• Eleventh victory for the Porsche 911 at the gruelling Nürburgring 24 Hours race in Germany
• Porsche Team Manthey 911 GT3 RSR set new distance record of 156 laps and nearly 4,000 kilometres
• Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid again led the race, ultimately finishing in 28th place after a breathtaking chase through the field
• Visit Porsche Origin for stories and pictures from the event
It was one of the most exciting and dramatic 24 hour races at the Nürburgring. And it finished with a triumph for Porsche. In front of 220,000 spectators lining the legendary Nordschleife in the Eifel region of Germany, Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) as well as Lucas Luhr (Switzerland) won the 39th running of the long distance event with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and relegated their strong opponents from BMW, Mercedes and Audi to finish down the field.
For Porsche and the Porsche Team Manthey, this marked the fifth victory at the race in the last six years – likewise for Timo Bernhard. And for the Porsche 911, it is the eleventh triumph since the event began in 1970.
With the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - the world’s most successful GT race car of the last years - the Porsche quartet snatched the lead on Saturday at 23.25 hours and held on to it to the flag. What followed were 16 hours and 35 minutes at the head of the field, 108 consistently fast and faultless laps under immense pressure on one of the toughest race tracks on earth – this speaks volumes about the reliability of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and for the skill of the pilots. The new distance record set with a total of 156 laps and 3,958.968 kilometres underlines the superb effort of the winners and their team.
“We already knew before the start that we could only win if we worked together as a team, from the drivers through to the mechanics. And this worked very well for the entire time,” Timo Bernhard said. Indeed, aside from the usual tensions on the track, there was just one truly critical situation – strangely enough in the pits. “During a pit stop the petrol pump didn’t work. Fuel simply didn’t come out. So we had to push our car back to another pump and in doing so lost almost a minute,” said Lucas Luhr.The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid also gave an impressive performance, even though its second start at the 24 hour classic did not yield the anticipated top result. Fielded by Porsche Team Manthey with Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria), Marco Holzer (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), the innovative race car with its ground-breaking flywheel drive concept finished an impressive 28th after a breathtaking chase through the field, 17 laps behind the winner.
Showing its true potential, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid moved into the lead on Saturday about four hours after the start. But a broken flange in the differential sent it into the pits for repairs, which cost six laps to the leader. But the trouble wasn’t to stop there. After seven hours, the same problem struck again necessitating a second unplanned pit stop, this time repairs took 40 minutes. With a ten-lap gap to the front-runners, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid rejoined the race in position 105. Clocking lap times which were sometimes faster than those at the front, it ploughed through the field to rank 23rd. However, on Sunday morning the vehicle’s charge was interrupted yet again: While lapping a slower competitor, Patrick Long was nudged and spun at high speed in the Flugplatz part of the circuit. In the pits, however, no damage to the vehicle was found.
Manned by Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany) as well as Peter Dumbreck (Great Britain), Martin Ragginger (Austria) and Sebastian Asch (Germany), the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Falken Motorsports took up the race on intermediate tyres. This proved to be a good decision. Wolf Henzler made up several places before pitting after two laps once the rain had stopped to change to slicks. An engine change in the first quarter of the race robbed the team of all chances for a better result. At the flag, the Falken quartet occupied 49th place. The swift lap times that the 911 GT3 R yielded after the long repair phase were, in this case, a poor consolation. “It was somewhat frustrating to drive such great times and yet be so far down the field,” said Wolf Henzler. “Still, considering these times, the mood in the team is good. It gives us a lot of motivation. Despite everything, we’re taking home a wealth of experience from the Nürburgring.”
After a trouble-free early phase under difficult conditions, the Porsche 911 GT3 R, which Manthey Racing ran parallel to the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, was taken out of the race after two hours, as the team wanted to concentrate on just one car. This proved to be the perfect strategy that was rewarded with victory. And as Timo Bernhard crossed the finish line with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the Eifel at last showed its true sunny colours.
Result Nürburgring 24 hour race
1. Lieb/Bernhard/Dumas/Luhr (D/D/F/CH), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 156 laps
2. Müller/Farfus/Alzen/Lamy (D/BRA/D/P), BMW M3 GT, +4:23.7 seconds
3. Basseng/Fässler/Piccini/Stippler (D/CH/I/D), Audi R8 LMS, - 1 lap
4. Stippler/Hennerici/Haase/Winkelhock (D/D/D/D), Audi R8 LMS, - 1
5. Ekström/Scheider/Werner/Abt (S/D/D/D), Audi R8 LMS, - 2
6. Heyer/Jäger/Bleekemolen/Seyffarth (D/D/NL/D), Mercedes-Benz SLS, - 3
7. Arnold/Margaritis/Brück/Frankenhout (D/D/D/NL), Mercedes-Benz SLS, - 3
8. Farnbacher/Simonsen/Seefried/Melo (D/MC/D/I), Ferrari F 458, - 4
9. Abbelen/Schmitz/Kentenich/T. Bergmeister (D/D/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, - 4
10. Weiss/Kainz/Jacobs/Krumbach (D/D/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, - 5
28. J. Bergmeister/Lietz/Holzer/Long (D/A/D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, - 17
49. Henzler/Ragginger/Dumbreck/Asch (D/A/GB/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, - 24
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