• May 17th 2010 at 7:59AM
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Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

For the first 22 hours and 15 minutes of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid demonstrated pretty conclusively that being able to go 25 percent further on every tank of gas can be very beneficial in endurance racing. After running at the front of the 200 car pack in the first hour and then falling back with a tire puncture, the hybrid stormed back into the lead. From hour 14, the new flywheel-hybrid-equipped sportscar led the field for more than eight hours.

Unfortunately for the orange and white car, the internal combustion part of the powertrain packed it in with just over 100 minutes left in the race. It's not clear what the engine problem was, but the hybrid system developed by the Williams Formula One team apparently performed very well. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of this car starting this summer in the American Le Mans Series.

  • St9 Porsche Team Manthey; J�rg Bergmeister, Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer, Martin Ragginger; GT3 R Hybrid

[Source: Porsche]


Strong performance from Porsche teams – but no happy ending

Stuttgart. After four straight overall wins at the Nürburgring 24 Hours from 2006 to 2009, the Porsche teams once again performed brilliantly, but without the necessary luck. In an exciting and dramatic race which was hard to top, Porsche vehicles dominated the action over almost 15 hours.

Out of the series of retirements, the end of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid's eight hour lead was the disappointing lowlight. Up until this point the innovative race car from Weissach clearly proved that the hybrid technology developed by Porsche is very competitive in racing and at the same time considerably lowers fuel consumption.

After 22 hours and 15 minutes, the leading orange-and-white 911 GT3 R Hybrid retired with engine damage in the Metzgesfeld passage. "I heard a loud noise at the rear of the car and suddenly the power went," says Porsche works driver Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) describing the abrupt end of all hopes for victory.

Despite a disappointing race, Chairman of the Board at Porsche AG, Michael Macht, who visited the race on Sunday, came to a positive conclusion: "It wasn't enough for a win, but the Porsche hybrid technology clearly proved its potential at one of the world's toughest races. We will continue developing this innovative drive concept. That was certainly not the last race for a Porsche hybrid car."

Wolfgang Dürheimer, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG, gives an outlook to the future: "The 911 GT3 R Hybrid has proven that highest performance and a unique efficiency don't exclude each other. The vehicle shows the technological path to racing in the future."

The street-legal Porsche 911 GT3 RS, which had been driven to the Nürburgring from Weissach, greatly exceeded all expectations. Ex-DTM pilot Roland Asch (Germany), race driver and TV commentator Patrick Simon (Germany), as well as journalists Horst von Saurma (Germany) and Chris Harris (Great Britain) crossed the finish line in a 200-strong field ranking an exceptional 13th. "We're totally over the moon," grinned Asch. The German and his three teammates completed a total of 145 laps without any technical mishaps. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think a normal street car could not only keep up at such a demanding race but can also finish so far up the field. After this race there is no doubt the Porsche 911 GT3 RS is the best sports car in the world!"

The streak of bad luck that hit the 911 racing thoroughbreds began well before the retirement of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. Already after five hours, Chris Mamerow (Germany) retired after an accident with his 911 GT3 R of the Mamerow Racing squad. Two and a half hours later, a rival's accident abruptly punted the favourites for overall victory out of contention. The 911 GT3 R fielded by Manthey Racing and crewed by the winning team of the last four years had taken the lead in lap one and was running a clear first when a competitor crashed and spun across the track, hitting the Manthey vehicle. The heavy damages sustained by the 911 signalled an early end for the successful quartet with works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) as well as Manthey pilot Marcel Tiemann (Monaco).

Both the 911 GT3 R of the Wochenspiegel Team Manthey and the Haribo Team Manthey were forced to retire with damaged transmissions. The charge of the Wochenspiegel car was halted half way through the race. The Haribo vehicle was sidelined four and a half hours before the end.

Race result

1. Müller/Farfus/Alzen/Lamy (D/BR/D/P), BMW M3 GT2, 154 laps
2. Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen/Seefried (D/AUS/USA/D), Ferrari F430 GTC, + 3:54.1 minutes
3. Rostek/Ludwig/Bronzel/Winkelhock (D/D/D/D), Audi R8 LMS, + 1 laps
4. Hartung/Söderlund/Sandström/Öhlin (D/S/CH/S), BMW Z4 GT3, + 2
5. Jöns/Breslin/Stuck/Heyer (D/GB/A/D), Audi R8 LMS, + 2
6. Alzen/Schwager/Jäger/Bert (D/D/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S, + 3
7. Werner/Müller/Priaulx/Adorf (D/D/GB/D), BMW M3 GT2, + 4
8. Zehe/Schelp/Roloff/Bullitt (D/D/D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S, + 4
9. Aust/Adams/Übler/Grossmann (D/D/D/D), BMW Z4 GT3, + 5
10. Weiland/Forbes/Riemer/Horn (D/D/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 6
11. Gayday/Kruglyk/Basov/Schratz (UKR/UKR/R/D), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, + 7
12. Dumbreck/Schoysman/Tanaka/Hoshino (GB/D/J/J), Nissan Z33, + 9
13. Simon/von Saurma/Asch/Harris (D/D/D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RS, + 9

