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1998 Petit Le Mans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1998 Petit Le Mans was the seventh race for the 1998 IMSA GT Championship season, then known as the Professional SportsCar Racing series. It also served as a prelude to the first American Le Mans Series race held at Sebring in 1999. Don Panoz's American Le Mans Series was developed with the backing of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), the ruling body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It took place on October 11, 1998.

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Following the demise of the World Sportscar Championship in 1992, sportscar racing was left without a major worldwide series in which to compete. The 24 Hours of Le Mans remained a remnant, still competed by a large number of sportscars, but mostly on a single race basis. Various sportscar leagues had sprung up since the WSC's demise, including the International Motor Sports Association's replacement for their Camel GTP series, the Prototype SportsCar Racing series. In Europe, two series were also developed, the FIA Sportscar Championship and the FIA GT Championship, although they were not combined like IMSA's series.

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest, wanting to create a new worldwide series, made an agreement with Don Panoz, owner of the Road Atlanta racing course. The ACO would agree to lend the Le Mans name out to Panoz for the creation of an event called the Petit Le Mans (French for little Le Mans). The race would be similar to the 12 Hours of Sebring, in that it did not run a full 24 hours like Le Mans. Instead, the race would be 10 hours or 1,000 miles (1,600 km), whichever came first. The series would become an experiment for the ACO, in which if enough teams showed interest in Petit Le Mans, the ACO would look into developing a series around the same formula. In order to help drive interest, the ACO promised that the winners of Petit Le Mans would earn automatic invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans without having to apply or earn favor with the ACO. This custom continues to be utilized in the Petit Le Mans, despite American Le Mans Series champions also receiving invites.

IMSA, which normally ran at Road Atlanta during their seasons, agreed to allow a joint race for their series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans competitors. However, each series ran slightly different formulas for their competitors, thus forcing the organizers to create seven different classes. LMP1, LMGT1, and LMGT2 for the ACO compliant cars, and WSC, GT1, GT2, and GT3 for IMSA's competitors. Even though both organizers used the GT1 and GT2 names the classes were not actually the same, which is why the ACO classes are preceded by LM.

Official results

Class winners in bold.

