At the long-distance classic in the Ardennes, the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the KÜS Team75 Bernhard team made it through the night without any problems. Drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) put in a flawless drive with the #117 car on the storied 7.004-kilometre racetrack and now lie in a promising position. After having completed the compulsory five minute technical pit stop, the 500 hp customer sport racer is clearly on track for a podium spot. The Manthey-Racing squad was less lucky with the sister car. The Porsche 911 GT3 R (#911) lost contact to the top through extensive repairs in the pits. Drivers Romain Dumas (France), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) will now try to regain positions during the last third of the race.
Putting in a strong team effort, Black Swan Racing has secured a place in the leading group of the Pro-Am-class. Tim Pappas (USA), Marc Miller (USA), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) and Marc Lieb (Germany) are looking good for a top three finish with their Porsche 911 GT3 R (#540). After technical problems, Herberth Motorsport (#991) has fallen back in the Am-class and has little chance of securing the podium spot that the German squad had hoped for.
A total of 221 drivers and 63 vehicles tackle this year’s 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Thirteen manufacturers are represented at the 70th edition of the Ardennes marathon, which is regarded as the largest and most important GT3 event in the world.
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “We were able to improve during the night and match the pace of the frontrunners. The KÜS Team75 Bernhard has completed the technical pit stop and hence is looking good for a podium spot. Now we have to continue working without any hiccups and try to get further ahead. Black Swan Racing has delivered a breathtaking fight during the night and also has its sights set on a podium spot.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 GT3 R #117): “I had a couple of rather tough fights with other cars out on the track. Then came the caution phase, which gave us the opportunity to do our compulsory technical pit stop. That’s great, because our car is very fast. Now we can make our way further up the ranks – the race is still long.”
Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “We had a problem with the car during the night and had to spend time in the pits for repairs. That cost us a lot of time. Now we aim to make up a few places and finish the race without any mishaps.”
Tim Pappas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #540): “That was a long night and we did our best. Unfortunately we lost some time during a pit stop. But we still have a few hours left and we’ll keep fighting for a podium place.”