The Porsche 911 GT3 R entered by customer team Rutronic Racing finished fifth in the 51st edition of the race held in Germany’s Eifel region. In an intense competition with many incidents and collisions, Frenchman Julien Endlauer, Dane Dennis Olsson and Italian Matteo Caroli did a great job at the wheel of the top-ranked 911s.
The Falcon Motorsports team’s sister car marked with the No. 44 finished tenth after suffering several setbacks. 32 Porsche GT3s competed in the classic endurance race. In sunny conditions and temperatures around 15 °C, one of the two Porsche 911 GT3 RS from Falcon Motorsports delivered the best Porsche performance of the race. At times, Nico Menzel moved up to third in the No. 44 car.
Thereafter, his teammate Tim Heinemann kept the car in the top five before the first crash: he crashed into the safety barriers after a side touch while overtaking a slower car. Repairs delayed Falcon’s 911 to the rear of the pack. Undaunted, Mengele, Heinemann and their teammates Joel Eriksson of Sweden and Martin Raginger of Austria slowly worked their way back into the leading group. However, all hopes of a podium finish were dashed when Tim Heinemann was forced to slow down around two-thirds of the way through the 25-kilometer, 378-meter race track after a tire failure on Sunday morning. Finally the No. 44 car saw the checkered flag in tenth place.
Fewer incidents, better results: this was the motto Rutronic Racing followed from start to finish in front of 235,000 spectators. The 911 GT3 R driven by the German customer team completed the distance without any damage and finished fifth overall. Drivers Julian Endlauer, Matteo Caroli and Dennis Olsen deliberately drove less aggressively during the crucial early stages of the race and during a grueling night in the ‘Green Hell’. The only minor setback for the No. 96 car was a 32-second penalty. After completing 162 laps, Rutronic Racing set a new distance record in the 24-hour race with the four best placed cars in competition.
The 51st edition of the traditional endurance test in the Eifel was not particularly kind to Porsche on several occasions. After almost ten hours of racing the Manthey EMA team favorite ‘Grello’ retired. After hitting the tire wall in the first stage of the competition, the No. 911 car suffered multiple punctures and eventually had to pit for safety reasons. After only two and a half hours, the Lionspeed By Car Collection race came to an end: Works driver Matt Campbell ended up in the barriers at the end of his first stint, causing damage to the No. 24 Porsche 911 GT3R. Entered by Falken Motorsports, marked with the No. 33, and 911s from Dinamic GT and Huber Motorsport also had to retire after crashing.
“We have two cars in the top 10 that more or less live up to our expectations,” said Sebastian Golz, project manager for the Porsche 911 GT3 R. “Congratulations to Rutronic Racing and Falcon Motorsports. Both of these teams managed to go the distance relatively easily. The Falcon suffered two punctures, but Rutronic came clean on the lap. They stayed out of trouble, continued to lead Worked my way to and got the most out of the race. Fifth place is a well-deserved reward.
Cars from the Porsche customer team also performed impressively in several other categories. With 44 cars, the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart was the brand with the biggest presence in the 130-car field. The No. 161 Kramer Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup won the Cup2 class. The previous 911 based on the 992 generation was the fastest non-GT3 car in the Cup race, finishing 17th overall.
“With reference to its original concept, we designed the current Porsche 911 GT3 Cup as a vehicle for the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and several Porsche One-Make Cup racing series,” said Tobias Hutter, GT Sport specialist. “We are even more pleased that it has also proved its worth as a highly competitive endurance racing car in one of the most demanding 24-hour events in the world. Of course, we attribute this result to our customer teams and Also given their drivers’ strong performance, they did a classy job at the Nürburgring.
1. Catsburg/Bamber/Fernandez Lager/Pittard (Netherlands/New Zealand/Germany/England), Ferrari 296 GT3 #30, Fricadelli Racing Team, 162 laps
2. Wittmann/S. van der Linde / d. Vanthoor/Martin (Germany/South Africa/Belgium/Belgium), #98 BMW M4 GT3, Rowe Racing, 162 laps
3. Marciello/Stolz/Ellis (Italy/Germany/Germany), Mercedes-AMG GT3 #4, Team Gatespeed, 162 laps
5. Olsen/Caroli/Andlauer (Norway/Italy/France), Porsche 911 GT3 R #96, Rutronic Racing, 162 laps
10. Ericsson/Heinemeier/Menzel/Ragginger (Sweden/Germany/Germany/Austria), Porsche 911 GT3 R #44, Falken Motorsports, 160 laps
DNF. Fetzer/Ledogar/Kern/Dumas (Germany/France/Germany/France), Porsche 911 GT3 R #25, Huber Motorsport, 105 laps
DNF. Ale. Vanthoor/Heinrich/Guven/Engelhardt (Belgium/Germany/Turkey/Germany), Porsche 911 GT3 R #54, Dynamic GT, 83 laps
DNF. Bachler/Müller/Picarillo (Austria/Germany/Belgium), Porsche 911 GT3 R #33, Falcon Motorsports, 77 laps
DNF. Christensen/Astre/Makowiecki/Preuning (Denmark/France/France/Austria), Porsche 911 GT3 R #911, Manthey EMA, 62 laps
DNF. Kolb/Campbell/Jaminet/Pilot (Germany/Australia/France/France), Porsche 911 GT3 R #24, Lionspeed By Car Collection, 16 laps