Maximum flexibility is required to get the most out of life during Covid and Porsche has demonstrated impressive flexibility in a last-minute rejig of the squad for the 2020 Nürburgring 24-Hour on September 26th and 27th.
Following post-event coronavirus tests of Porsche’s Le Mans 24-Hour team, three team members tested positive for the virus. Weissach therefore decided that no team member from Le Mans should attend the Nurburgring 24-Hour, including the nine works drivers who took part.
The driver reorganisation has been further complicated by the fact that, since 2015, drivers have required the Ring Permit in order to participate in certain races on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, including the VLN Championship and the 24-Hour event.
The Ring Permit – or DMSB Permit Nordschleife to give it its proper name – is an additional licence to the regular national and international race licence. All N24 drivers must have a Category A permit, which requires taking part in at least two VLN Championship races, clocking up at least 18 laps and finishing in the top 75% of one’s class in both: no mean feat in this competitive series.
Filling a team for the prestigious 24 Hours of Nordschleife when the entire Le Mans 24 squad has been told to stay home can’t have been easy, and the Manthey Racing team has been most affected. The famous ‘der Grello’ green and yellow 911 will not race at the Nordschleife this year, so sadly no repeat of Kévin Estre’s epic pass on the grass from last year’s N24.
Speaking of grass, the revised driver lineup includes several veterans returned from the lush green slopes of brand ambassador pasture. Back come Timo Bernhard and Jörg Bergmeister alongside Earl Bamber, who has been ruled out of IMSA this weekend. Bernhard is running his first N24 in seven years. German youngster, Nico Menzel, arrives to support Sven Müller, Dennis Olsen and Klaus Bachler.
Approximately 30% of the 100 vehicles entered in the delayed 2020 Nürburgring 24 Hours will be Porsches. The officially-supported Porsche teams are:
KCMG (Porsche 911 GT3 R #18)
Earl Bamber, Jörg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard, Dennis Olsen
KCMG (Porsche 911 GT3 R #19)
Josh Burdon (Australia), Edoardo Liberati (Italy), Alexandre Imperatori (Switzerland), Dennis Olsen
Huber Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #25)
Nico Menzel, Marco Holzer, Patrick Kolb (all Germany), Lorenzo Rocco di Torrepadula (Italy)
Frikadelli Racing Team (Porsche 911 GT3 R #30)
Klaus Abbelen, Alexander Müller, Robert Renauer (all Germany), Norbert Siedler (Austria)
Frikadelli Racing Team (Porsche 911 GT3 R #31)
Lance David Arnold, Lars Kern (both Germany), Mathieu Jaminet (France), Maxime Martin (Belgium)
Falken Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #33)
Christian Engelhart, Sven Müller, Dirk Werner (all Germany), Klaus Bachler (Austria)
Falken Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 R #44)
Klaus Bachler, Martin Ragginger (both Austria), Peter Dumbreck (Great Britain), Sven Müller
“The health and safety of our team members is our top priority,” said Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “That’s why the tough decision not to be represented at the Nürburgring by the drivers and employees who attended Le Mans was ultimately a no-brainer. Still, I’m glad that we found a quick solution with our customer teams and that we can compete on the legendary Nordschleife.”
“Our customer teams contest the Nürburgring 24 Hours with a completely new driver line-up, to continue the fight for Porsche’s 13th overall victory with the 911 GT3 R,” said Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport. “The later date of this year’s race means that weather conditions at the world’s most demanding racetrack are expected to be quite different to previous years. Given the lower number of entries and a strong GT3 contingent in the SP9 category, I’m anticipating a 24-hour sprint.”