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Kevin Estre

Le Mans Champ Kevin Estre Gives Us a Wet Nurburgring Masterclass in a GT3 RS

Getting around the Green Hell with the sun shining overhead is hard enough. When the track is sodden, putting 520 horsepower to the pavement and not tapping a barrier is a Herculean challenge. For today’s demonstration, we have Kevin Estre as our guide around the 12.9-mile circuit. The thirty-year-old Frenchman is a Porsche Supercup, FIA WEC, and 24 Hours of Le Mans Champion, and his driving is defined by confident displays of opposite-locking, wheel-dropping, and curb-hopping. Simply put, his aggressive style helps him in wet and greasy conditions.

There’s more than just quick hands at work here. Estre shows us how to pick a line and apply the throttle when the surface isn’t much stickier than an ice rink. The fortunate sebastian vittel, a stellar driver in his own right, can only sit back in his Recaro P1300 carbon bucket and witness Estre’s brilliance from the passenger seat.

Tuned for the Track

From the start of this frenetic lap, the GT3 RS’ rear is obviously unwilling to put the power down most of the time. Though Manthey Racing filled the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires at to 2.2 bar in the rear to generate a little more temperature in the 51 °F conditions, the GT3 still slithers around a bit. Tire pressures were only one of the changes it made to suit the circuit—Manthey also added KW competition suspension designed specifically for the unique demands of the Nordschleife. Along with a new aero kit composed of a GT2 RS MR’s carbon wing, front canard, and GT3 R diffuser, there’s a little more grip on offer—which is a big plus in these greasy conditions.

Searching for Stick

For most of the run through the 12.9-mile circuit, Estre has to rely on a hybrid line and his quick hands to keep the car moving forward. When he does occasionally run over the dry line, like he does in the second half of Flugplatz (1:48), the car begins to slide at worrying speeds. Even the added downforce can’t help him as he runs over the typical out-in-out line, which is impregnated with rubber that provides grip in the dry, but does the opposite in the wet.

He avoids the apex entirely at Aremberg (2:19) for good reason. We see moments later just how asking too much of the car along the conventional line can cost dearly in these conditions—note how abruptly the rear steps out of line at Adenauer Forst (2:49). Quick hands and coordination can save a driver here at slower speeds, but these antics in quick corners probably result in contact with the barriers.

Only at these lower speeds can Estre get away with full-lock slides which require he take one hand off the wheel.

That said, he can get away with smaller shimmies and snaps at higher speeds as long as he keeps some of his wheels off the conventional line. When crests and elevation changes are thrown into the equation, he has to proceed even more cautiously. Look how he, even after turning gingerly into Wipperman (6:18), has to catch the slithering rear the second he places his inside tires on the conventional line. It’s almost as if he’s driving a rally car here! Only a pro of his stature can pull these stunts off while looking relaxed, but his driving is much more than courage and coordination—it requires circumspection, too.

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24h du Mans 2019 – Kevin Estre : « nous repartons un peu de zéro »

Votre victoire de l’an passé vous apporte-t-elle plus de confiance, de pression ou les deux ?

Pas de pression, mais de la confiance, c’est certain. Depuis mes débuts en endurance en 2012, Le Mans 2018 fut ma première course sans problème de fiabilité, de sortie de piste ou autre. Comme quoi, c’est possible. Nous avons gagné, nous n’avons pas spécialement quelque chose à prouver. Mais c’est aussi la finale du championnat du monde. Michaël Christensen, mon co-équipier, et moi-même, pouvons être titrés à l’issue de la course donc nous repartons également un peu de zéro.

Est-ce que ça compte à vos yeux de partir depuis une bonne place sur la grille ?

La course de l’année dernière a justement prouvé que les qualifications avaient un rôle important. La safety car est sortie en début d’épreuve, seulement deux secondes derrière notre voiture. Ce n’était pas de la chance. C’est parce que nous étions en position de tirer profit de la situation et nous avons tout de suite creusé l’écart avec nos poursuivants. Ce sera peut-être différent cette année puisque le régime de full course yellow a été introduit (une neutralisation de la course sans la sortie systématique de la safety car, ndlr).

Lire la suite sur Auto moto : magazine auto et moto

 

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Kevin Estre Flogs the 991.2 GT3 RS Around the Nurburgring

While the GT2 RS might officially rule the roost, its normally aspirated sibling is still the favorite among some. A slightly better balance, stiffer suspension, less weight, and a more tractable engine makes the GT3 RS the favored hardcore track car in some people’s eyes—including a certain YouTuber by the name of
Sebastian Vittel
. Famous BP Driver using a alias, probably not, but still fun to watch.

