Porsche Team Manthey top Le Mans test day
The traditional Le Mans test day proved a bittersweet affair for Porsche Team Manthey as the works race team put its two 911 RSRs and six factory drivers through their paces during eight hours of running on the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The #92 machine of Marco Holzer, Richard Lietz, and Frédéric Makowieki topped the GTE-Pro timesheets at the end of a productive test day, with the latter setting a fastest lap of 3m57.260s in the afternoon session.
This placed the #92 911 RSR just under two tenths of a second ahead of 8 Star Motorsport’s GTE-Am class Ferrari 458, which set a blisteringly fast time with Paolo Ruberti at the wheel.
However, while one Porsche Team Manthey car was enjoying a successful test, the #91 entry of Jörg Bermeister, Patrick Pilet, and Nick Tandy was less fortunate after an incident towards the end of the morning session curtailed their running.
Bergmeister was forced to run through the gravel in order to avoid a spinning car at the Ford Chicane. After hitting a kerb hard, the Porsche 911 RSR took off, with the damage caused upon landing leading the team to pull out of the afternoon session.
“It didn’t make sense to do the repairs here,” explained Head of Porsche Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen. “We’ll take a good look at it when we get home, after all, we want to drive this car in a fortnight at the 24 hour race.”
This left the #91 machine in 13th across all GTE runners after the morning session before dropping down to 22nd as the majority of GTE-Pro and GTE-Am competitors went faster during the afternoon’s track action.
In the GTE-Am class the #88 Proton Competition 991 RSR wound up eighth, while the similar Dempsey Racing car (run in conjunction with Proton) finished the day 11th with Patrick Dempsey, Joey Foster, and Patrick Long taking to the wheel.
The two GTE-Am-class 911 RSRs were split by Prospeed Competition’s older 997 GT3 RSR which, with stalwart Emmanuel Collard and Francois Perodo on driving duties, set a time good enough for ninth.