Record updated 10-Mar-08
A former Formula One driver who raced for the March and Ligier teams he also raced in CART and the IRL. In 1987 he won the World Sportscar Championship with Jaguar and in 1988 he won the Daytona 24 Hours. He finished third at Indianapolis in 1989 and 1991 he finished second at Le Mans.
Born in Curitiba, Brazil, Raul de Mesquita Boesel was from a wealthy family. He always loved speed and the challenge of competition. Originally intending to follow his brothers into the equestrian world and was an outstanding show jumper, winning the Parana stste championship two years running. However he became interested in motor racing and started karting in 1974, winning his local championship the following year.
In 1978 he made his debut in Brazilian Stock Cars, finishing fourth in the Championship and earning "Rookie of the Year" award in 1979.
Moving to England in 1980, Raul competed in Formula Ford. Driving for Van Diemen he finished runner up in both the RAC and Townsend Thoresen championships, winning 9 out of 27 races.
In 1981 he graduated to F3, finishing 3rd in the British Championship with three victories and 12 top three finishes driving for Murray Taylor racing. In November he tested for McLaren but made his F1 debut the following year for the Rothmans March team with the uncompetetive March 821. Raul's best results that year were a ninth at Long Beach and an eighth at the Belgian Grand Prix.
In 1983 he competed a second season of F1 with the underfunded Ligier taking a career-best seventh in the US Grand Prix of Long Beach.
He competed in the South America Formula 2 Championship in 1984, winning the Rio de Janeiro race.
In 1985 he made his debut in Indy Car driving for the Dick Simon Racing. He became the fastest rookie qualifier for the Indianapolis 500 race in his first experience on an oval track. His best finish was an eighth at Elkhart Lake.
He stayed with Simon in 1986, starting all 17 events and finishing 13th in the drivers standings. He was voted "Most Improved Driver of the Year" by his peers with eight top ten finishes, with his best results being fifth in the Michigan and Pocono 500 milers. He started second on the grid at the Miami finale.
In 1987 he switched to the World Sportscar Championship with Jaguar and won the title with wins at Jerez, Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Nurburgring and Spa. The following year he won the Daytona 24 Hours, sharing a Jaguar XJR-9 with Martin Brundle and John Nielsen. That year he also raced CART with the Shierson team and in 1989 he finished third at Indianapolis. He moved to Truesports in 1990.
In 1991 he raced with Jaguar in IMSA and finished second in the Le Mans 24 Hours before returning to CART with Dick Simon and finishing fifth in the 1993 series. He continued to race in CART until 1998, racing in the latter years with Team Green, but then switched to the Indy Racing League with McCormack Motorsports. But he soon faded from the US scene although he continued to race in his native Brazil.