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Paul Belmondo is back in a Viper at Le Mans

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Paul Belmondo will be back behind the wheel of one of his Belmondo Racing-run Chrysler Vipers. Belmondo will drive the car Belgian squad Gipimotor has just finished restoring at Le Mans Classic (30 June – 3 July).

The Chrysler Viper GTS-R is chassis C34. Brussels-based team Gipimotor has just finished the restoration of the car in their workshop. It is now ready to go back to racing on the historic circuit, in the Endurance Legends categories.

Photo Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikicommons

Belmondo racing

The car is one of 51 Viper-chassis Oreca built for GT racing between 1996 and 2005. Paul Belmondo Racing was one of the big private teams running different Vipers. The son of French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo was team-owner and driver at the time. Belmondo switched to GT racing after his Formula 1 career had come to an end in 1994.

Debut at Le Mans

Paul Belmondo Racing acquired chassis C34 with Oreca at the end of 1999. By that time, the Chrysler (and Dodge) Viper GTS-R had become the reference in the GT2 and GTS category in GT racing in Europe and the US. C34 started out in the 2000 FIA GT championship. A fifth place in Silverstone was the car’s best finish before it went to Le Mans for the first time. A race that would end with a DNF after an engine problem.

Photo David Noels

Famous colours

In 2000, C34 ran a yellow livery. In 2001, blue tones joined the yellow, creating a famous look. The car performed well, netting Vincent Vosse and Boris Derichebourg four podium finishes in FIA GT. Best spot was second in the rounds in Brno and Jarama. At the 2001 Spa 24 Hours, C34 finished fourth (Vosse/Hélary/Clérico).

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In 2003 the car appears with Scorp Motorsport Communications at Le Mans. It had received the 2002 updates: new suspension, wider track, sequential gearbox,… Again, it did not finish due to engine problems. The car kept on racing in the French GT championship until 2007. By now, it also carried the revised aero package.

Photo Gipimotor

Fully restored

Over the course of last year, the car has been completely restored. Belgian specialist Gipimotor carried out the work, and the car is now ready to go racing once more. For Le Mans Classic, Paul Belmondo will be driving the car he used to own. Funnily enough, apart from the Le Mans test day in 2000, Belmondo himself was never listed as a driver on this chassis. Definitely something to look out for.

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