> Four partner teams and 12 factory drivers selected for #IntGTC duty in South Africa
> Estre, Christensen and Lietz reprise 24 Hours of Spa-winning partnership with GPX Racing
Porsche will field a full roster of four factory-supported Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entries at the championship’s Kyalami 9 Hour season finale on November 21-23 as it bids to overhaul points’ leaders Mercedes-AMG.
Total 24 Hours of Spa winners Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz reprise their successful partnership with GPX Racing who are joined by Dinamic Motorsport, Frikadelli Racing and KUS Team 75 Bernhard.
Porsche, which heads to South Africa 22 points behind Mercedes-AMG in the Manufacturers’ standings, has also split its best-placed full-season crew – Bathurst winners Dennis Olsen, Dirk Werner and Matt Campbell – in an effort to triple its Drivers’ Championship chances. Indeed, Weissach has underlined its intentions by sending 12 factory drivers to contest the championship decider.
Campbell shares the cockpit of Dinamic’s Porsche 911 GT3 R with current IMSA GTLM points’ leaders Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor, while Werner joins forces with Sven Müller and Romain Dumas at KUS Team 75 Bernhard. Elsewhere, Olsen joins a Frikadelli line-up also comprising Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet.
The world’s only global GT3 championship is breaking new ground at Kyalami, which last hosted its legendary nine-hour race in 1982. The circuit has undergone extensive changes and renovation work since Porsche South Africa purchased the venue, which returns to the international motorsport calendar for the first time in three decades this November.
“I possibly have a small advantage over most of the other drivers because I’ve actually been to Kyalami,” said Olsen, who heads to the season finale 10 points behind championship leader Maxi Buhk. “I turned a few laps in the Porsche 911 GT3 RS during Porsche’s vehicle presentation there. The circuit offers some special challenges. There are many fast corners, and some you take blind. I’m confident that the Porsche 911 GT3 R will be particularly strong there. We are determined to have a say in the fight for the title.”
Estre, meanwhile, is keen to carry GPX’s winning form into Kyalami after he and the team missed the Suzuka 10 Hours following their Spa victory.
“Our winning crew from Spa is reunited! I’m really pleased about this because our combination went perfectly at the Spa 24-hour race in Belgium. The final round of the season is contested on a racetrack we’re unfamiliar with. So it’s important that the synergy between the drivers and the teams already runs like clockwork. I’m really looking forward to South Africa, the fans, the racetrack and the race.”
Porsche’s 911 GT3 R project manager, Sebastian Golz, admitted the Manufacturers’ title remained a long shot, but believes one of Olsen, Campbell and Werner can overturn Buhk’s advantage.
“With a total of five strong teams, five professionally prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R and twelve hungry drivers from the factory squad, our contingent for the IGTC season final couldn’t be better,” he said. “We’re deliberately dividing our three Bathurst winners between three different cars to maximise our chances of winning the drivers’ championship title.
“We have only an outside chance of winning the manufacturers’ crown, but we’ll still do everything we can to make the most of the opportunity. Kyalami has a big, historic reputation in motor racing, but it is new territory for us all because this is the first international GT race on the new track. The South African culture, the incredible location and the world’s elite in GT racing will turn this race into a season highlight. We want to fight for victory.”
Reserve tickets at www.kyalami9hour.com.