The countdown to the Nürburgring 24 hour race is on. Porsche teams use the first round of the Nürburgring Long Distance Championship on the 27 March to prepare for the marathon on the circuit in Germany's Eifel region.
Working particularly hard is title defender, Manthey Racing: Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard and Marc Lieb from Germany as well as Manthey pilot Marcel Tiemann (Monaco) share driving duties in the cockpit of the new Porsche 911 GT3 R at its race debut. The fourth man to join the squad at the 24 hour race on 15 May is, like last year, Romain Dumas (France).
Also awaited with anticipation is the racing premiere of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid which retrieves energy during braking and stores it in an electric flywheel.
Porsche works drivers Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria), Porsche junior Marco Holzer (Germany) and the former Porsche junior Martin Ragginger (Austria) will pilot the vehicle at the 24 hour race. At the test race this coming weekend, Bergmeister, Lietz and Ragginger share the cockpit. "For me it's always something special to race in Germany," admits Bergmeister, who normally competes in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the American Le Mans Series. "We'll gain a huge amount of knowledge at the season-opener of the long distance championship and this should help us to understand the new hybrid system even better and to further develop the car in time for the 24 hour race."
After 17 years, Germany's double world rally champion, Walter Röhrl, makes his racing comeback at the season-opening round of the long distance championship. Joining him at the wheel of a standard Porsche 911 GT3 RS for the Nürburgring 24 hour race is DTM legend Roland Asch (Germany) as well as journalists Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch (Germany) and Chris Harris (Great Britain). "I'm very much looking forward to contesting a race again," says Röhrl. "But the emphasis this weekend will be on gathering as much experience with the car as possible under real racing conditions."
Round one of the Nürburgring Long Distance Championship takes off on 27 March at midday and runs over a distance of four hours.