Closer to perfection
Manthey EMA finishes the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in second place after a premature race finish
IGTC | Nordschleife | Racing
  • Manthey EMA finishes the Nürburgring 24 Hours in second place after the race was waved off early due to persistent fog
  • After the race was suspended during the night, it was flagged off early after the restart on Sunday afternoon after five laps behind the safety car
  • This race result means Manthey EMA's second win of the Intercontinental GT Challenge

Nürburg. Manthey EMA finishes the 52nd edition of the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring on the podium. The Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Kévin Estre (France), Ayhancan Güven (Turkey), Thomas Preining (Austria) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) with car number 911 took the chequered flag after just 50 laps, making it the shortest race in the history of the 24 Hours. The race was red-flagged and then re-started under the safety car due to persistent fog. The race result means the team's second win in the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

The endurance classic in the Green Hell started on Saturday afternoon in difficult track conditions on the 25.378-kilometre combination of the Grand Prix Circuit and the Nordschleife. In increasing rain, Estre, who had the advantage of wet tyres, took the lead on the first lap of the race. He maintained this lead on a drying track until he switched to slicks one lap after the other front runners. Porsche drivers Preining and Vanthoor, who then took over the wheel of the 911, remained in the top positions throughout their stints. However, when the rain returned with just under five hours on the clock, Belgian Vanthoor had to fight to keep the car under control and lost positions as a result. After changing to wet tyres, Ayhancan Güven fought his way back to the front of the field and battled with the leading Audi. The Manthey EMA Porsche was running in third place when the red flag was waved at 23:22 after almost seven and a half hours due to heavy fog.

After more than 14 hours, the race was restarted behind the safety car at 13:30 on Sunday morning. The 911 was second on the grid, having completed its pit stop just before the race was temporarily halted during the night. As the car received a lower additional minimum standing time than the BMW in front, the yellow-green Porsche moved up one position. Kévin Estre was at the wheel of the nine-eleven as the field completed five laps behind the lead car. However, as the weather conditions remained the same, the race was waved off more than an hour before the end of the 24-hour race. As a result, Manthey EMA finished the historically shortest 24 hour race at the Nürburgring in second place behind Scherer Sport PHX. This marks the team's second win in two races of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC). Laurens Vanthoor and Ayhancan Güven extend their lead in the IGTC Drivers' Championship after also winning the season opener at Bathurst with Manthey EMA.

Next up for Manthey EMA is the third round of the DTM in Zandvoort from 7 to 9 June. The pre-test for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which Manthey EMA and Manthey PureRxcing will contest the following weekend from 15 to 16 June, will take place at the same time. However, the team will not compete in the next round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge with the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (26-30 June 2024).

Quotes on the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring:

Kévin Estre, Porsche 911 GT3 R #911: "Second place after an unfortunately very short 24-hour race. There was a lot of fog on the track on Saturday evening and when the red flag came out, we were in a strong third place. For a 24-hour race, we all had a relatively long night and were able to get some sleep. It's a shame that there was no restart on Sunday. We always want to race and fight for victory. You can't do anything about the fog here, but it would have been nice to drive a few more laps at full throttle at the end."

Ayhancan Güven, Porsche 911 GT3 R #911: "Unfortunately, the race didn't go as we had imagined due to the weather. We had a very good start and were at the front of the field. As the weather conditions changed, there were a few position changes. In the end, we finished second from before the red flag, as the race was not restarted. It is what it is. Of course, we all came here to win the race and I think we would have had the perfect overall package with the team and the drivers. That's why it's a shame, but I'm still very proud of the team. Congratulations to the winning team!"

Thomas Preining, Porsche 911 GT3 R #911: "We actually drove a clean race and survived the first chaotic hours well. Our car was very good and we were battling at the front, but the competition had a strong pace. It's a shame that we didn't have the chance to put all our eggs in one basket at the end and fight for victory. We also feel very sorry for the fans here. We'll try again next year."

Laurens Vanthoor, Porsche 911 GT3 R #911: "Unfortunately, it wasn't a proper 24-hour race in the end. It's nobody's fault, because the weather is unpredictable, but it's obviously a great pity. As always, the team did a great job. You can learn a lot from the way the crew works. We can't blame ourselves because we gave everything we had. Unfortunately, the weather threw a spanner in the works and we were no longer able to fight for victory."

Nicolas Raeder, Managing Director of Manthey Racing GmbH: "A challenging weekend for us. We were well prepared and had a really strong line-up this year, as all the drivers gained a lot of driving time at the Nürburgring in the run-up to the race. We achieved a good result in top qualifying with second place. In the race, we had a good feel for the car and were able to navigate our way through the traffic on the track without causing any damage - that's a major and important skill here. But then the race was stopped at night and we were obviously hoping for a restart and the opportunity to improve the result. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. That leaves us in second place, but we are pleased to be able to congratulate Frank Stippler and Scherer Sport PHX."