1998 kicked off the second season of the FIA GT Championship for Grand Touring cars built to GT1 and GT2 regulations. The ten-race series was organized by the Stephane Ratel Organisation (SRO) and began in April and ended in late October.

  • April 12 – Motopark Oschersleben, Germany
  • May 17 – Silverstone Circuit, United Kingdom
  • June 28 – Hockenheimring, Germany
  • July 12 – Dijon, France
  • July 19 – Hungaroring, Hungary
  • August 23 – Suzuka Circuit, Japan
  • September 6 – Donington Park, United Kingdom
  • September 20 – A1-Ring, Austria
  • October 18 – Homestead-Miami Speedway, United States
  • October 25 – Laguna Seca Raceway, United States

FIA GT Championship homologated cars must be full-bodied, with two seats and be for sale to the public in Europe, North America or Japan. The vehicles are prohibited from using ABS and traction control devices and electronic transmission, clutch, suspension, steering or brake controls. The transmission is limited to six forward gears and one reverse.

Two categories are competing for Driver and Team championships.

  • GT1 – Cars in this class must weigh no less than 2,068 lbs. Engine displacement is limited to that used in the production vehicle; however, turbocharged vehicles are restricted to 4.0-liters. Power is regulated by restrictors and determined using the engine displacement and car’s weight. The suspension is unrestricted and the vehicles may use carbon-fiber brake rotors with a 14-inch wide tire/wheel combination.
  • GT2 – The rules for these cars are not as liberal as GT1. They are lighter at 1980 lbs. The engine regulations are similar to the faster GT1 vehicles, but the restrictor opening is approximately fifteen percent smaller. Modifications to the suspension and pickup points are not allowed, along with carbon-fiber brake rotors. The maximum width for the tires and wheels is 12-inches.

The final round of the 1998 FIA GT Championship was conducted at Laguna Seca Raceway during the Visa Sports Car Championships weekend, which included the Professional SportsCar Racing series. Teams would race around the eleven turn 2.459-mile road course in a 500KM contest. The GT2 title had been decided, but the GT1 category was still up for grabs.

Twenty-seven competitors head towards corner two at Laguna Seca Raceway for the final round of the 1998 FIA GT Championship. Leading the pack is the pole-winning No. 2 Mercedes-Benz CLK LM driven by Klaus Ludwig. Behind him is his teammate in the No. 1 Mercedes Bernd Schneider. In close contact is the third-place starting Porsche AG entered Porsche 911 GT1-98 of Allan McNish.
Klaus Ludwig and Ricardo Zonta entered the final round at Laguna Seca with a slim four-point advantage in the GT1 title chase. Their biggest threat came from their teammates, Bernd Schneider and Mark Webber. Zonta put the No. 2 Mercedes-Benz CLK LM on the pole. A strategy that had the team change their tires early allowed the pair to finish ahead of their teammates and claim the championship.
Qualifying 0.434-seconds behind the fastest Mercedes were their teammates, Bernd Schneider and Mark Webber, in the No. 1 Mercedes-Benz CLK LM. A win at Laguna Seca and a second-place finish for Ludwig and Zonta would result in a points tie among the four drivers. However, Schneider and Webber would secure the championship with more victories. They would finish second in the race and title chase.
GT2 competitors Olivier Beretta and Pedro Lamy, secured the driver’s title and team championship before Laguna Seca. Their biggest challenge was expected to come from their teammates, David Donohue and Karl Wendlinger, in the No. 51 Chrysler Viper GTS-R. Unfortunately, Donohue suffered a catastrophic brake failure on Friday and the car was retired from the event. Beretta and Lamy won their eighth race of the year.
Although Olivier Beretta and Pedro Lamy were the favourites to win the GT2 category, they were only third fastest after two qualifying rounds. The class pole belonged to the No. 56 Roock Racing Porsche 911 GT2 shared by Claudia Hurtgen and Stephane Ortelli. The highlight of their season was a runner result in the previous round at Miami-Homestead. Unfortunately, they retired after seven laps with a transmission issue.
All year, the greatest threat to the AMG Mercedes dominance of the 1998 FIA GT Championship came from Porsche AG – specifically the No. 7 Porsche 911 GT1-98 driven by Allan McNish and Yannick Dalmas. McNish, who qualified third fastest at Laguna Seca Raceway, put pressure on the two Mercedes early in the contest. However, his race would end on lap-40 when the clutch failed.
Finishing third in the GT1 category was the No. 8 Porsche 911 GT1-98 entered by Porsche AG. Sharing the Porsche were Jorg Muller and Uwe Alzen. Their best result to date was runner-up finishes at Silverstone and Homestead-Miami. They were gridded in the fifth position for the 500KM event. Issues for their teammates and the Panoz drivers, David Brabham and Eric Bernard allowed them to earn the final podium spot.
Finishing second in the GT2 division at Laguna Seca Raceway were Bruno Eichmann and Mike Hezemans. The No. 57 Roock Racing prepared Porsche 911 GT2 started twelfth overall after qualifying fourth in class. With the retirements of the Cor Euser, Christian Vann and Harald Becker Marcos LM600 and the transmission failure of the Claudia Hurtgen and Stephane Ortelli Porsche 911 GT2, the pair inherited the runner-up spot.
The No. 63 Krauss Race Sports International team was also a beneficiary of the misfortunes encountered by their competitors. The Porsche 911 GT2 was driven by Michael Trunk and Bernhard Muller. They qualified sixth fastest in GT2 and started the 500KM event in fourteenth place. They finished third in class, despite contact early in the event with the No. 12 Marcel Tiemann / Jean-Marc Gounon Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR.
DAMS entered the No. 3 Panoz GTR-1, which was piloted by David Braham and Eric Bernard. The driver pairing resulted in consecutive third-place results at Hockenheim and Dijon. The Panoz was gridded fourth for the FIA GT finale at Laguna Seca Raceway. During the race, they lost a position to the No. 8 Porsche 911 GT1-98 of Jorg Muller and Uwe Alzen and finished two laps behind the winners in fourth-place.
During the 1998 FIA GT season, Michel Ligonnet did a single event with Elf Haberthur Racing before joining Wolfgang Kaufmann for round seven at Donington. The pair co-drove the No. 81 Freisinger Motorsport prepared Porsche 911 GT2. The combination scored fourth-place finishes at Donington and the A1-Ring. At Laguna Seca Raceway, they qualified fifth in GT2 but encountered issues and finished eighteenth.

