Porsche has finished the ten-hour race at Suzuka (Japan) on the podium. Dirk Werner (Germany), Matt Campbell (Australia) and Dennis Olsen (Norway) mounted a charge back up the order that ultimately netted them third place at the flag. Putting in a flawless drive, the pilots of the number 912 car fielded by Absolute Racing were able to make up places thanks to the tactics of their team. Japan’s Team LM corsa celebrated a podium finish in the Pro-Am category.
The winning driver trio from the season-opener at Bathurst (Australia) took up the endurance race on the Japanese Formula 1 circuit from twelfth on the grid. In bright sunshine and temperatures of about 30 degrees Celsius, the crew made up several places in the opening stages of the race. Shortly before half distance, the 500+hp GT3 vehicle from Weissach joined the leading pack. Even a fluke collision with a lapped car couldn’t stop Werner, Campbell and Olsen on their battle back up the order. After ten hours of racing, the trio was just 3.430 seconds adrift of the second-placed car.
The two Frenchmen Romain Dumas and Mathieu Jaminet together with Sven Müller (Germany) made up even more places than their Porsche colleagues during the ten-hour race. The trio took up the race with their Earl Bamber Motorsport (EBM) Porsche 911 GT3 R from 24th on the grid. A faultless drive brought the car fielded by the Bathurst (Australia) winning squad to 13th place at the chequered flag. After losing a lap with a flat tyre in the first half of the race, a few incidents and only two caution phases offered limited tactical options for fighting back through the field.
In the Pro-Am category the Team LM corsa finished on the podium after a strong effort. Japan’s Juichi Waisaka, Kei Nakanishi and Shigekazu Wakisaka finished third in class with the number 60 Porsche 911 GT3 R (24th overall). Andrew MacPherson, Ben Porter and Brad Shiels from Australia were hampered by bad luck. In the opening phase of the race, the Porsche 911 GT3 R (997) with starting number 51 slipped down the field after an accident and spent an hour of repairs in the pits to finish 31st overall.
In the manufacturers’ classification of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, Porsche ranks second before the season finale in Kyalami (South Africa) on November 23. The Bathurst winners Dirk Werner, Matt Campbell, and Dennis Olsen rank fourth in the drivers’ classification ten points adrift of the leaders before the final race in South Africa.
Comments on the race
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “In a true cliff-hanger final we battled for second place which we missed by a tiny margin. But third is still a good result. In all four races of this season we made it to the podium. This is strong testimony to the versatility and reliability of the Porsche 911 GT3 R. Today we collected important points for the championship and we will be back to fight in the final round at Kyalami.”
Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “I am delighted with our podium finish at Suzuka. For us drivers, for Porsche and the Absolute Racing team this is a great result. We reaped the rewards for a strong showing in the race. In the last round of the season we’ll do everything to advance in the championship. It’s not going to be easy, but that’s what makes this fiercely contested championship so attractive.”
Dennis Olsen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “We pulled out all stops, and third place is a great result. This was our best racing over ten hours with lots of duels and exhausting stints. Our 911 GT3 R ran like clockwork over the entire distance. This podium finish is the reward for a strong showing.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “We definitely didn’t have the fastest car, but thanks to good tactics and a faultless drive we made it up the order. Our car was very constant during the race, even under the difficult conditions and the heat, the tyres lasted well. From start to finish we didn’t have the slightest technical problem. In the last stint I tried very hard, but second place was just not possible.”
Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “Unfortunately our qualifying didn’t go well, so we had to start from far down the grid. In the opening stages we fought back up the order to 10th place, but then a damaged tyre cost us dearly. We couldn’t do more today, but it’s great that one Porsche made it to the podium.”
Sven Müller (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “To make it up the order from 24th on the grid to 13th at the flag is good. Our chances were minimized through the disappointing qualifying. But over the ten hours the car got faster and faster. Overall this was one of the most difficult races of the year for me. Still, I had fun. It was great to be back in Japan, where I spent two great years of my career. The fans were very enthusiastic as always, and we had a few nice duels during the race.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “This was a difficult ten hour race for us. But in the end we’ve got to say, we made no mistakes and got the most out of our possibilities. During the race we made up more than ten places, and this was all that was possible. Moreover, we had bad luck with the tyre damage. So we can live with this final result.”
01. D. Vanthoor/van der Linde/Vervisch (B/ZA/B), Audi R8 MS GT3, 275 laps
02. Marciello/Buhk/Engel (I/D/D), Mercedes AMG GT3, 275 laps
03. Campbell/Olsen/Werner (AUS/N/), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 275 laps
13. Dumas/Jaminet/Müller (F/F/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 273 laps
24. Wakisaka/Wakisaka/Nakanishi (J/J/J), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 263 laps
31. MacPherson/Porter/Shiels (AUS/AUS/AUS), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 227 laps