ARA Racefacts Bulletin and Model Review (02/01/98)
4 February 1998
AUTO RACING ANALYSIS RACEFACTS BULLETIN FEBRUARY 1, 1998 The 1998 Rolex 24 Hours SCCA USRRC event was won by the MOMO Ferrari 333SP Can-Am entry driven by Mauro Baldi, Arie Luyendyk, Gianpiero Moretti, and Didier Theys. Each was a first-time winner of the event; each had been a second-place finisher once before! Baldi's win came in his sixth Rolex 24 start; he first competed in the event in 1988, when he scored a runnerup finish. The 1998 victory was his second Top Five and fourth Top Ten in the Rolex 24. Baldi had scored one previous victory in the 333SP, in 1995 in the Halifax, Nova Scotia event! Baldi's Rolex 24 win joins his 1994 LeMans 24 Hours victory! Luyendyk's victory came in his seventh Rolex 24 start and marked his second Top Five and fifth Top Ten finish in the event. He finished second in his first Rolex 24 start in 1986. Luyendyk won the 1989 Sebring 12 Hours and thus has now won both of America's "endurance classics" plus two Indianapolis 500s! He is only the second driver to achieve this "triple" feat, joining A.J. Foyt, the 1983 and 1985 Rolex 24 winner, the 1985 Sebring 12 Hours victor, and the winner of four Indianapolis 500s (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977)! Luyendyk became the first defending Indianapolis 500 winner to win the Rolex 24! Moretti first competed in the Rolex 24 in 1970; his first win came in his 15th start and marked his fifth Top Five and eighth Top Ten finish; his runnerup finish came in 1996. Born March 20, 1940, Moretti is the oldest-ever overall winner of the Rolex 24! Moretti has previously taken victories in the 333SP in 1996 at Road Atlanta and Lime Rock and in 1994 at Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, and IRP. The 1998 Rolex 24 win is his first overall victory in a 12 or 24-hour event. Moretti's first major sports car win came in the September 6, 1970 Fuji 200; he won in a Ferrari 512S. Moretti took overall GTP wins in Porsche 935 Turbos in the 1980 Road Atlanta and Daytona finale events. Moretti also took a Group 5 class win in a 935 in the September 5, 1982 Spa 1000 Kilometers, teamed with Mauro Baldi, and won the Giro d'Italia in 1979! Theys' win came in his fifth Rolex 24 start and marked his third Top Five and fifth Top Ten in the event; he took the runnerup spot in 1996. Theys' only previous 24 Hours win came in the Spa 24 Hours touring car classic in 1987. Ferrari's overall victory was only its second overall win in the Rolex 24; its first came in 1967 with Lorenzo Bandini and Chris Amon. Ferrari won overall in the 1963 Daytona 3 Hours, the 1964 Daytona 2000 Kilometers, and the 1972 Daytona 6 Hours. The overall winners of the last six Rolex 24s have been Toyota-Nissan-Porsche-Oldsmobile-Ford-Ferrari; this six-race streak without a repeat-winning marque sets extends the record set in 1997 of five consecutive races, beating the four-race 1990-1993 Jaguar-Porsche-Nissan-Toyota streak and the 1966-69 streak (Ford/Ferrari/Porsche/Lola-Chevrolet)! GT1 was won for the second consecutive year by the Rohr Porsche team, this year with a Porsche 911 GT1. The GT1 winner finished second overall! The Rohr driving team was comprised of Allan McNish, Danny Sullivan (as each of the first two finishers had an Indy 500 winner on the driving strength!), Dirk Muller, Jorg Muller, and Uwe Alzen. All five were first-time Rolex 24 winners and in fact all but Sullivan was a first-time Rolex 24 starter! Danny's win came in his ninth start; his best previous finish, also second overall but second in GTP, came in 1986. Alzen was part of the winning team in the 1993 Spa 24 Hours (shortened to 15 Hours that year) and Jorg Muller won the 1996 Spa 24 Hours. Porsche 911 GT1 entries finished 2-3 overall and 1-2 in GT1! Fourth overall and first in GT2 was the Konrad/Schumacher Porsche 911 GT2 of Peter Kitchak, Toni Seiler, Franz Konrad, Wido Roessler and Angelo Zadra. Each was a first-time Rolex 24 winner as the top three classes produced a 100% sweep of first-time Rolex 24 wins by fourteen drivers! Kitchak had only one previous Rolex 24 on his resume, with a fifth-place finish in GT2 in 1997. Roessler was third in GT2 in 1997 in his only Rolex 24 start but won GT2 in the 1997 Sebring 12 Hours. Konrad's win came in his sixth Rolex 24; his previous best finishes were thirds, in GT3 in 1994 and in GT2 in 1997. The victories for Seiler and Zadra came in their Rolex 24 debut appearancss! Zadra is a veteran of thirteen 1995-1997 FIA GT starts in GT2 entries with a best overall finish of twelfth at Brands Hatch in 1996; he was fourth in GT2 in the 1997 Hockenheim race. He won the GT class in the nonchampionship March 23, 1997 Monza 1000 Kilometers race. Zadra competed in GT2 in the 1997 LeMans 24 Hours but retired with mechanical problems. The two wins by Porsche gave the marque a total of 51 class or overall victories in the Rolex 24! The Can-Am, GT1, and GT2 winners each started second in class! The GT3 winner of the 1998 Rolex 24 came from the class "pole," however, as the PTG BMW M3 team won for the second consecutive year. The drivers were Bill Auberlen, Boris Said, Peter Cunningham, and Marc Duez. The 1998 Rolex 24 GT3 victory was Auberlen's second, coming in his ninth start; he also won GT3 