Stéphane Ortelli: "Le Mans the magic of motorsport."

Stéphane Ortelli: "Le Mans the magic of motorsport."

1998 24 Hours winner Stéphane Ortelli is participating in the Le Mans Classic this weekend at the wheel of a 1964 Porsche 904/4 GTS. Here the Monaco native talks about how he felt watching this year's running of the 24 Hours on his TV at home...

"I won again! exclaims Stéphane Ortelli when asked about the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans. "For several years now, I try to predict how the race will turn out, and once again, I got it right." The Monaco native had bet on a Toyota victory.

After the Japanese manufacturer's 20 attempts to win Le Mans, it finally happened this year. "I was genuinely happy for Toyota and for David Floury (ORECA technical director assigned to Toyota, Ed.). What happened to them in 2016, losing the race in the final lap after so many hours, not even making it into the classification, failing to earn a single point, it was almost impossible to swallow. I felt so badly for them, and a lot of people felt the same," explains Ortelli who beat the Toyotas in 1998 to clinch his win in 1998 with Porsche.

In 1998, Toyota fielded the GT-One (the TS050 Hybrid won three weeks ago). "When we beat them with the Porsche 911 GT1, we decided on certain technical options to make the car reliable. That it took Toyota 20 tries to win when other teams like Audi or others can do so for their second participation makes Le Mans the magic of motorsport. They deserved the win this year. I think they're relieved." 

As Ortelli signs photos of his 1998 Porsche, on the track Emmanuel Collard is driving the Toyota GT-One that claimed the second step on the podium at the 24 Hours in 1999...


Photo (Dominique Breugnot / ACO): Stéphane Ortelli at the 2018 Le Mans Classic.