The three best-placed Porsche customer teams will take up tomorrow’s 24-hour race on the Spa-Franchorchamps Grand Prix circuit from positions three, six and 14. In the Super Pole session on Friday evening, the former Porsche Junior Klaus Bachler set a lap time of 2:16.446 minutes. At the first of his two attempts, the Austrian planted the 911 GT3 R from Dinamic Motorsport on the second grid row. He was just 0.22 seconds shy of the pole position on the 7.004-kilometre racetrack. Bachler shares the ca. 368 kW (500 PS) GT3 racing car with his fellow countryman Thomas Preining and Frenchman Côme Ledogar.
The second-best result for Porsche was achieved by works driver Kévin Estre: The Frenchman lapped the Circuit de Spa in GPX Racing’s 911 as the sixth fastest with a time of 2:16.702 minutes. With his teammates Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Richard Lietz (Austria), Estre won the 24-hour classic in Belgium for GPX in 2019. Germany’s Sven Müller, another former Porsche Junior, concluded the shootout of the 20 fastest qualifiers in 14th. He shares driving duties in the 911 GT3 R campaigned by Toksport WRT with Marvin Dienst from Germany and Julien Andlauer from France.
In the four-part qualifying on Thursday evening, the factory squad trio Matt Campbell from Australia, Mathieu Jaminet (France) and Felipe Nasr from Brazil missed out on a spot in the top-20 by just 0.25 seconds in EMA Motorsport’s racer. The fifth Porsche in the Pro category is helmed by Dennis Olsen from Norway, Nick Tandy from England and works driver Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium. They had to abandon their qualifying attempt with the 911 GT3 R from KCMG due to a brake problem and now take up the race from the 64th grid spot. Nico Menzel and Stefan Aust (both Germany), Belgium’s Alessio Picariello and Niki Leutwiler from Switzerland secured the second starting position in the Pro-Am class with the No. 24 car entered by Herberth Motorsport. Florian Latorre (France), Alex Malykhin (UK), Julien Apothéloz (CH) and the ex-Porsche Junior Ayhancan Güven from Turkey tackle the Gold Cup class for Allied Racing from P4.
The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is one of the world’s most important events for GT3 racing vehicles. At this year’s race, Porsche is represented more strongly than ever before: Nine customer teams field a total of 13 ca. 368 kW (500 PS) 911 GT3 R racing cars. The sports car manufacturer has set its sights on winning the endurance classic for the third time since 2019. The year after Estre, Christensen and Lietz won, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), New Zealander Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy from the UK crossed the finish line in first place with the 911 GT3 R run by Rowe Racing. To date, Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps eight times. The motor racing classic on the famous “Ardennes rollercoaster” has been held since 1924.
Comments on the Super Pole
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “That was a very successful performance from our customer teams in the Super Pole session – particularly from Dinamic Motorsport: Klaus Bachler turned two flying laps with a difference of just a few hundredths of a second – it couldn’t be more perfect. Kévin Estre put in a strong drive, too. All in all, our three cars are very well positioned. We can be satisfied with this result. We’re all feeling very confident for the race – now let’s get going!”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3 R #54): “I felt privileged to be given the chance to the drive Super Pole session. Third is a great result. We’ve scored a commendable grid spot for the race and we’re very excited to begin. But in the race, we have to be strong over the whole distance. The balance has to be right. Plus, we have to drive flawlessly and avoid penalties and incidents. If everything goes smoothly, we could be at the front at the flag.”
Sven Müller (Porsche 911 GT3 R #100): “The Super Pole was great fun. It was an honour to drive this session for my team. Unfortunately, our stars didn’t quite align. I’d hoped for more. Still, P14 is a good place to start from. Our team is very strong and our car ran extremely well in the long run during yesterday’s night practice. We’re looking forward to a long and exciting race.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 GT3 R #221): “It wasn’t a perfect lap but it was definitely pretty good – I could’ve found the odd hundredths of a second here and there but to be honest, we didn’t have what it takes to be on pole today. So, I’m pretty happy: We didn’t try anything special for the Super Pole session. We just wanted to do our best, and that worked. We’re now facing a long race and we have to stay out of trouble. In light of this, it’s good to start from the top 10.”
Super Pole result:
1. Pepper/Caldarelli/Mapelli (RSA/MC/CH), Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo #6, 2:16.221 Minuten
2. Marciello/Juncadella/Gounon (CH/E/F), Mercedes-AMG GT3 #88, 2:16.375 Minuten
3. Bachler/Ledogar/Preining (A/F/A), Porsche 911 GT3 R #54, 2:16,446 Minuten
6. Estre/Christensen/Lietz (F/DK/A), Porsche 911 GT3 R #221, 2:16,702 Minuten
14. Andlauer/Dienst/Müller (F/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #100, 2:17,030 Minuten
Other qualifying results:
22. Campbell/Jaminet/Nasr (AUS/F/BR), Porsche 911 GT3 R #74, 2:18.090 minutes
38. Malykhin/Apothéloz/Latorre/Güven (UK/CH/F/TR), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 2:18.806 minutes
46. Roda/Calamia/Nakken/Pedersen (I/CH/N/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #56, 2:19.177 minutes
49. Leutwiler/Aust/Picariello/Menzel (CH/D/B/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #24, 2:19.312 minutes
53. Au/Tse/Pereira/Evans (HK/MAC/L/NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 2:19.996 minutes
54. Bhirombhakdi/Hamon/Sathienthirakul/Bamber (T/F/T/NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R #39, 2:20.077 minutes
55. Fischli/Sturm/Matthiesen/Andronaco (CH/D/DK/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #22, 2:20.356 minutes
60. Da Silva/B. Grove/S. Grove/Payne (MAL/AUS/AUS/NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R #16, 2:21.908 minutes
64. Tandy/Vanthoor/Olsen (UK/B/N), Porsche 911 GT3 R #47
NC Bohn / A. Renauer / R. Renauer (D/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #911