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Porsche Sends Off The GT3R In Style With A Win At The Bathurst 12 Hour

This weekend marked the final race ever for factory-supported 911 GT3Rs, and the first win for Porsche at the Bathurst 12 Hour. In winning the Bathurst 12, Porsche is on track for an incredible Intercontinental GT Challenge season. Factory racer Dirk Werner partnered with a pair of Porsche Young Professionals to take the win, Aussie Matt Campbell and Norwegian Dennis Olsen. The trio raced for EMB, a brand new team owned by factory racer and Le Mans winner Earl Bamber. The team performed well all day, but it was Matt Campbell’s astonishing and heroic final stint that really punctuated the race and brought home the trophy. Campbell moved from fourth to the lead in the final half-hour on fresh tires, and it was an absolute masterclass.

The other EMB car, driven by Romain Dumas, Sven Muller, and Mathieu Jaminet, was within sight of joining its sister car on the podium, running at the front for long periods. With three hours to go in the race, however, the car suffered a power steering failure and was forced to come into the pits for lengthy repair, ultimately retiring.

In the Class B for Porsche GT3 Cup racers, Grove Racing took a comfortable lights-to-flag victory. Ben Barker partnered with the father-son team Stephen and Brenton Grove to win ahead of the Carrera Cup Asia squad.

In order to get a feel for just how impressive Campbell’s drive was in the final hour, you simply must watch it.

The old-spec GT3 R has been quite the successful unit for Porsche, as it took an overall victory at the Nurburgring 24-hour, as well as a handful of international championships. It served well, and was relatively easy for privateers and gentleman drivers to learn and get up to speed. The new GT3 R made its debut at Daytona last weekend for the 24 Hour, but have not quite yet been delivered down under. The new GT3 R will have its time to shine in the Intercontinental GT Challenge from the next round at Laguna Seca for the California 8 Hour on March 31st.

Comments on the race
Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “What a banner day for Porsche Motorsport. Congratulations to all drivers and particularly to the team principal, Earl Bamber, who has impressed me greatly with his fortitude and meticulousness over the years. Earl is not only a world-class racing driver, he’s also a top team boss. He underlined this today. It’s perfect that the fledgling EMB team has handed us the first victory at Bathurst at the swan song of the Porsche 911 GT3 R after three very successful years. Now we are looking forward to the second race of the season at Laguna Seca. We aim to bring home the next win with the new car.”

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “We still had some unfinished business at Bathurst, and now it’s settled. For our proven Porsche 911 GT3 R to win at its last major race, we couldn’t have dreamed for a more wonderful finish. I take my hat off to our drivers, who had to fight in sweltering heat. And we mustn’t forget the customer team Earl Bamber Motorsport. This was the first race at this level for EBM, they tackled it with a top-class, experienced crew and promptly won. This could be the first chapter of an epic story. We look forward to further joint outings. Now we’re looking ahead and preparing ourselves for the next two big events for Porsche Motorsport: the doubleheader in Sebring with the WEC and IMSA and the next round of the IGTC in Laguna Seca.”

Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “This finale was breathtaking. We focussed our entire race strategy on this last stint. The team prepared for it perfectly, and the drivers implemented it perfectly. At the end we fitted fresh tyres, filled the tank and put Matt Campbell in the car – then full attack to the finish line. This victory at the last big race is a fair reward for the very successful Porsche 911 GT3 R. Such a farewell before the car heads into the Museum rounds off the success story perfectly. The EBM team did a sensational job, as well. The squad was put together at short notice with unflagging commitment and great meticulousness. The fact that they promptly scored a victory is phenomenal and a consequence of the professional work.”

Earl Bamber (Team Principal EBM): “We only began putting the team together at the beginning of December. Since then we’ve invested a huge amount of work into this project – not just me, but my brother Will and many other supporters, as well. Our goal was to be able to offer the drivers two equal cars at the very highest level. We succeeded. The No. 911 led over long stretches but then fell back. But we had a second iron in the fire. The No. 912 stepped up to the mark. What Matt achieved in his last stint is film worthy. The fact that we now send this car into the Museum with a victory makes it all the more emotional. I’m completely over the moon.”

Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “I knew without doubt in the finale where the strengths of our car lay – and I then used them consequently. I eyed up my competitors, I made my overtaking moves resolutely and never backed off. That was an important key to this victory and I’m overjoyed. Bathurst is a legendary race, and it’s my home race. It was the first GT3 race for Earl Bamber’s team. To win at the first outing and in this manner is simply brilliant.”

Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “This is a great victory. I’ve waited a long time for such a success at a major race. There are so many special stories from this race. It was the maiden GT3 race for Earl’s team, it was the last race for the Porsche 911 GT3 R and not least there was Matt Campbell’s performance, he really turned up the heat at the end. It was an incredible achievement from everyone involved. I’m absolutely thrilled.”

Dennis Olsen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “Incredible! That one word actually sums it all up. We all worked hard for this win. Ultimately, it was about Matt’s performance in the final stint. How he fought for the lead was nothing less than amazing. I still can’t quite put my feelings into words. I guess it first has to all sink in.”

Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “We were fast, constant and strategically well positioned with our Porsche 911 GT3 R. I drove a double stint early this morning with one set of tyres. That would have given us the benefit of fresh tyres at the end. Unfortunately we couldn’t reap the rewards of the entire team’s hard work. The fact that something breaks at such a gruelling long distance race is simply part of racing. You can’t do anything about that.”

Brenton Grove (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #4): “We did a flawless job. There’s not one scratch on our car after twelve hours of racing. And that’s exactly what makes the difference in this race. We were totally concentrated, we simply let the heavy GT3 traffic go, and got the most of our car in the gaps that appeared. That’s how you score a class win at Bathurst.”

Race result
1. Werner/Olsen/Campbell, Porsche 911 GT3 R #912, 312 laps
2. Dennis/Vaxiviere/Kirchhöfer, Aston Martin #62, 312 laps
3. Buhk/Marciello/Götz, Mercedes #999, 312 laps
16. Grove/Grove/Barker, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #4, 299 laps
19. Tresidder/v.d. Drift/ Bao/Hamprecht, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #23, 279 laps
DNF Dumas/Müller/Jaminet, Porsche 911 GT3 R #911, 234 laps
DNF Studderd/Fillmore/Muscat, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #43, 134 laps
DNF Estre/Evans/Calvert-Jones, Porsche 911 GT3 R #12, 37 laps

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Hillclimb Monster : Porsche 930 Turbo… Avis de tornade en Italie !

Je reconnais que plus les missiles du Hillclimb sont particuliers ou du moins sortis de leur contexte (Style Lada, Fiat 500 ou Peugeot 3008 par exemple), plus ils sont impressionnants et hallucinants. Mais parfois, avec un missile classique, ça marche aussi… surtout quand il est souffle comme une tornade ! Et dans l’genre, cette Porsche […]

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Bad Weather Punctuates An Exciting Daytona 24, Porsche Nets GTLM Podium

There is no amount of preparation or strategy that could make up for the absolute downpour weather that hit the Floridian peninsula on Sunday morning and threw about forty wrenches into the works. Porsche ran a strong 24 hour race in the dry, but suffered mightily in the rain, as the track was a complete mess. Porsche managed to come out of it with a podium place, but both team cars were running 1-2 a few times throughout the race. It’s hard to call this a great finish, but the battle that raged in GTLM for the full race length was definitely one of the most exciting in recent memory. With competition from Ford, Corvette, BMW, and Ferrari, there was never an inch to put a foot wrong. Porsche had to be perfect the whole race, and they nearly managed it.

Visibility was practically zero on Sunday morning, as you can see from the video below of the WeatherTech Ferrari running headlong into the Black Swan Racing GTD Porsche. It was wise of the race stewards to throw a red flag in the early hours of Sunday morning, but it was absolutely unwise of them to throw the race back to green with little warning. The drivers said they didn’t even have time to warm up their brakes, just thrust into the fight on a whim. The rain wasn’t the worst part, though, it was the spray of standing water kicked up by other cars. It was just a mess for the final few hours, and probably should have been called earlier.

 

Saturday was an absolute proof of concept for Porsche. Flying away from the pole position, Nick Tandy was in a great position. The GTLM-class #911 Porsche 911 RSR ran up front for much of the first half of the race. Patrick Pilet and Fred Mako worked well with the car and the dry conditions. The Porsche clearly had speed in hand, running fast on the high banking, but not giving up anything on the infield either. When I went to sleep at the half-way point of the race, the team was still leading. In fact, they were still well up the order when I woke early the next morning, but a hydroplaning incident that saw the car slide into the back of one of the Ford GTs as they fought down to the millimeter for advantage at turn one was a turning point for the #911. The team recovered to fifth, but the race was red flagged shortly thereafter.