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps
1 LMP1 7 United States Doyle-Risi Racing Belgium Eric van de Poele
South Africa Wayne Taylor
France Emmanuel Collard
Ferrari 333 SP P 391
Ferrari F310E 4.0 L V12
2 LMP1 77 Germany Porsche AG
Germany Joest Racing
Italy Michele Alboreto
Sweden Stefan Johansson
Germany Jörg Müller
Porsche LMP1-98 M 391
Porsche Type-935 3.2 L Turbo Flat-6
3 LMGT1 38 United States Champion Motors Belgium Thierry Boutsen
France Bob Wollek
Germany Ralf Kelleners
Porsche 911 GT1 Evo M 381
Porsche 3.2 L Turbo Flat-6
4 WSC 8 United States Transatlantic Racing Services United States Butch Leitzinger
United States Scott Schubot
United States Henry Camferdam
Riley & Scott Mk III D 378
Ford 5.0 L V8
5 WSC 88 United States Dollahite Racing United States Bill Dollahite
United States Mike Davies
United States Anthony Lazzaro
Ferrari 333 SP Y 365
Ferrari F310E 4.0 L V12
6 LMP1 63 Japan AutoExe Motorsports
United States Downing Atlanta
Japan Yojiro Terada
United States Jim Downing
United States Howard Katz
AutoExe (Kudzu) AE99 G 349
Mazda 2.6 L 4-Rotor
7 LMGT2 81 Germany Freisinger Motorsport France Michel Ligonnet
United States Lance Stewart
Porsche 911 GT2 P 337
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
8 GT1 4 United States Panoz Motorsports United States Scott Pruett
France Éric Bernard
United Kingdom Andy Wallace
Australia David Brabham
Panoz Esperante GTR-1 M 335
Ford (Roush) 6.0 L V8
9 GT3 76 United States Team A.R.E. United States Peter Argetsinger
United States Richard Polidori
Italy Angelo Cilli
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Y 335
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
10 GT3 6 United States Prototype Technology Group Canada Ross Bentley
United States Darren Law
United States Jeff Schafer
Australia David Besnard
BMW M3 Y 328
BMW 3.2 L I6
11 LMGT2 72 Germany Konrad Motorsport Austria Franz Konrad
Netherlands Jan Lammers
Porsche 911 GT2 D 322
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
12 LMGT1 07 United States Panoz Motorsports United States Doc Bundy
Denmark John Nielsen
France Christophe Tinseau
Panoz Esperante GTR-1 Q9 M 317
Ford (Roush) 6.0 L V8
Zytek Hybrid Electric
13 GT2 04 United States CJ Motorsport United States John Morton
Canada Ron Fellows
Canada John Graham
Porsche 911 GT2 P 311
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
14 LMGT2 00 France Larbre Compétition France Patrice Goueslard
France Stéphane Ortelli
France Jack Leconte
Porsche 911 GT2 M 311
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
15 GT2 75 United States Pettit Racing United States Cameron Worth
United States Scott Sansone
Mazda RX-7 ? 294
Mazda 2.0 L 3-Rotor
16 GT3 1 United States Prototype Technology Group United States Peter Cunningham
United States Brian Simo
United States Terry Borcheller
Costa Rica Javier Quiros
BMW M3 Y 289
BMW 3.2 L I6
GT3 10 United States Prototype Technology Group United States Bill Auberlen
United States Mark Simo
United Kingdom Andy Pilgrim
BMW M3 Y 281
BMW 3.2 L I6
WSC 39 United States Matthews-Colucci Racing United States David Murry
United States Jim Matthews
United States Hurley Haywood
Riley & Scott Mk III P 273
Ford 5.0 L V8
19 GT3 86 United States G&W Motorsport United States Steve Marshall
United States Danny Marshall
Canada Sylvain Tremblay
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR ? 271
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
LMGT1 26 Germany Porsche AG United Kingdom Allan McNish
Germany Uwe Alzen
France Yannick Dalmas
Porsche 911 GT1-98 M 235
Porsche 3.2 L Turbo Flat-6
WSC 28 United States Intersport Racing United States Jon Field
United States Jeret Schroeder
United States Joaquin DeSoto
United States John Mirro
Riley & Scott Mk III G 229
Ford 5.0 L V8
LMGT2 73 Germany Konrad Motorsport Italy Angelo Zadra
United States Peter Kitchak
United States Charles Slater
Porsche 911 GT2 D 157
Porsche 3.6 L Turbo Flat-6
GT3 12 United States T.C. Kline United States Randy Pobst
United States Pete Halsmer
United States Shane Lewis
BMW M3 ? 96
BMW 3.2 L I6
GT3 96 Ecuador Team Ecuador Ecuador Henry Taleb
Ecuador Xavier Collado
New Zealand Rob Wilson
Nissan 240SX Y 63
Nissan 2.4 L I4
WSC 27 United States Doran Enterprises Belgium Didier Theys
Switzerland Fredy Lienhard
Italy Mauro Baldi
Ferrari 333 SP Y 59
Ferrari F310E 4.0 L V12
GT2 68 United States Charles Coker Jr. United States Charles Coker Jr.
United States Joe Varde
United States Joe Foster
United States Dave White
Porsche 968 Turbo RS P 50
Porsche 3.0 L Turbo I4
LMGT2 59 Netherlands Marcos Racing International Netherlands Cor Euser
United Kingdom Christian Vann
Germany Harald Becker
Marcos Mantara LM600 D 49
Chevrolet 6.0 L V8
WSC 29 United States Intersport Racing United States Sam Brown
United States Ken Dromm
United States Simon Gregg
Canada Jacek Mucha
Riley & Scott Mk III G 31
Ford 5.0 L V8
GT3 23 United States Alex Job Racing United States Kelly Collins
United States Darryl Havens
United States Cort Wagner
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR P 0
Porsche 3.8 L Flat-6
DNS GT1 5 United States Panoz Motorsports United States Johnny O'Connell
United Kingdom Jamie Davies
France Éric Bernard
Panoz Esperante GTR-1 M -
Ford (Roush) 6.0 L V8
DNS LMP1 21 France Solution F France Philippe Gache
France Anthony Beltoise
France Jérôme Policand
Riley & Scott Mk III P -
Ford 5.0 L V8


  • Pole Position - #26 Porsche AG - 1:13.754
  • Average Speed - 164.62 km/h


With a total of 31 entrants, including a large number of European teams, the ACO considered the race a success. The only downside was that BMW, who had initially entered their BMW V12 LMs, did not show up for the race. However, the ACO and Don Panoz pushed ahead with their plans and announced the American Le Mans Series for 1999. IMSA, whose own racing series was faltering, decided to take instead take over as sanctioning body for the new American Le Mans Series.

The ACO would repeat later this kind of one-off experimental race in preparation for new series, with the 1999 Le Mans Fuji 1000km, the 2000 Race of a Thousand Years, the 2003 1000km of Le Mans and the 2009 1000 km of Okayama.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 September 2018, at 00:49
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