Larry ten Voorde has launched his title defence mission in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup by setting pole position at the season-opening round in Monte Carlo. In the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the Dutchman dominated the qualifying on the street circuit through the Principality. Several times over the 30-minute session, the GP Elite team driver managed to improve on his personal record. During his decisive lap, he clocked a time that was almost two seconds faster than the pole-setting time of 2019, when the international one-make cup last visited Monaco. “I drove a perfect lap and in some places even scrapped the guardrail slightly. But I was so gentle that the barrier didn’t punish me,” joked Ten Voorde.
Sharing the first grid row in second place is Jaxon Evans (Martinet by Alméras) from New Zealand. The third grid spot went to the best rookie and Evans’s teammate Dorian Boccolacci from France. Misfortune, on the other hand, plagued Dylan Pereira (BWT Lechner Racing). Last year’s vice-champion turned the fastest lap in free practice, however, in qualifying, the Luxembourger returned to the pits with a damaged radiator after hitting a barrier and had to abandon his qualifying attempt. As a consequence, Pereira has to take up the race from the last grid row.
The tradition-steeped street circuit of Monte Carlo is regarded as one of the most demanding racetracks in the world. The opening round of the 2021 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup throws additional challenges at team and drivers: For the first time in 29 years of Supercup history, the Principality at the Mediterranean serves as a backdrop for the season opener of the international one-make cup. Moreover, the racing vehicle – the ca. 375 kW (510 hp) Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Generation 992) – is new.
“We usually test on a new track prior to a race. This wasn’t possible in Monaco, so heading into the race we don’t have any data, for example, on the suspension setup,” explains Porsche Junior Ayhancan Güven (Turkey), who set the fifth quickest qualifying time. In this regard, teamwork is the answer. “I tried out different settings than Ayhancan in free practice,” declares Dylan Pereira, Güven’s teammate at BWT Lechner Racing. “We then compared the data from our two cars to find the ideal setup.”
In one aspect, all drivers agree: The new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which, compared to its predecessor, features a wider track on the front axle and has a rear wing that generates even more downforce, provides significantly more mechanical and aerodynamic grip. “Through the tunnel, for example, I go full throttle. That wasn’t possible with the previous 911 GT3 Cup,” explains polesetter Larry ten Voorde.
A decisive secret of a fast lap is to include the curbs in the ideal racing line. While Formula 1 drivers mostly have to avoid these artificial kerbs, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is more forgiving of a considerably more aggressive driving style. “You have to drive over the curbs, otherwise you’ll be too slow,” says Porsche Junior Güven. “The trick is to hit them at the right angle so that the car doesn’t get too unstable when landing.” The fact that all four wheels of the vehicles occasionally lift off is part of pushing the limit. “The new 911 GT3 Cup flies better than its predecessor,” Güven quickly discovered.
Qualifying Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup round 1, Monte Carlo (MC)
1. Larry ten Voorde (NL/Team GP Elite), 1:33.099 min.
2. Jaxon Evans (NZ/ Martinet by Alméras), +0.175 sec.
3. Dorian Boccolacci (F/Martinet by Alméras), +0.236 sec.
4. Christopher Zöchling (A/FACH AUTO TECH), +0.376 sec.
5. Ayhancan Güven (TR/BWT Lechner Racing), +0.487 sec.
6. Florian Latorre (F/CLRT), +0.611 sec.