Porsche have a strong factory presence again for this year’s Nürburgring 24 hour race. Can the Manthey Racing team make it five wins on end? Will Chris Harris and his mates bring home a class win in the GT3 RS? And how will that Hybrid 911 fare?
Check out the official pre-race release from Porsche after the jump.
UPDATE: A short promo clip for the GT3 R Hybrid has been added at the end of this article.
PORSCHE 911 LINES UP FOR NÜRBURGRING 24 HOURS MARATHON
- Porsche factory squad and customer teams tackle Germany’s greatest motorsport event
- The largest line-up of Porsche 911 race cars in many years – including debut of GT3 R Hybrid
- A total of 33 vehicles featuring the characteristic six-cylinder Porsche ‘boxer’ engine
- British journalist Chris Harris takes the wheel of ‘street legal’ 911 GT3 RS
- Londoner Richard Westbrook drives a 911 GT3 R for Haribo Team Manthey
- 38th edition of the Nürburgring 24 hour race takes place on 15/16 May
Porsche takes to the starting line for the Nürburging 24 Hours race this weekend (May 15/16) with a powerful line-up of 911 race cars from diverse backgrounds. The title defenders from Manthey Racing take up the race at the wheel of the number one car, the new, 480 hp 911 GT3 R, piloted by Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and Marc Lieb (Germany), as well as Manthey pilot Marcel Tiemann (Monaco) pilot.
The winning squad already signalled their determination to bring home the fifth straight overall victory in the first two races run as preparations for the marathon around the iconic race circuit in the Eifel mountains in Germany. At rounds one and two of the VLN Long Distance Championship Nürburgring, the team’s yellow and green racer saw the chequered flag in first place. “I was impressed with the new 911 GT3 R right from the start with its extremely predictable handling and reliability,” enthused Timo Bernhard. “And those are exactly the qualities you need in an endurance race car if you want to finish without problems and climb to the very top of the podium.”
The new 911 GT3 R fielded by Haribo Team Manthey is another racer with a strong driver line-up. Sharing driving duties at the wheel of the 911 decked out in the characteristic livery of the Haribo gold bear design are experienced racing professionals Lance David Arnold (Germany), Christian Menzel (Germany), Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) and Alexander Margaritis (Germany). An all-German team of specialists Georg Weiss, Michael Jacobs, Peter-Paul Pietsch and Oliver Kainz pilot a 911 GT3 R run by Wochenspiegel Team Manthey.
Another squad holding high hopes for victory is Mamerow Racing with its Porsche 911 GT3 R. After being hampered by bad luck at the beginning of the Long Distance Championship season, Chris Mamerow (Germany) and Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) concluded their preparations for the 24 hour race with a victory.
Attracting much attention will be the innovative Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, which has been designed to be particularly conservative with fuel. Its 480 hp combustion engine at the rear is supplemented by two 60 kilowatt electric motors powering the front axle. Under braking, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid converts kinetic energy (that would otherwise be wasted) into electrical energy and stores it in a specialised flywheel to be released at the driver’s command to deliver additional performance.
At the 24 hour race, the hybrid racer is manned by Porsche works drivers Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria), as well as Porsche junior Marco Holzer (Germany) and Martin Ragginger (Austria) and fielded by Porsche Team Manthey. The GT3 R Hybrid has been developed as a technology spearhead and ‘racing laboratory’, and is a showcase for the Porsche Intelligent Performance philosophy. Due to its good performance at the second VLN race, when the orange/white liveried 911 finished in third with a gap of 1:09 minutes after fours hours, the organisers mandated a 25kg handicap weight. The vehicle now competes weighing 1,375 kg instead of 1,350 kilograms.
Also competing in the midst of around 200 race cars is a road-going Porsche 911. Decked out in white and red, the GT3 RS is intended to demonstrate that a standard sports car from Stuttgart is up to the challenge of a 24 hour race. Driving the 450 hp vehicle with the number plate “S-GO 2400” is former DTM pilot Roland Asch (Germany), race professional and TV commentator Patrick Simon (Germany) as well as Nürburgring regulars and journalists Horst von Saurma (Germany) and Chris Harris (Great Britain). On behalf of his team-mates, Asch outlines the plan of action; “Keep our noses clean, avoid any tricky situations and if possible finish in the top 20 to 30.” Already at the first VLN round in March, the standard sports car gave an indication of its potential by finishing 22nd out of 163 vehicles, and the 911 GT3 RS provided a pleasant surprise at its race debut.
“This year, Porsche is particularly well represented at the Nürburgring 24 hour race by its vehicles, customers and drivers,” said Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “We regard this diversity as a clear commitment to the 24 hour event. Our customer teams compete with strong driver contingents, with some receiving support from our Porsche factory drivers. I’m especially curious about our 911 GT3 R Hybrid. We’re not setting our sights purely on race results, but more on the data that our race lab delivers for the further development of hybrid technology.”
Television station Sport1 (formerly DSF) broadcasts over 20 hours of the Nürburgring 24 hour race. For the first time, Porsche offers its German-speaking fans its own internet radio as part of a web special under www.porsche.com. In a ten-minute radio show held on the hour every hour during the race, commentator Burkhard Bechtel reports on the progress of the Porsche league, and also interviews interesting guests at the track.
The 38th running of the Nürburgring 24 Hours starts on 15 May at 15.00 hours. The flag drops on 16 May at 15.00 hours.