Four Porsche customer race teams were among the top 10 finishers—the most by any manufacturer—of the 2021 Nurburgring 24 Hours held on June 3 to 6 at the iconic racetrack in Nurburg, Germany.
The top Porsche finishers were led by Porsche’s Manthey customer race team, whose works drivers Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Matteo Cairoli scored first place using the No. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The team bested 120 other entries, 99 of which completed the race.
This year’s edition of the legendary endurance race, which in recent years is officially called the ADAC Total 24 Hour Race, was marred by bad weather that resulted in a 14-hour red flag session on Saturday evening. Prior to this, the race had started in the afternoon under difficult track conditions, during which period Estre gave an inspired performance in the 911 GT3 R on the partly flooded track. Within four laps, Estre had charged through the field from 11th spot to take the lead. The identical 911 GT3 R cars of Rutronik Racing, Huber Motorsport, KCMG, Frikadelli Racing and Falken Motorsports made up many positions until the beginning of the 14-hour break at 9:30 p.m. The break was caused by thick fog.
At the race’s restart shortly before Sunday noon, Estre again treated around 10,000 spectators in the grandstands to some gripping track action. Behind the wheel of the “Grello” 911 GT3 R, the 32-year-old charged from sixth place to the front of the field, handing the car off to Christensen while holding first place. Christensen then turned in consistently fast laps to maintain the lead.
In the last hour of racing, Estre again took the wheel to successfully fend off all attacks, and took the checkered flag by a margin of 8.817 seconds.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport, said the Manthey team did a flawless job as the drivers gave a terrific show in their 911 GT3 R.
“Our customer teams can be very proud of their achievements. Unfortunately, the strong performance was not always rewarded accordingly as numerous vehicles had to retire after becoming entangled in other competitors’ accidents,” he said.
The Falken Motorsport team battled for a podium spot to the last lap in the No. 44 911 GT3 R but narrowly missed out on a podium result, with Sven Muller, Martin Ragginger, Klaus Bachler and Alessio Picariello finishing in fourth place. The team’s No. 33 sister car clinched ninth place while Huber Motorsport’s Stefan Aust, Philipp Neuffer, Nico Menzel and Marco Seefried finished in eighth place. In the Pro-Am class, Huber Motorsport was the unchallenged leader.
“I’m also particularly pleased about Huber Motorsport’s Pro-Am class win,” Enzinger said.
Estre noted this year’s Nurburgring race may have been “unusually short” but it was “extremely intense and exhausting.”
The Nurburgring 24 Hours has been held annually since 1970, save for three years because of the oil crisis in the mid-1970s and construction work on the track in 1983.
Porsche customer race teams have used the 911 GT3 R in various international and national series since 2019. Based on the 911 GT3 RS production sports car, the 911 GT3 R officially debuted with an ultra-modern 500 hp, 4.0-liter flat-six engine in January 2019 at the Daytona 24-hour classic.