1GT1Ludwig / ZontaMercedes-Benz CLKAMG Mercedes139-
2GT1Schneider / WebberMercedes-Benz CLKAMG Mercedes139-
3GT1Alzen / MullerPorsche 911 GT1-98Porsche AG138-
4GT1Brabham / BernardPanoz GTR-1DAMS137-
5GT1Angelelli / BartelsPorsche 911 GT1-98Zakspeed Racing137-
6GT1Maylander / BouchutMercedes-Benz CLKTeam Persson Motorsport135-
7GT2Beretta / LamyChrysler Viper GTS-RViper Team Oreca127-
8GT2Eichmann / HezemansPorsche 911 GT2Roock Racing126-
9GT2Trunk / MullerPorsche 911 GT2Krauss Race Sports International123-
10GT2Ahrle/Layer/SchirlePorsche 911 GT2Roock Racing122-
11GT2Gounon / TiemannMercedes-Benz CLKTeam Persson Motorsport121Suspension
12GT2Neugarten/Ruch/BrownPorsche 911 GT2Elf Haberthur Racing118-
13GT2Dror/Gregg/YoungFord Saleen MustangGP Motorsport118-
14GT2Ried / VuillaumePorsche 911 GT2Proton Competition118-
15GT2Hugenholtz/Trenery/AmorimChrysler Viper GTS-RChamberlain Engineering117-
16GT2Jurasz/Burgess/MarchnerPorsche 911 GT2Seikel Motorsport113-
17GT2Seiler / StrettonPorsche 911 GT2Konrad Motorsport105-
18GT2Kaufmann / LigonnetPorsche 911 GT2Freisinger Motorsport84Driver Shaft
19GT2Lambert / ContePorsche 911 GT2Elf Haberthur Racing76Overheating
20GT2Smith/Cohen-Olivar/BagnallPorsche 911 GT2Seikel Motorsport62Transmission
21GT1McNish / DalmasPorsche 911 GT1-98Porsche AG44Clutch
22GT2Buurman / SchaafsmaMarcos LM600Marcos Racing33Transmission
23GT2Euser/Vann/BeckerMarcos LM600Marcos Racing21Differential
24GT2Langhorne/Sick/MastropietroPorsche 911 GT2Stadler Motorsport19Accident
25GT2Leconte / ChereauPorsche 911 GT2Larbre Competition15Transmission
26GT2Hurtgen / OrtelliPorsche 911 GT2Roock Racing7Transmission
27GT2Lammers / KonradPorsche 911 GT2Konrad Motorsport7Transmission
-GT2Wendlinger / DonohueChrysler Viper GTS-RViper Team Oreca-Did Not Start
-GT2Pilgrim/Johnson/BorchellerFord Saleen MustangSaleen Allen Speedlab-Did Not Start

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