in 1997. Said's 1998 Rolex 24 GT3 win was also his second as he also won GT3 in 1997; 1998 marked his seventh Rolex 24 start. Auberlen won GT3 in the 1995 and 1997 Sebring 12 Hours. Cunningham and Duez, however, were Rolex 24 first-time winners, bringing the total to 16 for 1998! Peter's win came in his fourth Rolex 24 start; his best previous finish was fifth in GT Invitational in 1993. Duez won the Rolex 24 on his second try; he was 21st in GT3 in 1997. Duez has won three previous 24 Hours events, each a touring car classic: the 1992 and 1995 Nurburgring 24 Hours and 1995 Spa 24 Hours. Cunningham is no stranger to victory in 24 Hour events; he won overall in the 1992 Mosport 24 Hours SCCA World Challenge race and was a classwinner in the event three consecutive years, 1988-1990! He's won 12-Hour events in the SCCA U.S. Endurance Championship and IMSA Speedvision Cup series as well. The 1998 Rolex 24 Top Ten finish saw Can-Am cars finish first and eighth, GT1 cars finish 2-3, GT2 cars place 4-5, and GT3 cars finish 6-7-9-10. Eight of the first eleven finishers were Porsches! The marque finish in Can-Am was Ferrari-Mazda-Ford-Ford-Ferrari by engine and Ferrari-Kudzu-R&S-R&S-Ferrari by chassis. Porsches finished 1-2 in GT1 with a Ford Mustang third in class. Porsches finished 1-2 in GT2 with a Dodge Viper third in class. BMW won GT3 but Porsches finished 2-3-4-5-6 in class! ARA MODEL REVIEW BRUMM 1:43 SCALE DIECAST PORSCHE 550 RS SPYDER LE MANS 1955 The Porsche 550 was the marque's first purpose-built sports-racing car! Brumm's silver model (R194) epitomizes the compact yet "racy" design of the 550, the predominant "small displacement" sports/racer of the 1950s! Among the extensive details, note that while the "passenger seat" is covered as per the prototype the seat is actually modeled! The rear engine cover features separate chrome intake covers! The model depicts accurately car #49, the 1955 LeMans 24 Hours 1100 cc class winner driven by Zora Arkus-Duntov (later of Chevrolet Corvette engineering fame!) and Auguste Veuillet; the car finished thirteenth overall. One of its teammates, the #37 Porsche 550 Spyder of Helmut Polensky and Richard Von Frankenberg, finished fourth overall and won the 1500 cc class! In fact, the 1500 cc cars finished 4-5-6 overall and 1-2-3 in class (Wolfgang Seidel/Olivier Gendebien fifth, Helm Glockler/Jaroslav Juhan sixth) The accuracy of the depiction of #49 is verified on page 153 of Porsche: Excellence Was Expected by Karl Ludvigsen. A photograph with the following caption appears: "Lined up before the start of LeMans, 1955, are the works-entered Type 550 Spyders. No. 49, driven by Duntov and Veuillet, was the winner of the 1100 cc class in this tragic race." As David Owen notes in his Automobile Quarterly Fall-Winter 1970 article, Porsche: The Cars: "It was in the summer of 1952 that Porsche took the next big step forward in producing cars for racing, with a design for an open two-seater sports-racing car fitted with a four-cam (two per bank) four-cylinder engine. Late in 1953 the car was finished, with a tubular cross-braced chassis and a pared-down alloy two-seater body, and the car was shown at Paris in the fall, where it was given the name "Spyder." Its first race proper was the 1954 Mille Miglia, where it was driven by Hans Herrmann and Herbert Linge. The car finished first in its class and sixth overall in a field of bigger and more powerful cars." The 1955 works effort was especially successful, as Mike Lawrence notes in his Directory of Classic Sports-Racing Cars: "1500 cc class wins were taken in five of the six 1955 WSCC rounds: Buenos Aires, Sebring, Mille Miglia, LeMans and the Tourist Trophy. At LeMans, von Frankenberg/Polensky won the 1500 cc class and the Biennial Cup, finished fourth overall and won the Index of Performance, the first 1.5-litre to do so since World War II. Following the von Frankenberg/Polensky car, two more 1.5-litre cars finished fifth and sixth overall while two 1100 cc versions finished 1-2 in their class." Ludvigsen provides further detail on the 1955 LeMans effort: "In what was fast becoming its traditional style, Porsche made another major works effort at LeMans in 1955. The Spyders prepared by the factory for the race had Wendler-built bodies with some changes. The oil tank filler caps were exposed on the right rear quarter instead of hidden under the rear deck, and the front rub strip was removed to allow two very small oval inlets for front-brake air to be punched through the nose. Ludvigsen notes: "The Porsches did not have to be very much faster than they were in 1954 and in fact they were not. Their best timed speed on the straight only rose from 137.5 to 139.9 mph, and their fastest lap improved from 4:52.5 to 4:46.0. In 1955 the difference was that the Porsches could maintain their speed, which they did, sweeping the first three places in their class with a best position of fourth overall, and winning the Index of Performance as well. The factory 1.1-liter Spyder, driven by Duntov and Veuillet, turned a best lap of 5:20.9. It was timed at 118.1 mph on the Mulsanne straight, and lead a one-two victory in that class for Porsche, too." The ARA website features color photography of this model! 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