• Jun 25th 2011 at 8:21AM
  • 31
Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

After leading the 2011 24 Hours of Nürburgring race for eight hours last year, the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid was forced to retire after its combustion engine's valve spring failed less than two hours before the race's conclusion. This year, the team returned with a revised hybrid system that weighs about 20 percent less and delivers about 40 more horsepower. It proved very competitive, as the GT3 R Hybrid 2.0 won the VLN race at this circuit just three weeks ago.

As a result, and with just over a week before the famed 24-hour Nürburgring event, organizers chose to slap an air intake restrictor on the combustion engine, knocking it down to 448 horsepower (last year's engine was rated 480). Calculated over one lap, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid 2.0 now delivers a lower system output than last year's vehicle with a combustion engine, says Porsche.

The team and drivers are understandably frustrated with this last-minute ruling. Not only does it reduce top speed on the straights, but it forces to drivers to push the the hybrid powertrain much harder just to stay competitive. With the handicap, the GT3 R Hybrid qualified 18th. "This further reduction in performance by the organizers is incomprehensible to us," says Porsche Head of Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen. "There are no data from the two test races as part of the 2011 Nürburgring Long Distance Championship that would provide the basis for such a grading."

The 39th edition of the Nürburgring 24 hour race starts on Saturday June at 4:00 PM CET (10:00 AM EDT).
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Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid 2.0 Restricted by Organizer

Stuttgart/Atlanta – June 19 - A strong contingent of Porsche teams will enter the 24 hour race on the Nürburgring this weekend, Saturday and Sunday June 25 - 26.

Like last year, Porsche AG as well as various customer teams field 33 vehicles featuring the characteristic six-cylinder boxer engine at the 39th running of the long distance classic in Germany's Eifel region. All eight Porsche works drivers will contest Germany's greatest motorsport event at which Porsche has celebrated four overall victories in the last five years.

After an impressive 24 hour debut last year where it held the lead for eight hours witnessed by over 200,000 ardent spectators and grabbed headlines worldwide, the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid returns to the Nordschleife this year with the starting number 9. The vehicle, however, has been substantially reined in by the organizers. After the latest reclassification, the combustion engine now delivers only 448 hp. Calculated over one lap, the further-developed 911 GT3 R Hybrid (Version 2.0) now delivers a lower system output than last year's vehicle with a combustion engine.

"This further reduction in performance by the organizers is incomprehensible to us," says Porsche Head of Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen. "There are no data from the two test races as part of the 2011 Nürburgring Long Distance Championship that would provide the basis for such a grading. Our goal was and is to achieve similar lap times to other GT3 class vehicles, but with better efficiency. We feel this goal is the right one long term and very much regret that some officials in motorsport can't or won't yet come on board with this approach."

Sharing the cockpit of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid 2.0 are Porsche factory pilots Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria), Patrick Long (USA) and Marco Holzer (Germany), who were all deeply involved in the vehicle development. The efficiency of the innovative race car from Weissach was improved through targeted optimization of the hybrid components. The general hybrid layout of the Version 2.0 was adopted from its predecessor. The output of both electric motors in the portal axle increased from 60 to 75 kilowatts each. They supplement the four-litre six-cylinder boxer engine which now only delivers 448 hp after the repeated power reduction. For seconds at a time, pilots now have about 200 hp more at their disposal, which is equivalent to ca. 32 hp of additional conventional power per Nordschleife lap. Depending on the programming, this electrical power is automatically activated through use of the throttle pedal. Moreover, hybrid pilots can manually call up this extra power, for instance when overtaking.

"We'll go all out to continue on from last year's strong performance with the 911 GT3 R Hybrid. It won't be easy against the strong opposition who have taken major steps forward, particularly since our car has been disproportionately handicapped," says Joerg Bergmeister. The Porsche works driver is looking forward to the Nordschleife: "It's one of the world's most beautiful race tracks. It's incredibly demanding but it's incredible fun as well. Every lap is a challenge."

This year, the winning Manthey Racing squad fields two Porsche 911 - a GT3 R and a GT3 RSR - sporting a prominent yellow-green design. Manning both vehicles is the winning Porsche works driver quartet, Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France), Marc Lieb (Germany) as well as Manthey pilot Lucas Luhr (Switzerland), who have notched up over 50 major international titles between them.

Every year, Timo Bernhard is thrilled anew by the unique atmosphere of the non-stop motorsport party. "Driving on the Nordschleife is always an experience," says the Porsche works driver and Le Mans winner, who has contributed to all four Porsche overall victories here between 2006 and 2009. "Although you're constantly challenged as a driver and there is no chance to catch your breath over the long laps, you still don't want to climb out of the car."

