The Porsche customer teams have made an impression at the debut DTM season. At the same time, it was also the debut of the Porsche brand in the DTM. The 911 GT3 R fielded by SSR Performance and the Team 75 Bernhard achieved three victories in the storied German racing series. Works driver Thomas Preining turned heads recently with a strong result and spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. The Austrian concluded the 2022 DTM season fifth in the drivers’ championship. For the first time in DTM history, Dennis Olsen scored pole position for Porsche.
Preining headed into the final race weekend at Hockenheim with an outside chance of claiming the title. However, all hopes for the big coup were quickly dashed in the first of two races. After a heavy shunt with a rival car in lap six, the Austrian’s Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Team 75 Bernhard smashed into the track barriers. While Preining walked away from the wreckage, his severe bruising and the irreparable damage to the No. 24 Porsche made it impossible to tackle Sunday’s race. Dennis Olsen suffered the same fate at the wheel of SSR Performance’s No. 94 car. Several vehicles were involved in both accidents, which happened in quick succession. As a result, only Christian Engelhart was able to contest the second race with the sister car run by the Munich-based customer squad. The German, however, had to retire early in the No. 92 car after a collision in the first lap.
“We’re disappointed, obviously, that the title dreams in Hockenheim were dashed so early. However, the health of our drivers takes top priority. We’re very pleased that all safety elements in our Porsche 911 GT3 R did their job well and that both drivers came through the heavy crashes with only minor injuries,” confirms Thomas Laudenbach after Saturday’s race in Hockenheim. Looking at the 2022 season as a whole, the Vice President of Porsche Motorsport adds: “Our customer teams have established the Porsche brand in the DTM in record time. We’re very proud of the teams and drivers. In the very first season of this fiercely competitive series, the 911 GT3 R secured three victories – that’s a tremendous result. Thank you to everyone who made these achievements possible.”
Between July and September, Thomas Preining was the driver to beat in the DTM. During this time, the Austrian works driver scored two wins, two further podium results and more points than any other driver. On his way, the 24-year-old from Linz delighted fans with his spirited charges and spectacular overtaking manoeuvres at the wheel of his 911 run by Team 75 Bernhard. Dennis Olsen also took centre stage during the summer months: The Norwegian won at Spa-Francorchamps and occupied the second podium step twice. Moreover, the Belgian posted the first-ever pole position for the Porsche 911 GT3 R in the DTM. The personal highlight for his teammate, works driver Laurens Vanthoor, was fourth place at the Norisring.
“Looking back, we exceeded all of our expectations,” stated Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R. “The steady upward trend in the result lists shows that we’ve all consistently developed in the right direction. The team learned a lot and put these insights into practice. The cooperation between the DTM and Porsche was based on an open and solid foundation, and this allows us to look to the 2023 season feeling very confident.”
Porsche wrapped up the DTM year in fourth place in the manufacturers’ classification. The customer teams SSR Performance and Team 75 Bernhard achieved positions eight and ten in the team championship. Thomas Preining concluded the year fifth in the drivers’ championship, with SSR drivers Olsen and Vanthoor claiming positions ten and 18.
The final two races of the DTM season in Hockenheim were the last outings for the tried and tested GT3 racing car from Weissach. For the upcoming season, the new ca. 416 kW (565 PS) Porsche 911 GT3 R based on the 992-generation 911 will make its debut. The new GT3 vehicle from Weissach successfully completed a test race on Saturday (8 October) at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife scoring third overall. Customer teams are already showing great interest in campaigning the new model in the 2023 DTM.
More comments on the 2022 season
Thomas Preining (Porsche 911 GT3 R #24): “After my accident in Hockenheim, I look like an avatar man: completely blue. But I’m fine. The crash cannot take away from the positive impressions of the 2022 season. I climbed to the top of the podium at my most important race weekends: at the Norisring and at my home race at the Red Bull Ring. That was really incredible. Thanks so much to the team and Porsche. What a great DTM debut. It makes me very proud. I hope to get the chance to win the title in 2023.”
Timo Bernhard (Owner Team 75 Bernhard): “We achieved great things with not a lot of resources. With Thomas, we travelled to the finale as strong contenders for the title. Of course, it hurts that it ended like this. Still, that doesn’t detract from our achievements in the slightest. Two victories this season are simply phenomenal. I want to thank my parents for their support, the entire team for their great work and Tommy for his strong performances in Porsche 911 GT3 R.”
Dennis Olsen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #94): “The season was a special experience. The first weekends were tough for us all because we simply weren’t competitive. We went into it with other ideas. But we then systematically worked our way up: second place at the Norisring and the Nürburgring and our first victory at Spa. That was terrific and showed that you can achieve great things with hard work. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well at the end of the season. Never mind: we’ll keep the highlights in mind and we want to build on these in 2023.”
Stefan Schlund (Owner SSR Performance): “The first two events of the year were extremely difficult. That wasn’t only our fault – it was also because of how the Porsche 911 GT3 R was classified. We then made noticeable progress in all areas and we were justly rewarded for this. The podium results and victory in Belgium were great, and so was Dennis Olsen’s first pole position for Porsche in the DTM. While Dennis has delivered strong performances over the year, we barely managed to tap the full potential with the sister car. That was too bad. All in all, we’re taking some positive memories home from the 2022 season.”