Stephane Ortelli ranks as one of the most accomplished sportscar drivers of the modern era, with an enviable record highlighted by an outright victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1998. Like most of today's leading racing drivers, Ortelli, who was born in Hyeres in the south of France but is of Monegasque nationality, served his apprenticeship in karts before graduating to formula cars in his late teens. He enjoyed instant success, clinching the French Formula 3 title in 1991 on the strength of seven wins from 10 starts. A testing contract with the Larrousse-Lamborghini Formula 1 team came his way in 1992, but a race opportunity never materialised and his career then took a more circuitous path. He gained his first taste of sportscars in 1993, driving a Peugeot 905 Spyder and winning on two occasions. He padded his resume by winning the privateers' contest in the French Super Touring Car series two years later. Ortelli then began a long and successful association with Porsche, culminating in a dominant Le Mans triumph in 1998 - the first win at La Sarthe for the Porsche factory team in 11 seasons. By rights he should also have won the 2000 race, since he was leading comfortably before being delayed by a precautionary gearbox change to his Audi. Instead he had to make do with the bridesmaid's role. Ortelli further bolstered his credentials as one of the world's top sportscar drivers by winning the 2003 Spa 24 Hours.