With a spectacular charge through the field in torrential rain, Porsche works drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) secured second place with the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Manthey Racing. Over a long stretch, their teammates Richard Lietz (Austria), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) were also on track for a podium spot with the customer sports racer from Weissach, but ultimately clinched fifth place at the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. In hot and humid weather with temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius, Richard Lietz took off into Asia’s most important long distance race from pole position. However, the Austrian, who last year won the FIA World Endurance Cup as the most successful GT driver, was beaten off the line by Earl Bamber. The 2015 overall Le Mans winner had taken up the race from directly behind his teammate on the third grid spot. This did not stop him from winning the sprint to the first corner and snatching the lead position in a top-class field of cars of 13 manufacturers. Bamber has lived in Malaysia for many years and has contested many races in Asia, making the 5.543-kilometre Grand Prix circuit on the outskirts of the capital Kuala Lumpur practically his home track. 

After taking over the wheel of the 912 contender from Richard Lietz, Frédéric Makowiecki used the restart after the first safety car phase an hour into the race to manoeuvre himself into second place. The number 911 car continued to defend the lead spot, now with Nick Tandy at the wheel, who had won Le Mans with Earl Bamber. Later, the two 911 GT3 treated spectators to a spectacular fight against the best Ferrari. When heavy rain set in after four-and-a-half hours of racing, they lost their one-two positions during the pit stop and while switching to wets. After five hours, the #911 was sitting second, with the #912 on fourth.

Richard Lietz launched a breathtaking charge through the pack

Two unscheduled pit stops over the course of the race cost additional time: First, the brakes had to be changed on Frédéric Makowiecki’s 911 GT3 R, and two hours later – with the field again running on slicks – the brakes were also changed on Earl Bamber’s car. As a result, he also lost his podium ranking and was now lying fourth, just one place ahead of his teammate Richard Lietz. But on his home track, this was simply not good enough for Bamber. At the restart, after another safety car phase and with two hours to go, he launched a breathtaking charge through the pack, and carved his way spectacularly through deep water on the track. First, he swept past the fastest Ferrari, then the Audi running in second, to net another podium result for Porsche at the final race of the season. 

The 911 GT3 R, which was designed in Weissach for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car, successfully concluded its first season in Sepang. The maiden race outing of the Porsche 911 GT3 R featuring the new, ultra-modern four-litre flat-six engine with direct fuel injection was in January at the Daytona 24-hour race. Afterwards, the racer celebrated successes in many international racing series, including the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the World Challenge as well as the Nürburgring VLN Long Distance Championship on the demanding Nordschleife.

Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet (l-r), Porsche works driver, Intercontinental GT Challenge, Sepang, 2016, Porsche AG
Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy und Patrick Pilet (l-r) at season finale

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