Speed and efficiency of Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid in Nurburgring 24 Hours demonstrates its performance potential
- 911 GT3 R Hybrid leads gruelling German marathon motor race for eight hours
- Battles for first place through the night before retiring from lead with just 1 hour 45 min remaining
- Pre-race favourite for victory, the Manthey Racing Team 911 GT3 R, cruelly knocked out of the lead by another car
- Impressive performance by ‘street legal’ 911 GT3 RS road car sees it score top 13 finish
- Exciting latest installment in new chapter of Porsche motor sport history
After four straight overall wins at the Nürburgring 24 Hours from 2006 to 2009, the Porsche teams once again performed brilliantly in the celebrated motor race this weekend (May 15/16) around the famous German Nordschleife track, but without the necessary luck. In an exciting race which will arguably be hard to beat in terms of incident and drama, Porsche dominated the action over almost 15 hours.Of the retirements, the premature conclusion to the eight hour lead by the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid was the most disappointing. Up until this point, the innovative race car from the Porsche Research and Development department in Weissach, Germany, clearly proved that the hybrid technology developed by Porsche is very competitive in racing and also offers considerably lower fuel consumption.After 22 hours and 15 minutes, the leading orange and white-liveried 911 GT3 R Hybrid retired with a problem affecting its combustion engine at the Metzgesfeld stretch of the Nordschleife. “I heard a loud noise at the rear of the car and suddenly the power went,” said Porsche works driver Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) describing the abrupt end of all hopes for victory. Despite a disappointing race, Chairman of the Board at Porsche AG, Michael Macht, who visited the race on Sunday, came to a positive conclusion: “It wasn’t enough for a win, but the Porsche hybrid technology clearly proved its potential at one of the world’s toughest races. We will continue developing this innovative drive concept. That was certainly not the last race for a Porsche hybrid car.”
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG, gives an outlook to the future: “The 911 GT3 R Hybrid has proven that highest performance and unique efficiency don’t exclude each other. The vehicle shows the technological path to racing in the future.”
The ‘street legal’ Porsche 911 GT3 RS road car, which had been driven to the Nürburgring from Weissach earlier in the week, greatly exceeded all expectations. Ex-German Touring Car Championship driver Roland Asch (Germany), and race driver and TV commentator Patrick Simon (Germany), together with journalists Horst von Saurma (Germany) and Chris Harris (Great Britain), crossed the finish line in a 200-strong field ranking an exceptional 13th overall.
“We’re totally over the moon,” grinned Asch. The German and his three team-mates completed a total of 145 laps without any technical mishaps. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think a normal street car could not only keep up at such a demanding race, but can also finish so far up the field. After this race there is no doubt the Porsche 911 GT3 RS is the best sports car in the world!”
The streak of bad luck that hit the leading 911 racing thoroughbreds began well before the retirement of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. Five hours after the start, Chris Mamerow (Germany) retired following an accident in his Mamerow Racing 911 GT3 R.
Two and a half hours later, a rival’s accident cruelly punted the favourite for overall victory out of contention. The 911 GT3 R in its distinctive yellow and green colour scheme fielded by Manthey Racing - and crewed by the winning team of the last four years - had taken the lead in lap one and was running a clear first when a competitor crashed and spun across the track, hitting the Manthey car. The heavy damages sustained by the 911 signalled an early end for the successful quartet with works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) as well as Manthey pilot Marcel Tiemann (Monaco). Both the 911 GT3 R of the Wochenspiegel Team Manthey and the Haribo Team Manthey were forced to retire with damaged transmissions. The charge of the Wochenspiegel car was halted half way through the race, while the Haribo vehicle – with former Porsche Carrera Cup GB and Supercup Champion Richard Westbrook (London) among the drivers - was sidelined four and a half hours before the end.
A total of 33 cars powered by the race-bred Porsche flat six ‘boxer’
engine participated in this year’s Nurburgring 24 Hours. As well as the
911 GT3 RS road car, four further examples of the Porsche 911 finished in the top 13, demonstrating not only the competitiveness of the 911 but also the wide appeal of the car to race teams and drivers alike.
1. Müller/Farfus/Alzen/Lamy (D/BR/D/P), BMW M3 GT2, 154 laps
2. Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen/Seefried (D/AUS/USA/D), Ferrari F430 GTC, + 3:54.1 minutes
3. Rostek/Ludwig/Bronzel/Winkelhock (D/D/D/D), Audi R8 LMS, + 1 laps
4. Hartung/Söderlund/Sandström/Öhlin (D/S/CH/S), BMW Z4 GT3, + 2
5. Jöns/Breslin/Stuck/Heyer (D/GB/A/D), Audi R8 LMS, + 2
6. Alzen/Schwager/Jäger/Bert (D/D/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S, + 3
7. Werner/Müller/Priaulx/Adorf (D/D/GB/D), BMW M3 GT2, + 4
8. Zehe/Schelp/Roloff/Bullitt (D/D/D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S, + 4
9. Aust/Adams/Übler/Grossmann (D/D/D/D), BMW Z4 GT3, + 5
10. Weiland/Forbes/Riemer/Horn (D/D/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 6
11. Gayday/Kruglyk/Basov/Schratz (UKR/UKR/R/D), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 7
12. Dumbreck/Schoysman/Tanaka/Hoshino (GB/D/J/J), Nissan Z33, + 9
13. Simon/von Saurma/Asch/Harris (D/D/D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RS,