The Porsche customer team KCMG concluded this year’s 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in seventh place. With Nick Tandy from the UK and Norway’s Dennis Olsen, works driver Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium turned heads with a sensational charge through the field: after experiencing problems in qualifying, the trio had to start the Belgian endurance classic from the 65th and last spot on the grid. At around 7 o’clock on Sunday morning, the three even snatched the lead with the ca. 368 kW (500 PS) 911 GT3 R after about 14 hours of racing. Ten hours later, Vanthoor, Tandy and Olsen crossed the finish line 1:13.409 minutes behind the winning Mercedes-AMG of Akkodis ASP.
As the second-best Porsche, the 911 GT3 R fielded by EMA Motorsport took the flag in P22. Works drivers Matt Campbell from Australia, Mathieu Jaminet from France and Felipe Nasr from Brazil were initially relegated down the field by a puncture a good six hours into the race. At around 2am, the three profited from a full course yellow and thanks to a flawless drive, rejoined the leading group. However, they had to bury their hopes when they were shunted by a rival after three-quarters of the race. The repairs that were needed cost them six laps to the leaders.
Position 25 went to the No. 56 Porsche 911 from Dinamic Motorsport, driven by Italy’s Giorgio Roda, Mauro Calamia from Switzerland, Norway’s Marius Nakken and Mikkel Pedersen from Denmark. Dominik Fischli (Switzerland), Patrik Matthiesen (Denmark) and the two Germans Joel Sturm and Vincent Andronaco crossed the finish line with the No. 22 Porsche campaigned by Allied Racing in P29. With Christophe Hamon from France and the two Thai drivers Piti Bhirombhakdi and Tanart Sathienthirakul, the New Zealander Earl Bamber concluded the race in 30th place. This result earned them third place in the Pro-Am classification. In this class, professional drivers share the cockpit with gentleman drivers. In 2015 and 2017, Bamber won the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the wheel of the 919 Hybrid as a Porsche works driver.
Comments after the race:
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “We came to Spa with big expectations and started the race with a large contingent of cars. We fought for top positions and overall victory with many cars in many classes. Ultimately, however, we didn’t achieve our goal. Now we have to look ahead. On the occasion of this great event, we presented our new racer for customer sport: the 992-generation 911 GT3 R. This GT3 vehicle will be raced in the coming year. We’re determined to bring the trophy back to Weissach that we won here in 2019 and 2020.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 GT3 R #47): “To be disappointed with a top-ten result underscores the ambitions of this team. It’s a bittersweet result: Yesterday started off extremely badly for us with our last grid position. Today, however, things looked promising. But in the end, our car lacked speed when the air temperature rose. We can be proud of our performance over the whole race weekend: the Porsche 911 GT3 R ran without problems and the team’s pit stops worked perfectly. We drivers did everything we could without making any major mistakes. All in all, I’m very happy with our performance.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #74): “Our race was disappointing. We tackled the event with high expectations and things just didn’t go our way. We had problems with the vehicle setup and couldn’t find the right balance over the whole distance. That’s why we couldn’t maintain the pace of the other Porsche. Still, we fought hard and did the best we could. Even we were a little surprised when we made it into the top five a good six hours before the flag – at that point, things still looked promising for a good result. Unfortunately, a rival made a braking error before the last chicane and hit our car. We lost six laps due to repairs. That essentially put an end to our race.”
1. Marciello/Juncadella/Gounon (CH/E/F), Mercedes-AMG GT3 #88, 536 laps
2. Götz/Schothorst/Stolz (D/NL/D), Mercedes-AMG GT3 #2, 536 laps
3. Rigon/Serra/Fuoco (I/BR/I), Ferrari 488 GT3 #71, 536 laps
7. Tandy/Vanthoor/Olsen (UK/B/N), Porsche 911 GT3 R #47, 536 laps
22. Campbell/Jaminet/Nasr (AUS/F/BR), Porsche 911 GT3 R #74, 529 laps
25. Roda/Calamia/Nakken/Pedersen (I/CH/N/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #56, 527 laps
29. Fischli/Sturm/Matthiesen/Andronaco (CH/D/DK/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R #22, 526 laps
30. Bhirombhakdi/Hamon/Sathienthirakul/Bamber (T/F/T/NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R #39, 526 laps