Raul Boesel is a former Brazilian racing driver who has an impressive record both in open-wheel racing and sports car racing.
He recorded 23 starts in the Formula One World Championship in 1982 and 1983, driving for March and Ligier. Between 1985 and 2002, Boesel competed in North American open-wheel championships (CART and IndyCar), with third place at 1989 Indianapolis 500 as the career highlight.
In the sports car racing, Boesel achieved his greatest success with the Silk Cut Jaguar team. He was the 1987 World Sport-Prototype champion, won the 1988 Daytona 24 Hours and finished second at 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours. Because of his achievements in endurance racing, he was inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame.
He is currently working as a music DJ.
Starting a racing career at the age 16
Born in December 1957 in Curitiba, Raul de Mesquita Boesel started his racing career at the age 16 in the karting competitions. In 1974, just before his 17th birthday, he captured his first championship title. He progressed to car racing in 1978, competing in the Paranaense Stock Car Championship.
In 1979, he participated in the inaugural season of the Brasilian Stock Car Championship. Driving a Chevrolet Opala, he scored three wins to finish fourth in the final standings.
Moving to England in 1980
In 1980, Boesel moved to England to participate in the Formula Ford Championship. He finished second in his rookie season, losing a title to another Brazilian Roberto Moreno.
In 1981, Boesel progressed to the British Formula 3 Championship, driving a Ralt-Toyota for Murray Taylor Racing. Scoring three wins, he finished third in the points, behind Jonathan Palmer and Thierry Tassin. At the end of the season, Boesel was testing F1 car for Williams.
Formula One debut in 1982
In 1982, after only four years as a professional racer, Boesel made a debut in the Formula 1 World Championship, driving for March Grand Prix Team. His first race was the South African Grand Prix, in which he finished 15th in the #18 March 821-Cosworth, five laps behind race winner Alain Prost (Renault).
Later in the season, Boesel recorded nine more starts and five DNQs. His best result was 8th place in the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder.
In 1982, Boesel also made his sports car racing debut, participating in one race of the FIA World Endurance Championship. He was driving the 336 Dome RC82-Cosworth for Amada Dome team at Silverstone, sharing a car with Eliseo Salazar and Chris Craft. They didn't finish the race.
1983 - Formula One season with Ligier
For the 1983 Formula One season, Boesel moved to Equipe Ligier Gitanes, to drive the #26 Ligier JS21-Cosworth next to Jean-Pierre Jarier as his teammate in the #25 car. Boesel managed to qualify for thirteen Grand Prix races, missing just two starts.
He was four times in the top 10, with seventh place in the United States Grand Prix West as his best championship result. He finished fifth in the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.
Moving to the USA in 1985
In 1984, Ligier didn't retain Boesel and he was out of racing for one season. In 1985, he moved to the United States and joined Dick Simon Racing in the CART PPG Indy Car World Series. In his first CART season, Boesel's best result was the 8th place at Road America.
He stayed with Dick Simon Racing in 1986, scoring two Top 5 finishes and ending a season 13th in the points. At Indianapolis 500, he was 13th.
1987 - World Sports-Prototype champion with Jaguar
In 1987, Boesel took a break from open-wheel racing, participating in just two CART races, to focus on the World Sports-Prototype Championship with Silk Cut Jaguar team. He was driving the #4 Jaguar XJR-8, initially sharing a car with Eddie Cheever.
The first win came in the second race at Jerez. After that, Boesel was the race winner four more times with different co-drivers, taking the WSPC title ahead of his teammates Jan Lammers and John Watson. In his debut at Le Mans 24 Hours, Boesel finished in the fifth place together with Cheever and Lammers.
Daytona 24 Hours winner in 1988
In 1988, Boesel returned full-time to CART Indy Car World Series but before that he scored one more great success with Silk Cut Jaguar. Driving the #60 Jaguar XJR-9, he won the Daytona 24 Hours, together with Martin Brundle and John Nielsen.
In March, the same crew retired at Sebring 12 Hours. In June 1988, he retired at Le Mans in the #3 Jaguar XJR-9 he was sharing with John Watson and Henri Pescarolo.
Third place at Indianapolis 500 as a highlight of CART career
In the 1988 CART season, Boesel joined Doug Shierson Racing. He was in the top 5 in six races, finishing the season 8th in the points. At Indianapolis 500, he finished seventh.