Porsche #912 had a vastly different race this weekend, as Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, and Mathieu Jaminet suffered horrible luck in the early runnings. With an issue in the car’s front splitter mount, the team wheeled back to the garage to affect repairs. When they returned to the course, the car was four laps down. Luckily, with IMSA’s wave-around rules, and stellard driving and strategy, the team was able to recover to the lead lap by the mid-point of the race. The car sat in fourth, still on the lead lap, when the final red flag segment was called. The #67 Ford GT had pitted for emergency fueling during a full course yellow, which is allowed, so long as the team pits again for a full fuel up when the pits open. Between the emergency fill and opening the pits, the red flag was thrown and Ford couldn’t come back in for the full service. They’d been in second place, but were handed a penalty for the unserved fuel stop, which relegated them to fourth, behind the #912 Porsche, handing them a podium place.

Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “If you ignore the weather, then you have to admit that was a great race. We witnessed some top-class racing from all manufacturers. It was a great show for the fans. We were really strong in dry conditions, in the wet, however, things didn’t really go as we’d hoped. The result might look a little disappointing at first glance, but the potential shown and the perfect teamwork make me very optimistic.”

Steffen Höllwarth (Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “That was a gripping race, from which we’re very happy to take home a podium result. We led the field over long stretches, we coped impressively with a setback for our No. 912 car and we regained lost time. There were many highs and lows. We were very fast in the dry with a setup designed for high top speeds on the straights, but unfortunately not quite so in the wet. To achieve a podium result under such difficult conditions is a great effort. Now we’re looking ahead with optimism to the next race in Sebring. We are keen to repeat our victory there from last year.”

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I’m very disappointed, because we were really strong in the practice sessions and the first half of the race. We couldn’t quite maintain the performance in the rain. A collision cost us two laps in the race, but that wasn’t the decisive factor. I’m focussing on the positive aspects. Our car was extremely fast on a dry track. Our team and the driver trio are strong. So I’m heading to the upcoming race in Sebring feeling optimistic.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The first hours were great fun. Our car was fast and reliable, I enjoyed thrilling duels against drivers of other brands. But then torrential rain came. Having to drive at Daytona in such conditions is a very different experience. But we can’t complain. It could have been much worse.”

Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I think we can be very proud of our performance this weekend. In the practice and qualifying sessions we were at the front, and in dry conditions we led the race over long periods. Unfortunately that changed completely once the rain set in. We experienced serious aquaplaning and therefore couldn’t quite maintain the pace. At the end of the day I’m left with many positive impressions.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “What a crazy race. We were extremely fast, we coped impressively with a bitter setback and we had a car to beat in dry conditions. The situation was different in the rain. We were no longer the fastest out there. All in all, we’ve started the season well with a podium result.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Everything was going fine until late at night. We’d set up our car for a high top speed and this worked perfectly in the dry, but we lacked downforce in the wet. I enjoy big challenges and I’m a fan of old-school racing, but these conditions were just crazy. When you’re driving at 290 km/h and you can only see two metres in front of you and you’re flying blind with 30 other cars on your tail all going the same speed, well, that just goes too far. I don’t ever want to experience something like this again.”

Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “Had it stayed dry, we would definitely have been able to fight for victory. Unfortunately we lacked a bit of speed in the wet. Third place was certainly the most we could do under these conditions. We can be proud of our performance and result. We’ve earned many points to start the season and are on the podium.”

In the GTD class, Porsche’s luck was even worse. The new-for-2019 GT3 R was fast and had plenty of power, but a seriously competitive GTD field and poor luck relegated the best finishing example to 8th. The Park Place Motorsports car had taken a full pit stop under green flag running just before the final caution, and subsequent red flag flew. If they’d been another two laps or so to the good, they’d have finished much higher up the running order. That’s how the cookie crumbles, I guess.

Black Swan, as seen in the video above, got rear ended at high speed, putting them out of the race late in the running. Similarly, on the initial failed restart from red flag conditions, the rad-in-plaid Pfaff Motorsports GT3 R ran headlong into a very slow Lamborghini to end their race prematurely. The NGT Motorsports car suffered a spin early on, and within a few laps had a complete engine failure, dumping fluids all over the track.

Porsche remains optimistic headed into the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.

