Strong debut for new Porsche 911 GT3 R at Nordschleife
The Porsche 991 GT3 R enjoyed a strong outing on its race debut at the ninth round of the 2015 VLN series. 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki took the new FIA GT3 class racer to third place overall in the four-hour race around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
After a promising showing in practice, Makowiecki and Tandy qualified the new 911 GT3 R in tenth, the second fastest Porsche 911 in the field (behind the Manthey Racing 997 GT3 RSR) in what was only Tandy’s seventh competitive outing around the Nürburgring’s fearsome north loop.
Starting the race, Tandy was quickly up to his normal tricks, moving through the field on the opening lap to take eighth place before snatching another position on the second tour of the 15.1-mile ‘Green Hell’.
By the time Makowiecki took the wheel for the first time, Tandy had reached fourth place in the new 991 GT3 R, running the old Mezger flat six rather than the new 4.0-litre DFI engine (that continues to undergo tests in Weissach and the US).
Through the middle of four-hour race, the no. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R (resplendent in a camouflage livery) flirted with the fringes of the top six before moving into a podium position in the final stages of the 2015 VLN’s penultimate event.
Back at the wheel for a second stint, Makowiecki eventually crossed the line in third place overall, winning SPX class (for experimental cars) and finishing as one of just six cars left on the lead lap.
In its first endurance test, designed to gather data on the new suspension and chassis, the Porsche team were understandably delighted with the result, despite “pure performance” not being a priority according to motorsport boss, Frank-Steffen Walliser.
“Our new car is already at very high level of development,” Tandy enthused afterwards. “Even though the result from our test run wasn’t in the foreground, I am very happy being on the podium. I had great fun with this car.”
Elsewhere in the race, Earl Bamber helped the ProSport Performance Cayman to first place in the production V5 class as the Kiwi Le Mans winner continued to work towards a Nordschleife licence that will allow him to race GT3-spec machinery around the ‘Ring.
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