS* Hill
  *Car crashed by Phil Hill during practice.
6-May Targa Florio 246 SP 0796 152 1st OA Mairesse/Rodriguez
27-May Nurburgring, ADAC 1000 Km 246 SP 0790 92 1st OA Hill
23-24 Jun Le Mans, 24 Hour 330 TRI/LM 0808 6 1st OA Hill
 
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