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Porsche Nurburgring 24 hour race preview

Manthey Racing, Nurburgring 24 hour, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb, Marcel Tiemann

Porsche contests the 38th edition of the Nürburgring 24 hour race on 15/16 May with the largest line-up in many years. Porsche AG as well as several customer teams tackle Germany’s greatest motorsport event with a total of 33 vehicles featuring the characteristic six-cylinder boxer engine.

The title defenders from Manthey Racing take up the race at the wheel of the number one car: Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and Marc Lieb (Germany), as well as Manthey pilot Marcel Tiemann (Monaco) pilot the new, 480 hp 911 GT3 R. The winning squad already signalised their determination to bring home the fifth straight overall victory at the first two races run as preparation to the Eifel marathon. 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 with 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 the 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.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid 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 at the front axle. Under braking, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid converts kinetic energy into electrical energy and stores it in a flywheel. At the 24 hour race, the innovative 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. 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 vehicle: Decked out in white and red, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS is intended to demonstrate that a standard sports car from Zuffenhausen 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 teammates, 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: Finishing 22nd out of 163 vehicles, 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,” says 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.

– Porsche Motorsport


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