Didier Theys

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Didier Theys
Nationality Belgium Belgian
Born (1956-10-19) 19 October 1956 (age 58)

Didier Theys (born 19 October 1956[1]) is a Belgian sports car driver.[2] He is a two-time overall winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona (1998 and 2002);[3] a winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring (1998);[4] the Sports Racing Prototype driver champion of the Grand-American Road Racing Association (2002)[5] and the winner of the 24 Hours of Spa (1987 in a factory BMW).[6] He was also the polesitter (1996) and a podium finisher at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1997, 1998 and 1999). The podium finish in 1999 was a third overall in the factory Audi R8R with co-drivers Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela.[7] Theys’ first appearance at Le Mans was in 1982, while his last start in the world’s most famous endurance sports car race came 20 years later in 2002.

Formula racing[edit]

Theys won the Belgium Karting championship in 1977. Later he competed in several feeder formulae: he won several Formula Ford championships in the late 1970s and early 1980s; the U.S. Bosch Super Vee championship in 1986; and the American Racing Series (now Indy Lights) championship in 1987. He was also successful in the European Formula Three Championship and Formula 2 in the 1980s. He finished third in the Monaco Formula 3 Grand Prix in 1985.

Theys competed in the CART Indy Car Series from 1987 to 1993 with 47 career starts,[8] including the Indianapolis 500 three times (1989, 1990 and 1993).[9] He finished in the top ten 10 times in CART events, and his best career finish in that series was a third position in Miami in 1988.

IMSA[edit]

Theys ran the IMSA GT Championship in 1995 on a Ferrari 333SP. He finished fourth in 1996, 11th in 1997 and 6th in the series' final season in 1998.

1998 season[edit]

Theys' 1998 victories at Daytona and Sebring came in the Kevin Doran-prepared MOMO Ferrari with co-drivers Mauro Baldi, Arie Luyendyk and Giampiero Moretti.[10] His 2002 Daytona victory came in the Doran Lista Dallara Judd with co-drivers Baldi, Fredy Lienhard and Max Papis.[11]

His 1998 season was a record-setter, as in addition to winning Daytona and Sebring, Theys also won the Six Hours of Watkins Glen.

He also finished second overall in the FIA Sportscar Championship that year, winning at Paul Ricard, France.

2000-2002 seasons[edit]

In addition to his Grand-Am driver championship in 2002, Theys finished third in the driver point standings in that series in 2001 and was the runner-up in 2000. He had four victories in his championship 2002 season, and established the largest margin of victory in series history in winning the race at Mont-Tremblant, Quebec from the pole that year.

After 2002[edit]

Prior to retiring from pro racing in March 2009, Theys also competed in the Le Mans Series in Europe with Horag Racing from 2005 through 2008, winning the Monza 1,000 km race in the LMP2 category in 2007[12] and a similar event at the Nürburgring in 2005 in a Lola Judd. He finished his pro driving career in the Horag Racing-prepared Lista Office Porsche RS Spyder in the Le Mans Series’ LMP2 division in 2008, finishing second in class at Spa and Silverstone, third at Monza and winning the Michelin Energy Challenge that season.

Theys also drove a Maserati MC 12 for Doran Racing in the ALMS in 2007, an effort that stunned the GT1 class when it beat the factory Corvettes to win the pole at the Petit Le Mans that year.

Accomplishments[edit]

Upon his retirement from driving professionally, Theys had finished on the podium 61 times in sports car races all over the world, with 18 victories, 22 second-place finishes and 21 third-place finishes through the end of the 2008 season. He has the most professional victories of anyone in a Ferrari 333 SP with 10.

He received the prestigious Driver of the Year Award in his native Belgium in 2002.

Post-retirement[edit]

Theys currently works as a racing driver coach and consultant. He is also the Driving Director of DrivingXllence, an automotive event company that allows guests to experience the exhilaration and adrenaline of being behind the wheel of the world’s newest and best Supercars.[13][14]

Personal[edit]

Although he never gave up his Belgium citizenship, Theys resides in Scottsdale, Ariz., for many years, and still lives there. That municipality honored him with the keys to the city in honor of his GRAND-AM driver championship and second 24 Hours of Daytona victory. He is married to Florence Richardson.

Racing record[edit]

