The Porsche RS Spyder will also be running demo laps before the race! Read on after the jump
911 GT3 RSR, Manthey Racing: Marc Lieb, Marcel Tiemann, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas
Stuttgart. The Nürburgring 24 hour race is not only the ultimate highlight of German motorsport for more than 200,000 fans who flock to the Eifel marathon each year – it also rates very highly amongst Porsche factory drivers. Five of the eleven works pilots compete for various teams on 24th May. A total of 34 Porsche race cars line up on the grid. With this, Porsche is again the most popular car make at Germany’s greatest motorsport event.
Manthey Racing tackles the event as one of the top favourites. Sharing driving duties at the wheel of the 520 hp Porsche GT3 RSR are works drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany), Marc Lieb (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) as well as Marcel Tiemann (Monaco). The winning quartet from last year returns to defend their title. “It would be absolutely fantastic to manage a hat-trick,” hopes Bernhard, who won the Eifel classic in 2006 and 2007. “But the competition is really tough this year. In our favour, we have a reliable and fast car and on the driving side we are very balanced,” added Bernhard’s team mate Dumas. Both pilots share a cockpit in the American Le Mans Series and currently lead the championship with a Porsche RS Spyder fielded by Penske Racing.
Works drivers Emmanuel Collard (France) and Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) team up with Marino Franchitti (Scotland) and Frank Stippler (Germany) to man a Porsche GT3 RSR run by HISAQ Competition. The team, who secured the 2007 Porsche Mobil1 Supercup title with Westbrook, surprisingly claimed overall victory at the second round of the long distance championship on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Land-Motorsport PZ Aschaffenburg also brings a strong driver line-up to contest the classic. Joining regular drivers Marc Basseng and Johannes Stuck (both Germany) is the former Porsche works driver Lucas Luhr (Switzerland) as well as Patrick Simon (Germany).
The Porsche team with the furthest distance to travel is again VIP Petfoods with its four pilots. Tony Quinn, Klark Quinn, Craig Baird and Jonathon Webb fly in from Australia. In January the team from Down Under made headlines, winning the fiercely-disputed 24 hour race in Dubai.
“A large number of our customer teams are again putting their faith in the ability of the Porsche 911 GT3,” said a pleased Hartmut Kristen, head of motorsport at Porsche.
“The Porsche teams will not have an easy job in defending the title. In 2008 the more powerful SP8 class vehicles with up to a 6.2 litre capacity weigh all of 50 kilos less than last year.”
Shortly before the start of the race, fans can expect a premiere on the Nürburgring. From 11.15 am, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas will turn demonstration laps with two Porsche RS Spyder on the Nordschleife: One flying the colours of the Penske Racing team, the other sporting the colours of the Swiss Horag Racing team. In 2007, the successful sports prototype won all titles in the American Le Mans Series. One very special acoustic highlight for the spectators round the circuit is the sound of the 476 hp 3.4-litre V8 engine, which allows gearshifts at more than 10,000 revs per minute.
The 36th running of the Nürburgring 24 hour race takes off on 24th May at 15.00 hours. The flag drops on 25th May at 15.00 hours.