Manthey #Porsche: undignified end to Nürburgring 24

Nurburgring 24-Hour was an intense weekend: I’m home almost 24 hours and am far from recovered. This Kremer car remains one of my favourites: lifting a wheel out of turn two, lap after lap. A stiffly-sprung 911 may not be the fastest and this was worth the 9-minute wait between passes.

Carrera Cup Deutschland again supplied what must be the best Porsche racing anywhere: equal 911s thrashed around the Nurburgring is truly a battle of man and machine. The 24-Hour itself was thrilling. And killing.

After keeping tabs on a luscious blue McLaren MP4 race car early on, it disappeared from view. I thought maybe a technical problem, but see this video at 3 minutes for the answer. Falken Porsche had their own scenery visit – more of that anon – but Manthey gets the wooden spoon this time around.

The Nurburg-based 911s were beautiful to watch for lap after lap. I don’t know how they lived with the pace of the Z4 and Audis, which have much bigger engines, but Marc Lieb and team managed to keep their car close to the front, in sight of the podium.

During the night, Lucas Luhr slid off track and wiped out a headlight. That was repaired and they had a puncture, which tore off a brake hose. More time lost, but mostly through bad luck. The car had a faulty sensor which was causing slow restarts from hot. This was to prove the biggest problem.

As the end of the race approached, the car was perilously low on fuel. Driver Romain Dumas was forced to slow, so the clock would reach 24 hours while he was still running, and the car would be classified. As the 911 approached the start/finish line, it cut out and could not be easily restarted.

While Dumas cranked the engine, a Clio driver coming to the end of his race looked to the pit wall for team mates. In the emotion of the moment, the crawling 911 was missed until it was too late: the Clio crunched into the Manthey car, and that was the end of that.

Exits don’t come much more unceremonious than this video. There was some good news though – more of that later.