Porsche customer team KCMG fights for a top place after a strong recovery
Porsche 911 GT3 R, KCMG (#47), Nick Tandy (UK), Laurens Vanthoor (B), Dennis Olsen (N)
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- Laurens Vanthoor, Dennis Olsen and Nick Tandy reach the top 3 in the 24-hour race after starting from the last place on the grid
- Works driver trio Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Felipe Nasr lose contact with the leaders after an accident caused by another competitor
- The endurance classic on the Belgian “Ardennes rollercoaster” finishes at 4.45 pm CEST
KCMG’s 911 has written history at this year’s 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps: Porsche works driver Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium, Englishman Nick Tandy and Norway’s Dennis Olsen had to start the race from the very back of the grid after a problem in qualifying. Thanks to their steady pace and flawless drive combined with a clever strategy, they systematically worked their way up the order. After making it through the long night, the trio finally took the lead for the first time at 7 am. Heading into the final quarter of the race, they are among the favourites for a top result.
The 911 GT3 R fielded by EMA Motorsport also put in a strong recovery drive: After six hours of racing, the car shared by Matt Campbell from Australia, the Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet and Felipe Nasr from Brazil was thrown down the field to P26 by a puncture. However, the three factory drivers managed to remain in the same lap as the frontrunners and worked their way back up through the field. A well-timed fuel stop early in an FCY at around 2 am catapulted the EMA car into the top 3. After being rear-ended by a rival a good six hours before the flag, the No. 74 car had to pit for repairs. This cost them six laps and robbed them of a chance for a top result.
Misfortune also struck the three 911 GT3 R campaigned by Herberth Motorsport. The No. 9 and 911 cars had to retire early due to damages caused by accidents. The third car driven by Nico Menzel (Germany), Alessio Picariello (Belgium), Niki Leutwiler (Switzerland) and Stefan Aust (Germany) led the Pro-Am class for a long stretch. A trip into the gravel shortly before the 18-hour mark and a problem during a pit stop threw the 911 out of the classification. At around 2 am, the No. 16 Porsche of Earl Bamber Motorsport crashed at the Blanchimont corner, causing the race to be interrupted for a good hour. Driver Matthew Payne from Australia escaped relatively unscathed.
During the subsequent safety car phase, Richard Lietz had to park the tenth-placed GPX Racing’s entry with an engine problem. The Austrian had fought for the lead with his works driver teammates Kévin Estre from France and Michael Christensen from Denmark. Dinamic Racing’s No. 54 car was also running among the leading pack for a long time. The consequences of a collision threw them out of the race shortly after midnight.
Live streaming of the event
The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps counts towards the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup and the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC). Drivers and vehicles receive points towards the GT World Challenge after six, twelve and 24 hours. The race is streamed live on the website www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com.
Comments after 18 hours:
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “We headed into the night in good spirits – many of our Porsche were in the top 10, but then we gradually lost vehicles. First, the GPX Racing car had an engine failure. We’re still investigating the cause. Then Herberth Motorsport lost a car in an accident. At the restart, the 911 GT3 R from EMA was shunted while running in the top 3. The lengthy repair cost the car all chances of victory. The number 24 car was also sent into a spin in a restart situation. At that point, it had comfortably led the Pro-Am class for several hours. After a brief pit stop and check, it lost a wheel and the car had to retire. Still, we’re looking ahead: we still have an iron in the fire with KCMG. After the car started from the last spot on the grid, we want to turn the race into something positive and fight for a podium result.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 GT3 R #47): “We and the Ferrari are implementing different strategies compared to the Mercedes and the BMW, who we’re fighting against. Ultimately, we’ll see which strategy brings more advantages. But it’ll be tough because our rivals are also very fast.”
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Interim report 2, Intercontinental GT Challenge, Round 2, 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium): Porsche customer team KCMG fights for a top place after a strong recovery