This weekend is the 2012 Nürburgring 24-Hour race. I’m there with Falken Tyres Europe and in the garage with Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler, Peter Dumbreck, Martin Ragginger and Sebastian Asch.
As 170 cars take to the most famous racetrack in the world for the 2012 24-Hour, I’ll be attempting some live Porsche reportage through the weekend, via the Ferdinand Porsche Magazine Twitter feed, and blog posts with pics. It all depends on decent wi-fi availability, so fingers crossed for that.
One team that is bound to be in the news is Manthey Racing. Manthey (represented in the UK by JZM Porsche) will field four 911s with most of the Porsche works drivers amongst their pilots. This year, Manthey will not use the GT3 RSR, but the GT3 R. “Last year’s winning car has earned its place in the Porsche Museum,” says Olaf Manthey. “We will use two GT3 R (as lead cars). Both vehicles are cared for in Meuspath since 2010, and we have modified the cars over the winter to bring good performance, as the last VLN races have shown.”
Manthey’s leads cars run numbers 10 and 11. 10 is a Moskovskaya Pinstripes GT3 R, driven by works boys Marco Holzer, Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, alongside SuperBrit Nick Tandy. 11 is the Wochenspiegel Assist-liveried 911, piloted by Stuttgart’s own Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Romain Dumas, with former works driver Lucas Luhr also in the car. 12 and 14 are also run by Manthey: a GT3 MR and GT3 Cup respectively.
The team is guarded on this year’s chances. “We did win in VLN already, but that does not make us favourites for the 24-Hour,” says Marc Lieb. “The fast factory BMW, and factory-backed Audi R8 and Mercedes-AMG SLS show how close the GT3 competition. In changing conditions, the Z4 goes around corners as if on rails, until they arrive at the Döttinger Height so far ahead that you cannot challenge. Our advantage is the top speed on the straights and the fuel consumption. The 911 has a four-litre engine with six cylinders: the engine is the smallest among the top cars.”
This all sounds like sandbagging, but outright speed did not bring victory in last year’s race. Peerless reliability was Manthey’s route to victory. This year, their intention is identical. “For the 24-hour race, we check once every screw, every clip and every part, however small it may be,” says Olaf. “We started early with the complete routine inspections, well before our last VLN race. As for the typical Eifel weather, we are well sorted. Our company is located in the Rufreichweite Döttinger Height, and in 30 years based here, we have overcome every possible Nürburgring weather situation already.”
Last year’s 24-Hour really switched me on to modern Porsche motorsport: the Hybrid’s charge and the Carrera World Cup was the best racing I had seen in ages. Follow Ferdinand Porsche Magazine on Twitter, or track our updates here.