Stephane Ortelli is a French-born Monegasque racing driver who achieved the biggest success in the sports car racing. He's a two-time FIA GT world champion but also a champion in other competitions, such as Porsche Supercup, Le Mans Series or Blancpain GT Series.
At 24 hours of Le Mans, Ortelli participated fourteen times, scoring the overall victory in 1998 with a factory-entered Porsche 911 GT1. Two years later, he was second overall with Audi R8. Ortelli was also successful in some other major endurance races, winning at Spa, Sebring and Sepang.
Three winless seasons in the single-seater racing
Stéphane Ortelli was born on March 30, 1970, in Hyeres in southeastern France, but he has a Monegasque nationality. Ortelli started his racing career in 1990, entering the French Formula Renault championship. Next year, he progressed to the French Formula 3 Championship, where he spent two seasons. In three years of single-seater racing, Ortelli didn't score a victory.
Two seasons in the Supertouring championship
His first win came in the 1993 Peugeot 905 Spider Cup. With two wins during the season, he was 7th in the final standings. In 1994, Ortelli joined Peugeot in the French Supertouring Championship, driving a Peugeot 405 Mi16 and finishing ninth in the points. He spent one more season in that championship, driving BMW 318is for Oreca and finishing 8th in the final standings.
24h Le Mans debut in 1995
In 1995, Ortelli also participated in several races of the Global GT Championship, driving Porsche 911 GT2 for Konrad Motorsport and Larbre Competition. In June 1995, Ortelli debuted at 24 hours of Le Mans, together with Dominique Dupuy and Emmanuel Collard in the #37 Porsche 911 GT2 Evo of Larbre Competition. They retired after 82 laps because of an accident.
Ortelli switched to GT racing in 1996
In 1996, Ortelli left touring cars and completely switched to GT racing, participating in the Global GT Championship with several teams, driving Porsche 911 GT2. The teams were Larbre Competition, Parr Racing, Konrad Motorsport and Roock Racing. He scored one class victory with Konrad Motorsport, at Brands Hatch.
With New Hardware/Parr Motorsport's Porsche 911 GT2 Ortelli participated in two 24-hour races, at Daytona and Le Mans. At Daytona, his crew didn't finish the race. At Le Mans, Ortelli, Andy Pilgrim and Andrew Bagnall finished 17th overall and 4th in GT2 class.
1997 - two wins in FIA GT Championship, DNF at Le Mans
In 1997, Ortelli's main competition was FIA GT Championship. He participated in GT1 and GT2 class, driving Porsche 911 for Roock Racing. He scored two wins (A1-Ring and Laguna Seca) and finished seventh in GT2 standings. His partner in both wins was Bruno Eichmann, at A1-Ring they were partnered by Claudia Hurtgen.
1998 Le Mans 24h victory for Ortelli, McNish, Aiello
A completely different result Ortelli achieved at 1998 Le Mans 24 hours, scoring a sensational overall victory in the factory-entered #26 Porsche 911 GT1, sharing the car with Allan McNish and Laurent Aiello. They beat their teammates in the #25 car by one lap.
Throughout the season, Ortelli continued to drive Roock Racing's Porsche 911 GT2 in the FIA GT Championship but also participated a full season in the Porsche Supercup with Jürgen Alzen Motorsport. He won one Supercup race, finishing fifth in the points.
1999 – first Le Mans participation with Audi
In 1999, Ortelli had a similar schedule as the year before, driving for Roock Racing in the FIA GT Championship and participating in the Porsche Supercup. He didn't score FIA GT wins but he was a race winner two times in the Supercup, finishing third in the points, behind Patrick Huisman and Oliver Mathai.
The biggest change happened at Le Mans, where he joined Audi after four participations with Porsche. Ortelli's debut with Audi Sport UK's Audi R8C wasn't successful. The #55 car stopped with a broken gearbox after 55 laps. His teammates at Le Mans were Stefan Johansson and Christian Abt.
2000 Le Mans podium with Audi R8
In 2000, Ortelli returned to Le Mans as a member of Audi Sport Team Joest crew in the #9 Audi R8. His partners were the same as in the victorious race two years before – Allan McNish and Laurent Aiello. They were successful again, finishing in second place, one lap behind #8 Audi R8 and two laps ahead of #7 Audi.
Third place in Porsche Supercup for the third year in a row
In 2001, Ortelli finished in third place of Porsche Supercup standings for the third year in a row. This time, Jörg Bergmeister and Marco Werner were better than him. His other competition was the FIA GT Championship with Freisinger Motorsport. He scored four podiums with Porsche 996 GT3-RS, finishing seventh in the points of N-GT class.
World champion and Porsche Supercup winner in 2002
The season of 2002 turned out to be one of the most successful in Ortelli's career, as he won two championship titles. In the FIA GT Championship, Ortelli won seven races in N-GT class with Freisinger Motorsport's Porsche 996 GT3 RS, including 24 hours of Spa. His partners in those wins were Marc Lieb, Sascha Maassen, Emmanuel Collard and Romain Dumas.
Ortelli defended FIA GT championship title in 2003
In 2003, Ortelli continued to race with Freisinger Motorsport's Porsche 996 GT3 RS, taking one more FIA GT championship title in N-GT class. This time, he won three times, including an overall victory at 24 hours of Spa. In that race, his teammates in the #50 Porsche were Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas. Marc Lieb took two more wins with Ortelli, at Brno and Donington, so they jointly won the championship title.
2004 – class podium at Le Mans 24h
In 2004, Stephane Ortelli and Emmanuel Collard scored three N-GT wins in the FIA GT Championship, driving the #50 Yukos Freisinger Porsche 996 GT3 RSR. They finished as championship runner-ups, behind teammates Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen. Ortelli was also a runner-up in the Le Mans Endurance Series, where he won two out of four races with Freisinger's Porsche.
The highlight of the season was Ortelli's podium at 24 hours of Le Mans. He was driving the #85 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for Freisinger Motorsport, sharing a cockpit with Romain Dumas and Ralf Kelleners. They finished 13th overall and 3rd in GT class.
Class victory at 2005 Sebring 12 hours
In 2005, Ortelli started the season with a successful participation at 12 hours of Sebring. He joined Aston Martin Racing's Darren Turner and David Brabham in the #57 Aston Martin DBR9. They finished fourth overall and took the victory in the GT1 class.
Later in the season, Ortelli participated with Team Oreca in two completely different championships – driving the Audi R8 LMP1 prototype in four races of the Le Mans Endurance Series and Seat Toledo Cupra in three rounds of the World Touring Car Championship. At Le Mans 24h, Ortelli finished fourth overall in Oreca's Audi R8, sharing the car with Franck Montagny and Jean-Marc Gounon.
Diverse schedule with four manufacturers in 2006
In 2006, Ortelli was driving four different cars in five competitions. He was successful with Team Oreca's Saleen S7R in the Le Mans Series, finishing third in GT1 class. At 24 hours of Daytona, which was a part of the Grand-Am Rolex Series, he raced with TRG's Porsche 997 GT3 Cup.
In the American Le Mans Series and FIA GT Championship, Ortelli was driving Ferrari F430 GTC. And finally, at 24 hours of Le Mans, Ortelli's car was Aston Martin DBR9. Sharing the car with Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin, he finished fifth in GT1 class.
Le Mans Series champion in 2007
In 2007, Ortelli focused on two championships and was successful in both. He spent a full season with AF Corse in the FIA GT Championship, scoring three wins with Ferrari 430 GT2 and finishing second in the points. His partner was Gianmaria Bruni, while the champions were their teammates Toni Vilander and Dirk Muller.
In the Le Mans Series, Ortelli became the GT1 champion after four wins in five races with Team Oreca's Saleen S7R. His championship-winning partner was Soheil Ayari. At 24 hours of Le Mans, Ortelli and Ayari were joined by Nicolas Lapierre in the #55 Saleen. They finished ninth in GT1 class.
No luck with Oreca prototypes
In 2008, Ortelli had one more season with different cars, from Porsche 997 GT3 in the International GT Open and French Carrera Cup to Cheever Racing's Pontiac prototype at 24h Daytona. Ortelli continued to race with Team Oreca, driving Courage LC70 LMP1 prototype in the Le Mans Series, scoring no wins or podiums.
Audi R8 LMS debut in 2009
In 2009, Ortelli had a debut with Audi R8 LMS, driving it in the French GT Championship for Team Oreca. He continued to drive that car in 2010, finishing third in the French GT classification, together with teammate David Hallyday. At Spa 24 Hours, Ortelli finished 13th in the #73 WRT Belgian Audi Club's R8 LMS.
In 2010, Ortelli also spent a full season with Jean-Philippe Dayraut's Ferrari 430 GT3 in the International GT Open, finishing fourth in GTS class.
2011 - last Le Mans participation with Ferrari
In June 2011, Ortelli participated for the last time at 24 hours of Le Mans and it was his first race with Ferrari at Circuit de la Sarthe. He was a part of Luxury Racing #59 crew in a Ferrari 458 Italia GT2, together with Frederic Makowiecki and Jaime Melo. They retired after 183 laps.
Throughout the 2011 season, Ortelli was mostly driving Audi R8 LMS, finishing second in the French GT Championship and third in the Blancpain Endurance Series. At Spa 24 hours, he finished fourth, together with Filipe Albuquerque and Bert Longin.
2012 Blancpain Endurance Series winner with Audi
In 2012, Ortelli was driving only Audis and was a part of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in the FIA GT1 World Championship and Blancpain Endurance Series but he was also driving for Team Audi France in the French GT Championship. He was successful in every competition he entered, scoring five wins and eleven podiums in all three competitions.
Ortelli achieved the best result in the Blancpain Endurance Series, becoming a champion together with teammates Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase. In the FIA GT1 championship, where he finished fifth, Ortelli's partner was Laurens Vanthoor. In the French championship, Ortelli and David Hallyday finished sixth.
2013 - one more championship title with Audi
In 2013, Ortelli participated in the Blancpain Endurance Series and FIA GT Series (later Blancpain Sprint Series) with Team WRT's Audi R8 LMS. He was far from the top in the Endurance Series (16th) but he took the championship title in another competition, winning three out of twelve sprint races. His championship-winning partner in the #11 Audi R8 LMS ultra was Laurens Vanthoor.
Ortelli had a similar schedule in 2014, still driving Audis. He joined Sainteloc Racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series and G-Drive Racing in the Blancpain Sprint Series. Scoring no wins, he finished third in BES and seventh in BSS.
Sepang 12h victory in 2015
In 2015, Ortelli was again a part of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT's line-up, both in the Blancpain Endurance and Blancpain Sprint Series. Stephane Richelmi was his partner in the sprint races and they finished sixth in the points. In the Blancpain Endurance Series, Ortelli finished third in the points after scoring three podiums, including second place at Spa 24 Hours.
Racing with Emil Frey's Jaguar in 2016
In 2016, Ortelli joined Emil Frey Racing, participating in the Blancpain Endurance Series with their own-built Emil Jaguar XKR G3. His co-drivers were Lorenz Frey and Albert Costa. Ortelli also participated in the VLN Endurance Championship with Emil Frey's Lexus.
Ortelli also had a one-off appearance in the ADAC GT Masters, driving Audi R8 LMS for Land Motorsport at Hockenheimring.