02/03/2018

Best 911 GT3 R on the fifth grid row

Putting in a strong performance in qualifying for the 12-hour race at Bathurst/Australia, Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell secured a good starting position for his Competition Motorsports team.

Qualifying

In the Porsche 911 GT3 R, designed in Weissach by Porsche Motorsport for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car, the local hero Matt Campbell (Australia) initially posted the fifth quickest qualifying time. In the Top 10 Shootout amongst the best, he then set the tenth fastest time and thus takes up the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge on Sunday from the fifth grid row on the legendary 6.213-kilometre Mount Panorama Circuit. His teammates are Patrick Long (USA) as well as Australians David Calvert-Jones and Alex Davison. Last year, Matt Campbell scored second overall and won the Pro-Am class with this team.

Three other Porsche teams field the 911 GT3 R in the strongly supported 12-hour race on the storied racetrack at the foothills of the Blue Mountains in the state of New South Wales. The two-time Le Mans winner and reigning long distance world champion Earl Bamber (New Zealand), who shares the cockpit of the #991 Porsche campaigned by Craft Bamboo Racing with Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Kévin Estre (France), claimed the 18th spot in qualifying. In the 911 GT3 R run by Black Swan Racing, Timothy Pappas (USA), Marc Lieb (Germany), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) and Luca Stolz (Germany) secured the 25th spot. 26th on the grid is occupied by Romain Dumas (France), Dirk Werner (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France), who compete for Manthey-Racing.

Class B pole position went to Grove Motorsport with the 911 GT3 Cup, shared by Ben Barker (Great Britain) with Australians Stephen und Brenton Grove. On second is the 911 GT3 Cup run by the Carrera Cup Asia squad with Paul Tresidder (Australia), Chris van der Drift (New Zealand) as well as Andrew Tang and Chen Yi-Fan from China.

After the 24-hour classics at Dubai and Daytona, the Bathurst 12 Hour is the third major endurance race of the season. The event is gaining in popularity from year to year and attracts more and more manufacturers from Europe. Lining up to contest the top A class aside from Porsche are Audi, Bentley, BMW, Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG.

Qualifying results

Top 10 Shootout qualifying result
1. Farfus/Mostert/Wittmann (BRA/AUS/D), BMW M6, 2:01.934 minutes
2. Van der Linde/Tander/Vervisch (ZA/AUS/B), Aud R8, + 0.235 seconds
3. Haase/Mies/Winkelhock (D/D/D), Audi R8, + 0.500
10. Long/Campbell/Calvert-Jones/Davison (USA/AUS/AUS/AUS), Porsche 911 GT3 R + 3.177

Qualifying result
18. Bamber/Estre/Vanthoor (NZ/F/B), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.606 seconds
25. Pappas/Lieb/Bleekemolen/Stolz (USA/D/NL/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.338
26. Dumas/Werner/Makowiecki (F/D/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.643

The race

The 12-hour race serves as the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Porsche supports international customer teams in their campaign with the 911 GT3 R by providing works drivers and engineers. The squads tackling Bathurst are Manthey-Racing, Craft Bamboo Racing and Competition Motorsports. With seven factory pilots and a Young Professional, these teams will contest the top class against stiff opposition from Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG. Four races on four continents make up the Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar. At the season-opener on the storied Australian racetrack, 60 vehicles line up to compete in various categories, amongst them eleven Porsche 911 GT3 R, 911 GT3 Cup and Cayman GT4 Clubsport models.

One of the peculiarities of the race on the 6.213-kilometre Mount Panorama Circuit is the starting time: Traditionally, the field is sent on its 12-hour pursuit in the dark at 5.45 in the morning. The rollercoaster circuit nestled in the picturesque foothills of the Blue Mountains features 23 corners and gradients of up to 16 percent. For most of the year the storied racetrack, built as a part of an employment relief effort in the 1930s, serves as a public road.

The Porsche Drivers

Seven works drivers and one Young Professional tackle the Bathurst enduro event for Porsche customer teams driving the 911 GT3 R. The Manthey-Racing cockpit is shared by Romain Dumas (France), Dirk Werner (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). This trio will contest the entire season of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Driving for Craft Bamboo Racing are Earl Bamber (New Zealand), the outright Le Mans winner from 2015 and 2017, Kévin Estre (France) as well as Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), the 2016 winner of this racing series. Patrick Long (USA) and Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia) take up the challenge of this fascinating race for Competition Motorsports. These two won the Pro-Am class in 2017 and scored second in the overall classification.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R

The 911 GT3 R was designed by Porsche for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car. Mounted with the ultra-modern, four-litre flat-six engine with direct fuel injection, the customer sports racer celebrated its race debut in January 2016 at the Daytona 24-hour race. Since then, the racer has notched up victories in numerous international racing series, for example in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the World Challenge, the ADAC GT Masters, and at the Nürburgring VLN long distance championship on demanding Nordschleife.

The schedule

The Bathurst 12 Hour takes off on Sunday, 4 February, at 5:45 hrs local time (Saturday, 19:45 hrs CET). Outside Australia, the event can be viewed live on the Internet on www.bathurst12hour.com.au.

Qualifying quotes

Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars: “The two qualifying sessions didn’t run so well. Matt Campbell initially set P5, which demonstrated our speed. The fact that he made a slight error in the Top 10 Shootout doesn’t detract from his strong performance. It’s extremely tight amongst the frontrunners with 15 cars within a second. This shows just how close the competition is. Matt did such a great job and outlined the potential of the 911 GT3 R. Unfortunately, Earl Bamber only turned a few laps in the second qualifying. He made a tiny driving mistake which had immediate consequences on this track. As a result he wasn’t able to achieve a better time. It was even more difficult for Fred Makowiecki and so he’s even further down the field. Our teams will now focus fully on preparing for the race. They have a great deal of experience and I’m sure that they’ll manage to fight their way up the field over the 12 hours.”

Matt Campbell (911 GT3 R #12): “That was a very good qualifying for Competition Motorsports. To be the only Porsche squad to make it into the top 10 Shootout is a great achievement. Our 911 GT3 R is well balanced. We improved from one practice to the next on this difficult racetrack. Unfortunately I made a mistake early on in my shootout lap which cost me a lot of time and a better grid position. But this doesn’t affect our confidence for the race.”

Earl Bamber (911 GT3 R #991): “Unfortunately I went too wide, touched the wall and afterwards I had no chance to improve on my lap time. Our 911 GT3 R feels good and I think that we’ll be able to do more in the race tomorrow. I just feel a bit sorry for the boys in our team for the extra work I’ve caused them. I hope I can repay them for their hard work tomorrow.”

More quotes in the press release (see downloads).

Intercontinental GT Challenge

The Intercontinental GT Challenge is the world’s first racing series run for GT3 vehicles. It was founded in 2016 by the SRO Motorsports Group led by Stéphane Ratel. Porsche will not compete with a factory squad, but instead supports international customer teams in their campaign with the 911 GT3 R by providing works drivers and engineers. The 2018 calendar is made up of four races on four continents.

The 2018 races

04 February: Bathurst 12 Hour, Mount Panorama Circuit – Bathurst, Australia

28/29 July: 24 Hours of Spa, Circuit Spa-Francorchamps – Spa, Belgium

26 August: Suzuka 10 Hours, Suzuka International Racing Course – Suzuka, Japan

28 Oktober: Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Laguna Seca, USA

Consumption data

911 GT3 RS: Fuel consumption combined 12.7 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 296 g/km

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