The German sports car manufacturer has won the Nurburgring 24 Hour race after several years of trying.
After an incident-packed race, the #912 Porsche 911 GT3 R won the 24-hour race in the Eifel Mountains of Germany. In the pouring rain, the 911 fielded, by the Manthey-Racing team, took the lead just 70 minutes before the end of the race and held onto it to the flag. Porsche have not won this event since 2011, and in doing so hands the brand its twelfth victory.
The #912 Porsche started the race on Saturday at 15:30 hours in bright sunshine from sixth on the grid, but fell behind with a puncture. During the night, the driver line-up of Richard Lietz, Patrick Pilet, Frédéric Makowiecki and Brit Nick Tandy caught up to the frontrunners and moved into second place despite a time penalty.
French Porsche regular Patrick Pilet explained “We lost almost four minutes due to the puncture at the beginning of the race. But the car was running very well, so we were able to make up ground.”
Bad luck hit the teammates in the #911 sister car. The second of three Manthey-run Porsche 911 GT3 R racers led the field from pole right from the start of the race. During the night the car hit oil, slid off the track and crashing into the barriers, putting an end to the dominant charge of Kévin Estre, Romain Dumas, Laurens Vanthoor and Kiwi Earl Bamber.
“Romain couldn’t do a thing about the accident. We saw the oil spill in the footage. This retirement is painful. With the pace and advantage that we had, you only get such a chance once in ten years probably.”, said a frustrated Vanthoor.
Thick fog stopped the race at 13.45 hours. Following the restart, the final driver, Frédéric Makowiecki, snatched the lead with a skilful overtaking manoeuvre and crossed the finish line in first place after 135 laps.
Asked about his performance in the race, Makowiecki said “That was a tough but completely fair fight for the lead, and I’m delighted with this win. Our start with the puncture wasn’t good, but we improved from lap to lap. The car was perfectly set up for dry and wet conditions so that we could push hard to the very end.”
A delighted Nick Tandy added, “That was one of the most important races in my career. We experienced setbacks, but we knew that we had a winning car, a top team and top drivers. The restart towards the end played into our hands, and Fred’s final stint was indicative of the entire race. Whenever we needed to, the team, drivers and car delivered a perfect performance.”
The Falken Motorsports squad finished the 24-hour race in ninth place. After starting from second on the grid, the #44 Porsche 911 GT3 R managed to remain in the top five for a long time. As rain set in during the night, Klaus Bachler, Sven Müller, Martin Ragginger and Dirk Werner lost contact to the front pack and were unable to close the gap.
Porsche GT boss Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser concluded, “That was truly a race of the century, simply indescribable under the circumstances: with the rain, the red flag and that incredible final spurt. At no other endurance race in the world do you get two drivers sprinting against each other for one and a half hours! Fred secured this triumph with his sensational overtaking manoeuvre. We hope that Dr Wolfgang Porsche is pleased with this belated present for his 75th birthday.”
The Nürburgring 24-hour race is one of the most significant motorsport events in the world and this year attracted 210,000 spectators. At the Eifel classic, more than 500 drivers in 148 cars competed. With 43 vehicles, Porsche was the most strongly represented marque at the race.