The highlight of his entire CART career came at 1989 Indianapolis 500, where Boesel finished on a podium, next to the winner Emerson Fittipaldi and second-placed Al Unser Jr. At the end of the season, Boesel was 11th in the points.
Two DNFs at Daytona 24h in 1989 and 1990
Boesel returned to Daytona in February 1989 to defend his victory but he failed to finish the race in the #60 Jaguar XJR-9, sharing a car with Jan Lammers and Davy Jones. One more DNF at Daytona followed in 1990, when Boesel was driving the #17 Porsche 962C for Dauer Racing, together with Al Unser Jr and Robby Unser.
Later in the season, Boesel recorded two more DNFs in Dauer Racing's Porsche, at Miami Grand Prix and Sebring 12 Hours. He was also driving that car in two WSPC races at Monza and Nurburgring.
In the 1990 CART season, Boesel spent a year with Truesports team, driving a Lola-Judd in sixteen races. His best finish was sixth place in two races.
1991 Le Mans podium with Jaguar
In 1991, Boesel again took a break from open-wheel racing to rejoin Jaguar in the IMSA GTP Championship. He was driving three different cars (XJR-12, XJR-10, and XJR-16) for Bud Light Jaguar Racing in eleven races, scoring two podiums and finishing sixth in the points.
Outside North America, Boesel came to Le Mans with Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-12 LM, sharing the #35 car with Davy Jones and Michel Ferte. They finished in the second place, as the best Jaguar crew, two laps behind Mazda 787B.
Rejoining Dick Simon Racing in 1992
In 1992, Boesel focused his career on Indy Car World Series again, rejoining Dick Simon Racing. He stayed three seasons with the team, being among the front-runners all the time and recording his career-best result in 1993 when he finished fifth in the final standings.
In three seasons with Dick Simon Racing, Boesel scored six podiums and two good results at Indianapolis 500. In 1992, he was seventh at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Next year, he missed a podium by finishing fourth.
Three CART seasons with three different teams
In 1995, Boesel left Dick Simon Racing and spent the next three CART seasons with three different teams. In 1995, he scored just one Top 5 result with Rahal-Hogan Racing, finishing 16th in the points. In 1996, he was driving the #1 Reynard-Cosworth for Andretti's Team Green, finishing 22nd in the points.
In 1997, Boesel joined Patrik Racing and managed to score his last CART podium in a career, by finishing third at Portland International Raceway. At the end of the season, he was 10th in the points.
Double racing programme in 1998
In 1998, Boesel joined McCormack Motorsports in the Indy Racing League, driving the #30 G-Force Oldsmobile. With an 8th place as his best result during a season, he was 20th in the final standings.
In 1998, Boesel also participated in few races of the US Road Racing Championship and IMSA Championship, including Daytona 24h, driving a Panoz GTR-1. He retired at Daytona and finished second at Lime Rock, sharing a car with Eric Bernard.
Competing in the Indy Racing League until 2002
Boesel stayed in the Indy Racing League on a part-time schedule between 1999 and 2002, driving for six different teams. He appeared four more times at Indianapolis 500, finishing best with Brant Motorsports in 12th place in 1999.
Boesel closed his open-wheel racing career in 2002 with Bradley Motorsports, participating in seven races with the team.
Two victories at Mil Milhas Brasileiras
Although his open-wheel racing career came to an end in the early 2000s, Boesel wasn't ready to quit racing. He returned to Brasilian Stock Car Championship in 2001 and then scored his first win in the Mil Milhas Brasileiras race in 2002. He won the race in a Porsche 996 GT3 R, sharing a car with Regis Schuch and Flavio Trindale.
Boesel was returning to the same race with Porsche in 2003 (3rd) and 2005 (7th), then switching to Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM in 2006. Sharing a car with Tony Kanaan, Pedro Lamy and Giuliano Losacco, he finished in the second place.
At 2007 Mil Milhas, Boesel was 12th in a Porsche 997 GT3 RSR and then, in 2008, he captured his second victory in the race. He was sharing the #911 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR with Max Wilson and Marcel Visconde.
It was his last race in a racing career. In the meantime, he started a new career as a music DJ.