The Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Manthey-Racing team finished round one of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza without earning points. A technical defect in the early stages of the three-hour race made it impossible for the three Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas (France), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) to compete amongst the frontrunners.
The German-French trio contested the category solely for professional driver pairings. In sunshine and warm summer temperatures, the 54-strong field from twelve different manufacturers took off on the 5.793 kilometre Formula 1 racetrack on the outskirts of Milan.
In qualifying, which was based on the average lap times, the driver crew of Dumas, Makowiecki and Werner posted 18th. When the start driver Dumas suddenly lost pace about 20 minutes after the race took off, the trio were unable to improve on their ranking. A faulty sensor in the gearbox area forced the former overall Le Mans winner into an unscheduled pit stop. Repairs cost the squad 23 laps, which resulted in the #911 vehicle finally crossing the finish line 45th overall.
In addition to Manthey-Racing, a second Porsche customer team, Herberth Motorsport from Germany, will contest all five races of this year’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. The all-German line-up of Jürgen Häring, Edward-Lewis Brauner and Wolfang Triller secured fourth place in the amateur category for gentlemen drivers in the ca. 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Round two of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup will take place on 20 May in Great Britain. Competitors will tackle a three-hour race on the storied British racetrack in Silverstone.
Comments after the race
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars): “Such a race is disappointing, of course, but even in qualifying the car certainly wasn’t where one wants it to be. Ultimately, the team has gained experience that can be built on for the next races. I must say, though, that the atmosphere here in the paddock is as thrilling as the impressive grid and the extremely close competition. This series is appealing, particularly for customer racers, because they get a lot of track time and the regulations keep the costs low.”
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “Towards the middle of his stint, Romain Dumas couldn’t change gears anymore and had to come into the pits. We discovered that a sensor in the gearbox was the cause. After the team fixed the problem the car could rejoin the race. In the race analysis it’ll be important to take a close look at the performance of the tyres. If the team can draw conclusions for the set-up, the qualifying will probably go better next time. However, the procedures over the race weekend all went smoothly, which is very positive with a view to the next race at Silverstone.”
Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “I didn’t take any risks at the start so that I could make it through the first corner unscathed. The defect, however, threw us out of contention early in the fight for positions. For the next race we need to qualify further up the grid. I like the qualifying format, and I believe that we have a very good and balanced driver line-up that can stand up to the other strong drivers in the field.”
The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup
The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup is reserved for race cars that comply with FIA GT3 regulations. Storied racetracks, cost-effective conditions of participation and equality in terms of technology thanks to the Balance of Performance form the framework of this customer-oriented championship. The season highlight, the 24 Hours of Spa, is also part of the global Intercontinental GT Challenge, in which Porsche teams compete with the 911 GT3 R. SRO Motorsports Group organises both series.