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1982 France WMEsso France Jean-Daniel Raulet
France Michel Pignard
WM P82-Peugeot C 127 DNF DNF
1983 France WM Secateva France Jean-Daniel Raulet
France Michel Pignard
WM P83-Peugeot C 102 DNF DNF
1985 Switzerland Brun Motorsport Switzerland Walter Brun
France Joël Gouhier
Porsche 962C C1 304 DNF DNF
1986 Switzerland Brun Motorsport Belgium Thierry Boutsen
France Alain Ferté
Porsche 956 C1 89 DNF DNF
1988 Germany Blaupunkt Joest Racing United Kingdom David Hobbs
Austria Franz Konrad
Porsche 962C C1 380 5th 5th
1993 Belgium Team Paduwa Germany Harald Grohs
Belgium Jean-Paul Libert
Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Cup GT 8 DNF DNF
1996 Germany Joest Racing Italy Michele Alboreto
Italy Pierluigi Martini
TWR Porsche WSC-95 LMP1 300 DNF DNF
1997 Italy Moretti Racing Inc. Italy Gianpiero Moretti
Italy Max Papis
Ferrari 333 SP LMP 321 6th 3rd
1998 Italy Moretti Racing Inc. Italy Gianpiero Moretti
Italy Mauro Baldi
Ferrari 333 SP LMP 311 14th 3rd
1999 Germany Audi Sport Team Joest Germany Frank Biela
Italy Emanuele Pirro
Audi R8R LMP 360 3rd 2nd
2000 France Mopar Team Oreca Belgium Jeffrey van Hooydonk
France Didier André
Reynard 2KQ-LM-Mopar LMP900 292 20th 10th
2001 United States Champion Racing United Kingdom Johnny Herbert
Germany Ralf Kelleners
Audi R8 LMP900 81 DNF DNF
2002 United States Riley & Scott Racing Belgium Marc Goossens
United States Jim Matthews
Riley & Scott Mk III C-Élan LMP900 189 DNF DNF

American open–wheel racing results[edit]

(key)

PPG Indycar Series[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
1987 Newman Teamworks LBH
7
PHX
INDY
MIL
POR
MEA
CLE
TOR
MCH
POC
ROA
22
MDO
NAZ
LAG
30th 6
Truesports Co. MIA
17
1988 Dick Simon Racing PHX
LBH
INDY
MIL
POR
10
CLE
9
TOR
18
MEA
21
MCH
POC
MDO
10
ROA
23
NAZ
LAG
8
MIA
3
15th 29
1989 Arciero Racing PHX
20
LBH
23
INDY
20
MIL
17
21st 9
Hemelgarn Racing DET
9
POR
20
CLE
12
MEA
26
TOR
MCH
POC
Granatelli Racing MDO
11
ROA
11
NAZ
21
LAG
17
1990 Granatelli Racing PHX
14
LBH
11
INDY
11
MIL
DET
13
POR
20
CLE
23
MEA
28
TOR
7
MCH
DEN
9
VAN
25
MDO
16
ROA
NAZ
18th 15
A. J. Foyt Enterprises LAG
12
1991 Leader Card Racing SRF
LBH
10
PHX
INDY
DNQ
MIL
DET
DNQ
POR
22
CLE
12
MEA
20
TOR
13
MCH
DEN
23
VAN
MDO
23
ROA
25
NAZ
LAG
14
25th 4
1992 Pennzoil SRF
PHX
LBH
INDY
DNQ
DET
POR
MIL
NHA
TOR
MCH
CLE
ROA
VAN
MDO
NAZ
LAG
13
40th 0
1993 Delta Faucets SRF
PHX
LBH
INDY
22
MIL
DET
POR
CLE
TOR
MCH
NHA
ROA
VAN
MDO
NAZ
42nd 0
Kinko's LAG
15
1994 Project Indy SRF PHX
LBH
INDY
DNQ
MIL
DET
POR
CLE
TOR
MCH
MDO
NHA
VAN
ROA
NAZ
LAG
NC -
1995 Hemelgarn Racing MIA
SRF
PHX
LBH
NAZ
INDY
Wth1
MIL
DET
POR
ROA
TOR
CLE
MCH
MDO
NHA
VAN
LAG
NC -
1 Did not drive

References[edit]

  1. ^ Belgium. "Didier Theys «". Oldracingcars.com. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  2. ^ "Sports-car ace Didier Theys retires from competition". Autoweek.com. 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  3. ^ O’Malley, J: “Daytona 24 Hours,” David Bull Publishing, pps. 377 and 384.
  4. ^ "12 Hours of Sebring Winners / Sebring 12h >>> MotorSports Etc". MotorSports Etc. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  5. ^ Hyde, C: “Grand American Road Racing Yearbook 2002,” Stalker International Editions, p. 129
  6. ^ "24 h spa". Total24hours.com. Retrieved 2010-04-11. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Le Mans Register - 1999". Formula2.net. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  8. ^ Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford 2006 Media Guide, Champ Car, p. 236
  9. ^ Davidson, D. and Shaffer, R: “Autocourse Official History of the Indianapolis 500,” Crash Media Group Ltd., pps. 359, 360, 361.
  10. ^ O’Malley, J: “Daytona 24 Hours,” David Bull Publishing, p. 377
  11. ^ O’Malley, J: “Daytona 24 Hours,” David Bull Publishing, p. 384
  12. ^ "Reflecting on the career of Didier Theys - John Dagys - Motorsports Journalist". Thefastline.net. 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  13. ^ della Cava, Marco R. "Two days, seven supercars, 4,000 hp: The ultimate driving experience". Yahoo! News. 
  14. ^ Sky Brown, Laura. "Take a Ferrari Driving Adventure With DrivingXllence". edmunds Inside Line. 

External links[edit]