Mr. Vittel driver owns a GT2 RS himself and is a bonafide petrolhead who drives his RS as it ought to be driven; posting some very impressive times at the Nurburgring. Yet, even a driver of his caliber has a few things to improve upon, so when offered a ride around the ‘Ring in a 991.2 GT3 RS, driven by none other than Kevin Estre, he accepted.

Interestingly, Estre chooses to leave the traction control on, as mentioned here, since it helps preserve the rear tires —a fresh set of Michelin Sport Cup2 N2 in this case. This is sensible, since this is just one of many demonstration laps he took eager passengers on throughout the day. Plus, with Estre’s hyper-aggressive style, the RS’ rear is constantly dancing.

This lively style of driving—bordering on manhandling at times —might take some by surprise. Contrary to common thought on braking in a 911, Estre trailbrakes most everywhere, and in some corners, he makes a double apex. Sometimes it looks like he turns in too early, but he gets so much mid-corner rotation from the car, he’s actually shortening the course through the bend and taking advantage of that traction come exit. Even with traction control enabled and that world-class grip, his style invites a lot of counter-steering, plenty of wheelspin, and those wonderful spikes in the flat-six soundtrack.

The educational lap cost €450 and looks to be worth every single euro. While Estre’s throttle technique might not be applicable to the torquier GT2 RS, this scintillating lap is, at the very least, a serious motivator for an eager driver. Estre demonstrates how committed one can be in a sorted RS, notably at 1:38 and 4:54, and how to push the tires just beyond the limit with precision, conviction, and style.

Braking late and abruptly into the downhill Aremberg (1:38), Estre dials in a delicious bit of oversteer.

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Ride Onboard the GT3 RS That Just Set a Lap Record at the Nürburgring

The GT2 RS was the second Porsche road car to crack the 7 minute barrier at the Nordschiefe. Lars Kern wrestled the 700 horsepower turbocharged monster around the track, besting Lamborghini’s record by five seconds. With 180 fewer horsepower, you’d expect the GT3 RS to be slower. It is truly shocking how little separates the two cars over more than 20 kilometers. Nine seconds separate the ultimate turbocharged 911 from the ultimate naturally aspirated car. At the hands of Kévin Estre the new GT3 RS bested its predecessor by a shocking 24 seconds.

Setting the Record

This lap benchmark was set in a joint effort by Estre and current ‘Ring record holder Lars Kern. According to Andreas Preuninger, director of the GT line, « all four lap times of both drivers were below seven minutes, and only tenths of a second apart. This proves not only the outstanding power of the GT3 RS, but also its extraordinary drivability at the limit. » He goes on to say « a perfectly composed overall system allows for highly dynamic performance even with relatively modest engine power.« 

Yes, modest engine power. A naturally aspirated car with 70 more horsepower than the first water-cooled GT2 is now « modest. » That truly speaks to how far we’ve come.

Kevin Estre has been a Porsche Works driver since 2016, and currently races the 911 RSR in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and a 911 GT3 R in the ADAC GT Masters. According to Estre « through the fast corners, and on the brakes in particular, the GT3 RS is unbelievably close to our racing car GT3 R. » The newest generation flat-six’s prodigious scream at the 9,000RPM redline features heavily in the record video.

The record attempt began at 11:40 in ideal conditions, with 14 degree celsius ambient and 18 degree celsius track temperatures. The record Porsche GT3 RS was equipped with the latest generation of Michelin Pilot Sport tires, the Sport Cup 2 R. The tires measure 265/35ZR20 at the front and 325/30ZR21 at the rear, and the tires will soon be available at every Porsche Center.

Though not stated expressly in the release for the record, the Porsche used appears to be a Weissach Package equipped GT3 RS with the optional Magnesium wheels which recently debuted at NYIAS.

 
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Porsche 911 GT3 RS : temps canon de 6’56.4 sur le Nürburgring (vidéo)

La Porsche 911 GT3 RS vient de passer sous les 7 minutes sur le célèbre tracé de la Nordschleife du Nürburgring. Elle est désormais la 3ème Porsche, après les 918 Spyder et 911 GT2 RS a passé ce cap du chronomètre. Ce temps impressionnant est à mettre à l’actif de Kévin Estre. Au volant de cette voiture de série, pure propulsion à moteur atmosphérique, le pilote français a clairement réalisé un exploit. Les pneumatiques ont joué un rôle important dans la réalisation de ce tour canon. La Porsche 911 GT3 RS était équipée de Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R. Rappelons que celle […]

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