In what is becoming a Porsche tradition, the works 911 GT3 RSR won the 39th running of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance classic at the weekend, beating the factory BMW M3 GT - the only car to finish on the same lap - and three Audi R8 LMS coupés.
It was the factory team's fifth win at the ‘Ring in six years, as drivers Marc Lieb, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Lucas Luhr laid down a new race record, completing 156 laps of the tortuous Nordschleife - that's 3959km of flat-out racing - in 24 hours.
They took the lead shortly before midnight on Saturday and held on for more than 16 hours and 108 consistently fast and mistake-free laps under intense pressure on one of the toughest race tracks on the planet.
Berhard said afterwards: “We knew before the start we could only win if we all - drivers and crew - worked together as a team.”
In fact, the team's only crisis came right there in the pits. Lucas Luhr explained: “During one of the pit stops the petrol pump didn't work - the fuel simply didn't come out. So we had to push the car back to another pump, which cost us almost a minute.”
The team's experimental Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, however, turned out to be fast but fragile. Crewed by Joerg Bergmeister, Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer and Patrick Long, the hybrid moved into the lead about four hours after the start on Saturday, but a broken differential flange soon afterwards sent it into the pits for repairs, which cost them six laps.
Seven hours later, the same problem struck again; this time repairs took 40 minutes and the hybrid rejoined in 105th, 10 laps off the pace. Clocking lap times that were sometimes faster than the leaders', it ploughed through the field to 23rd.
Then, as the sun came out for the first time on Sunday morning, Long was nudged while lapping a slower competitor and spun at high speed in the Flugplatz section. Miraculously, a quick pit stop revealed no damage other than to paintwork and pride, and Long was soon back out and on the charge, making up more time to bring the Hybrid home 28th, 17 laps behind the leaders after a very eventful 24 hours.
1 Lieb/Bernhard/Dumas/Luhr (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) - 156 laps
2 Müller/Farfus/Alzen/Lamy (BMW M3 GT) +4min23.7
3 Basseng/Fässler/Piccini/Stippler (Audi R8 LMS) +1 lap
4 Stippler/Hennerici/Haase/Winkelhock (Audi R8 LMS) +1 lap
5 Ekström/Scheider/Werner/Abt (Audi R8 LMS) +2 laps
6 Heyer/Jäger/Bleekemolen/Seyffarth (Mercedes-Benz SLS) +3 laps
7 Arnold/Margaritis/Brück/Frankenhout (Mercedes-Benz SLS) +3 laps
8 Farnbacher/Simonsen/Seefried/Melo (Ferrari F458) + 4 laps
9 Abbelen/Schmitz/Kentenich/Bergmeister (Porsche 911 GT3 R)+4 laps
10 Weiss/Kainz/Jacobs/Krumbach (Porsche 911 GT3 R) +5 laps