The Porsche customer teams have started successfully into the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. The nine-eleven (#911) fielded by Manthey-Racing with Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) had taken up the race from position three and have now settled in amongst the leading pack. The No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R campaigned by Frikadelli Racing initially dropped out of the top ten. However, the crew consisting of Matt Campbell (Australia), Mathieu Jaminet (France), Romain Dumas (France) and Sven Müller (Germany) put in fast lap times to rejoin the top group. Bad luck plagued last year’s winners Patrick Pilet, Frédéric Makowiecki (both France), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). While leading, their 500+hp Manthey-Racing nine-eleven with the starting number 1 lost 4:30 minutes due to a puncture. They are now battling their way back up through the field.
Manthey-Racing’s third Porsche 911 GT3 R (#12) driven by Matteo Cairoli (Italy), Dennis Olsen (Norway), Otto Klohs and Lars Kern (both Germany) has survived the initial phase well and is chasing down the top ten group. The nine-elevens fielded by Iron Force by Ring Police (#8), Falken Motorsports (#44) and Frikadelli Racing (#30) continue their charge through the field and, like all Porsche customer teams, are heading into the long night at the Nürburgring well prepared.
Comments on the race so far
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “After about two and a half hours of racing it’s turning out to be a very fast race. Compared to 2018, the lap times have dropped by about two to three seconds. All of our Porsche made a good start. Our number 1 car lost around four and a half minutes due to a puncture caused by a foreign object. Frikadelli is also doing a great job at the moment, with the number 31 car running in the top five.”
Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #1): “We got away well at the start and I managed to work my way from fifth to third place. I lost a little time to the leading pair but you have to weigh up the risks at the Nürburgring 24-hour race and not get too aggressive in all the traffic. The car is running flawlessly and we still have a lot of kilometres ahead of us.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “I started well into the race and quickly closed the gap to the frontrunners. Initially it was very difficult in the heavy traffic, because many of the drivers hadn’t yet found their rhythm. Luckily I didn’t hit anyone and our car feels really good. The race is long, but it’s still nice to be up the front.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “It’s tough out there. With so many cars on the track you have to be really careful not to touch any of them. But sometimes you just don’t know how to avoid them. Our pace is great; we just have to remain very focussed.”
Robert Renauer (Porsche 911 GT3 R #30): “Everything ran smoothly at the start and that’s the most important thing. The car’s performance is good and we want to get through the first part of the race unscathed. We’ll see what we can do during the night.”
Jan-Erik Slooten (Porsche 911 GT3 R #8): “The first stint went well. It’s chaotic out there, but everything’s fine. I had two minor contacts with other vehicles, because it can get really tight when you’re lapping other vehicles. But then everything came right again.”