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, it wouldn't be endurance racing if you didn't test the durability. I'll bet the KERS will probably get more attention in next year's race, though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      racing should leave the combustion engine behind already.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jeff, if you don't like to be perceived as mindless in certain contexts then perhaps try to apply your mind when prompted. again, try to see that all car racing can and should easily and instantly be converted to battery swap pure electric. starting with formula 1. think when I ask you to. most if not all the time I really know what I'm talking about.

        as for hybrid having a place, sure, absolutely. in daily traffic. not in racing though. I am a big proponent of the range extended EV for road transport. but for racing it should be battery swap, because it can work and more importantly because if you use a REEV for racing then it will very quickly just becomes a combustion engine car. I am right. as always :)
        easy way to always be right? when you think I'm wrong, take the few seconds to think about how it is that I am actually right instead. simple : )

        I ride a bicycle too. I don't have a car. I have too little money to build an EV but I have been promoting this concept that I've designed: www.zev.dk a concept that is of course brilliant because I made it : )

        what kind of cars do you design? who do you work for? got site?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen,
        I looked up "utter asshole" in Wiktionary, and 'Dan Frederiksen' is the second definition! You achieve NOTHING beyond the masturbatory pleasure of seeing your own tough fightin' words when you repeatedly and predictably insult everyone and anyone when they don't agree with your precise vision of the future. More invective and yet more mind-numbingly repetitive verbiage on your pet theory isn't going to make a damn bit of difference to the world.

        If you really want to make a difference then change your ways or help the planet by killing yourself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        jeff, sigh. think a little
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jeff, nice. consider building this www.zev.dk
        I can finish the model and you can build it with no strings attached or make your own variation. it would be the first university in the world to do something intelligent in cars if you did.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "jeff, sigh. think a little"

        That's our Dan.

        So I'm going to guestimate that in racing, average power draw will be on the order of 100kW (for comparison, the eBox uses about 25 kW cruising at a constant 60mph). So if you have a 30 kWh battery, you'll be swapping batteries about every 20 minutes, so roughly 75 times in a 24 hour race.
        Who'd get tired of that?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Then it would not be endurance racing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        why not? you can swap batteries. of course for a 24 hour race that would be a lot of swaps and require high power charging. but can be done. should be done
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan: "think"

        You should have recognized by now that nobody on this web-site, and probably nobody in the world other than you is capable of rational thought.

        It's amazing that you have the patience to continually exhort us to exceed our capabilities as you do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan, as I said, I build electric race cars. I just got back from an international competition that I've won twice in the past. Trust me, i think a lot. The ICE is indeed on its way out, but it's not going to happen over night, and for very good reasons. The fact is that even with the best of today's technology, we're not ready to satisfy 100% of our transportation needs with pure electric vehicles. Hybrids will be relevant for quite some time, and there's plenty of room for them in motorsports alongside pure BEVs. I don't appreciate the mindless comments Dan... what do you drive? What kind of vehicles are you developing? I only own a bicycle, and i design and build award winning pure BEVs and series hybrid PHEVs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Goodcheer, while you say it in spite, it is actually awfully true. but just as I was largely oblivious to global warming and EVs prior to 2006, others do learn from what I say even if a small yet unwisely vocal opposition does fight me.
        I imagine there is a silent mass of readers that do recognize the truth in a lot of what I say and even in the vocal opposition I see significant progress although perhaps not learning the general lesson from their mistakes.
        it is continually and awfully true that humanity is very obtuse and resistant to reason, not because it is incapable of perceiving truth but because it choses not to. it is a spiritual quality, not that you will understand what that means. but key is that we can choose to be better. we can choose to become rational. the most beautiful minds.
        as I apply my mind relentlessly in all significant matters of life the contrast does grow substantially but just as I have grown, so can you. everything begins with choice.
        truth is beautiful, righteousness is beautiful. I highly recommend loving it. you cannot imagine the rewards that wil come with it. no movie utopia even comes close.
        verily I say such fools you are but as I have grown, so you can grow without boundary. seek and you shall find, ask and you shall receive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan, i designed and built these vehicles:
        • 5 Years Ago
        i'm all for it, i build electric race cars myself, but its premature to look at a 24 hour endurance race and say we can do without combustion. Battery swaps would just get tedious! Lets leave the electric racing to short races for now, like TTXGP and things like that. Meanwhile lets hope others follow Porsche's lead with performance hybrids for long endurance races where the fuel efficiency is a real benefit with fewer pit stops.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan, I couldn't agree more.

        Personal growth and learning are most lofty goals. I'm really glad to hear that in your own quest for personal growth you've managed to put the great flaw of -ever being wrong about anything- behind you. That was a very righteous decision.

        When you started posting, I assumed you were a well informed teenager. You know the kind: a smart kid who has just discovered that by researching something in moderate detail he can actually know more about it than the adults around him (which is a pretty darn exciting revelation), and then infers that he knows more about everything than everybody else around him.
        The fact that you still have that notion in your mid-30's a actually pretty sad. Seriously man, have some self-respect: You've made yourself a laughing-stock. You're our new gorr.
        • 5 Years Ago
        have you two rocket scientists ever heard of global warming and peak oil.
        combustion engine cars have no place. none. must you all be mindless products of status quo?
      • 5 Years Ago
      BAH! So close!
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