The two best-placed Porsche customer teams take up the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps tomorrow from positions nine and 20. In the Super Pole session on Friday evening, Porsche works driver Mathieu Jaminet turned the ninth fastest lap with GPX Racing’s 911 GT3 R. In the 20-minute shootout, the top 20 vehicles from Thursday’s qualifying competed against each other in individual time trials. The fastest time of two laps was counted. The 26-year-old Frenchman achieved a lap time of 2:18.729 minutes. For the race, Jaminet shares the cockpit with Earl Bamber from New Zealand and the Australian Matt Campbell.
Laurens Vanthoor planted his KCMG 911 GT3 R on P20 with a time of 2:19.742 minutes. The 30-year-old Belgian’s first attempt was voided after he briefly exceeded the track limits with his Porsche. He tackles the marathon classic on home turf with his compatriot Maxime Martin and Britain’s Nick Tandy.
The 24 Hours of Spa is considered one of the world’s most important events for GT3 vehicles. At this year’s race, Porsche is represented by the largest line-up ever with a total of twelve 911 GT3 R, ten customer teams and 40 vehicles. The sports car manufacturer aims to score its third straight outright victory at the endurance classic in Belgium’s Ardennes region. In 2020, Laurens Vanthoor, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy joined the list of winners with the 911 GT3 R fielded by Rowe Racing. A year earlier, Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Richard Lietz (Austria) climbed to the top of the podium for the GPX Racing squad. So far, Porsche has notched up eight overall victories at this endurance classic.
In the four qualifying heats on Thursday evening, Estre and his Rutronik Racing teammates Richard Lietz and Sven Müller (Germany) narrowly missed out on taking part in the Super Pole by six-hundredths of a second. The trio driving for Dinamic Motorsport, Klaus Bachler (Austria), Matteo Cairoli (Italy) and Christian Engelhart (Germany), as well as Schnabl Engineering’s drivers Michael Christensen, Fred Makowiecki (France) and Dennis Olsen (Norway) qualified just outside the top 20 in 23rd and 25th respectively.
Live streaming of the event
Spectators can watch the Spa 24-hour race via a free live stream on the website http://www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com. The 24-hour race takes off on Saturday at 4:30 pm.
Comments on the Super Pole
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “We used the time between yesterday and today to analyse the qualifying data. We took a very close look at GPX Racing’s 911 GT3 R and KCMG’s No. 47 car and combined the best setups in each. The GPX car was good in the Super Pole – although the gap to the top is still too large. We did what we could and that topic is now closed. We now face a 24-hour race. We know that our performance is competitive over long distances. We’ll play to our strengths in the race.”
Mathieu Jaminet (GPX Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R #22): “I’m satisfied with my lap. I managed to make the best use of the width of the track. Our car felt good but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for pole position. The guys at the top are in a different league. Ninth on the grid is a bit disappointing but the race is long. Our speed over longer distances in the practice sessions was better – I hope we can use that to our advantage in the race.”
Laurens Vanthoor (KCMG, Porsche 911 GT3 R #47): “I don’t know what to say. The car feels a bit strange. We thought we’d made an improvement for the warmup, but it felt like it did yesterday. We then tweaked it again for the Super Pole and it was completely different. However, there’s only one lap where the tyres reach their optimal grip in this session – and I didn’t manage that. I’m very disappointed.”
Super Pole result
1. Marciello/Juncadella/Gounon (I/E/F), Akka ASP, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #88, 2:17.949 minutes
2. Bortolotti/Mapelli/Caldarelli (I/I/I), FFF Racing, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo #63, 2:18.252 minutes
3. Engel/Stolz/Abril (D/D/F), HRT, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #4, 2:18.545 minutes
9. Jaminet/E. Bamber/Campbell (F/NZ/AUS), GPX Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R #22, + 0.780 seconds
20. L. Vanthoor/Martin/Tandy (B/B/GB), KCMG, Porsche 911 GT3 R #47, + 1.793 seconds
Grid positions for the other Porsche 911 GT3 R customer teams
22. Estre/Lietz/Müller (F/A/D), Rutronik Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R #21
23. Bachler/Cairoli/Engelhart (A/I/D), Dinamic Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R #54
25. Christensen/Makowiecki/Olsen (DK/F/N), Schnabl Engineering, Porsche 911 GT3 R #3
33. Dumas/Pedersen/Rizzoli (F/DK/I), Dinamic Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R #56
37. Burdon/Imperatori/Liberati (AUS/CH/I), KCMG, Porsche 911 GT3 R #18
47. Apotheloz/Buus/Kern/Santamato (CH/DK/D/F), Allied Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R #222
52. Basseng/Busch/Decurtins/Lauck (D/D/CH/D), Haegeli by T2 Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R #166
53. Jacoma/Leutwiler/Menzel/Schell (CH/CH/D/D), Huber Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R #23
54. Allemann/Au/A. Renauer/R. Renauer (CH/GB/D/D), Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R #911
56. W. Bamber/Harker/D’Silva/Rivas (NZ/NZ/MY/L), EBM Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R #61.