Race result
GTLM class
1. Farfus/De Philippi/Eng/Herta (BMW #25), 571 laps
2. Rigon/Molina/Pier Guidi/Calado (Ferrari #62), 571 laps
3. Bamber/Vanthoor/Jaminet (Porsche #912), 570 laps 
4. Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon (Ford #67), 570 laps
5. Pilet/Tandy/Makowiecki (Porsche #911), 569 laps 
6. Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller (Corvette #3), 563 laps
7. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (Ford #66), 559 laps
8. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (Corvette #4), 555 laps
9. Krohn/Edwards/Mostert/Zanardi (BMW #24), 553 laps

GTD class
1. Ineichen/Bortolotti/Engelhart/Breukers (Lamborghini #11), 561 laps
2. Morad/Mies/Vanthoor (Audi #29), 561 laps
3. Montecalvo/Bell/Telitz/Segal (Lexus #12), 561 laps
8. Long/Campbell/Lindsey/Boulle (Porsche #73), 560 laps 
16. Werner/Cairoli/Seefried/Pappas (Porsche #540) 545 laps
19. Kern/Olsen/Robichon/Hargrove (Porsche #9), 470 laps
23. Müller/Bachler/Renauer/Häring/Görig (Porsche #99), 47 laps

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Porsche’s Iconic Whale Has Been Tailored For Speed At Le Mans

Porsche’s 935/78 is an iconic car in the history of the brand’s motorsport development. Perhaps the ultimate extension of the 911 silhouette, the long tail, huge wing, wide fenders, and long front overhangs make this car difficult to see as having come from a road car at any point, but the center section is pure street car-derived. Nearly 850 horsepower at full boost, this whale has some serious speed available, which was necessary to do well at Le Mans. The car only raced three races as a factory entrant, and to have become an icon in just those three short races is a massive feat.

This video below shows the car being driven during some cold and wet demonstration laps at the Goodwood Members Meeting last year. A few of those full-throttle pulls on the car, you can hear the engine jump up in revs quickly, which likely indicates a bit of wheel spin. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t like to try my luck at slaying the giant white whale in track conditions like these. That must have been an absolutely pants-wetting experience. Considering that this is the only such Moby Dick Porsche in existence, I wouldn’t want to be known as the man who destroyed it.

Jochen Mass, who won with the car in period, gets to drop back behind the wheel for this exhibition, and he’s got a huge smile on his face. Better him than me, I suppose.

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Otto Mathé and The Fetzenflieger

The latest edition of the 9:11 video magazine features one of the most peculiar Porsche-based specials of all time: The Fetzenflieger

Otto Mathé began racing motorcycles at 16 years old. He continued racing motorcycles through his twenties, until 28 years old when an accident caused paralysis in his right arm. For the time being, Otto was out of competition. Throughout the thirties and Second World War he ran a service station where he produced fuel and oil additives. Following the Second World War the Austrian began racing again.

Lacking the use of his right arm, Mathé made the prudent decision to switch from two wheels to four. In 1949 he purchased one of the Type 64 Berlin-Rome cars from Porsche. With that car, and a 356, he returned to motorsport. Notably, both the Type 64 and Mathé’s 356 were right-hand drive, allowing him to shift with his left hand. Mathé contested the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti in 1949, ultimately winning the event in 1952.

The Fetzenflieger

But for the former motorcycle racer, an enclosed car was clearly insufficient. In the early 1950s, Mathé began constructing a small open-wheel racecar. Based around a combination of Volkswagen and Porsche components, the car was originally powered by a 1.5-liter Porsche Spyder engine, and weighed just 395 kilograms. In motorcycle terms, that is about 85% of the weight of a Harley-Davidson Road Glide.

The diminutive racer was known as « The Fetzenflieger, » literally « tatter-flinger, » thanks to its white cloth side-panels which were often blown apart by backfires. The car proved to be a force to be reckoned with in competition. It featured a mid-engined layout, low center of gravity, and an extremely short wheelbase. The addition of a Fuhrmann engine from a 356A Carrera GT made the car even more potent.

Like his earlier Type 64 and 356, the car featured a shifter to the left of the driver. While this did allow Mathé to shift with his good hand, he had to use his right shoulder to brace the steering wheel while steering. This peculiar posture made him a fixture at European events.

Mathé primarily used the Fetzenflieger for sand and ice racing, though he also made fenders, lights, and a spare tire carrier. These additions allowed the Tatter Flinger to compete in on-road events as well as circuit events.

Following years of competition success, Mathé ultimately retired from racing, passing in 1995 at 98 years old.

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