Another Porsche factory pilot, Wolf Henzler (Germany), competes for the Falken Motorsport team. His teammates in the #44 Porsche 911 GT3 R are Martin Ragginger (Austria), Peter Dumbreck (Great Britain) and Sebastian Asch (Germany). Also hoping for a top result is the Haribo Manthey Racing (No. 8) line-up of Richard Westbrook (Great Britain), Christian Menzel (Germany), Mike Stursberg (Germany) and Hans Guido Riegel (Germany). With the all-German crew of Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz, Michael Jacobs and Jochen Krumbach, the Wochenspiegel Team Manthey has proven Nordschleife specialists at the wheel of the #26 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Manthey Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 R (No. 10) is manned by another strong squad with Marc Gindorf (Monaco), Wolfgang Kohler (Germany) and Peter Scharmach (New Zealand).

The 39th edition of the Nürburgring 24 hour race starts on Saturday June at 4:00 PM CET (10:00 AM EDT) .

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm no porsche fanboy that's for sure, but it would seem like they are being severly punished for their innovation. This isn't nascar, you don't like having your ass whooped, built a better car. I think maybe a little weight addition could have been tolerable, but 40hp loss? come on. If i were a competitor i wouldn't want to win because the car i was racing against was being restricted. You become the best by beating the best, and not when they are handicapped.
      • 4 Years Ago
      good job in fighting technological progress, ********
      Rob Gomes
      • 4 Years Ago
      As others have mentioned, Audi TV (http://tv.audi.com/) is streaming it live in both standard definition and high definition (2Mbps). The commentary is in German, and most of the focus seems to be on German cars thus far. Amusingly enough, whenever the announcers take a break, they seem to play 1990s Top 40 music. You can watch SLS AMGs pit to Ace of Base, and watch Ferrari 458 Italias tear around the carousel to Phil Collins music.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rob Gomes
      • 4 Years Ago
      Reminds me when the SCCA punished the Audi's in the Trans Am series back in the 80's for dominating the series not once, but twice in the same season.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is why I don't follow ANY competitive racing. From limiting displacement, to outlawing turbochargers and AWD, why punish a team for coming up with superior technology? If it has the necessary frame strength/safety features, runs on wheels and doesn't explode, put it out there and may the better car win.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They "punish" all the other teams too. To restrict those teams and not this one wouldn't be right. They simply want to reduce the speed of the cars, which is understandable given how close the guardrails are at the Nordeschleife.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't know if you're particularly interested in offroad racing, but might I suggest you take a look at Ultra4 Racing. It's a new racing class that includes the King of the Hammers race and other endurance races, with the only spec requirements being that each vehicle must have a 4wd transfer case - everything else is up to the competitor. Makes for a very diverse field and very interesting races.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is stupid, Porsche's being punished because the organizers don't know how to classify them. They haven't made a hybrid class and they haven't had an official ruling on the handicap that hybrid cars should be given. Should there be a handicap for adding the weight of a KERS system to save fuel and improve performance? Maybe. But you don't tell the factory team that they're going to be down more than 10 percent on power a WEEK before their biggest event of the year. I don't care how you shape your argument, maybe the regulation is fair and maybe not, but there's not place for it happening with a WEEK to go.
      Jonathan Arena
      • 4 Years Ago
      Where can we watch a live stream of this?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Jonathan Arena
        Video feed: http://tv.audi.com/#/01
      • 4 Years Ago
      Think the restriction is ridiculously heavy-handed. Yes the Porsche was leading for much of last year, but it's with new technology that still needs reliability issues worked out. Doing it so late means they're going to have to restrategize how hard they can push the car. I mean if it wins because of new spiffy technology, let them. Let em actually win a 24-h before restricting their HP.
      • 4 Years Ago
      dont feel bad for porsche, they are the leaders of the pack when it comes to calling out for more restrictions on other car manufactures . just sayin
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm with you on that point. Their protest id a big part of why the C6R (GT2) can't run Direct Injection.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Someone probably paid off those french organizers to screw them over. They would restrict porsche last minute and deliberately turn a cold shoulder to Peugeot's dirty driving towards the end of the race. They need a new governing body.
      • 4 Years Ago
      1. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid is not only a race car, but a time machine that count 2011 as last year. 2. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid was able to finish a 24-hour race in 10 hours. It's probably a good thing that they gave it restriction, the drivers don't wanna finish the race in 2046.
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