IntGTC: Porsche 911 GT3 R starts from pole position in South Africa

The identical vehicles campaigned by GPX Racing (No. 20) and Dinamic Motorsport (No. 12) will tackle the final round of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge from positions four and five. 

Porsche’s works driver Nick Tandy (Great Britain) treated spectators to a spectacular hunt for the best grid spot. Facing wet conditions during the third qualifying session, the Briton slid into the barriers in turn seven. After the German squad made swift repairs, he managed to plant his vehicle in the top ten and thus in the pole shootout. In the final session, Tandy ultimately outshone all of his rivals. For the race, the 2015 Le Mans overall winner shares the car with Porsche Young Professionals Dennis Olsen (Norway) and Mathieu Jaminet (France).

Mathieu Jaminet (F), Nick Tandy (GB), Dennis Olsen (N) (l-r)

Taking up the race from the fourth grid spot, GPX Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R flying the legendary Gulf colours has good chances for a top result. Richard Lietz qualified the car fielded by the winning team of the 2019 Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race on the second grid row. In the race, the Austrian shares driving duties with the world sports car champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France). On the wet circuit, Matt Campbell put Dinamic Motorsport’s 911 GT3 R, which is based on the high-performance Porsche 911 GT3 RS* road-legal sports car, on position five. The Porsche Young Professional from Australia is joined in the number 12 cockpit by the IMSA champions Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium).

The Porsche 911 GT3 R run by KÜS Team 75 Bernhard (No. 911) will tackle the final race of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge from twelfth on the grid. Romain Dumas (France) had lost a lot of time during the first qualifying lap in heavy traffic with 28 vehicles from five classes. His German works driver colleagues Sven Müller and Dirk Werner made up five positions with the 500+hp GT3 car, however this was not enough to gain them entry into the Pole Shootout. 

Porsche development driver Lars Kern (Germany) contests the silver classification with his teammates Dylan Pereira (Luxembourg) and Saul Hack (South Africa) from the second grid spot. The trio in Lechner Racing’s No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R qualified on P18. The South African customer team Perfect Circle takes up the race from position 28. 

Qualifying quotes

Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “That was Nick Tandy as we’ve known and appreciated him for many years. In the third qualifying round, he pushes beyond the limits of grip and lands in the barriers. But then he not only qualifies the car for the pole shootout, but promptly plants it on pole. We have three Porsche 911 GT3 R in the top five. That gives us the very best chances for a top result in the race on Saturday.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 GT3 R #31): “That was not my success alone; it was a fantastic team effort. The mechanics repaired the car quickly after my little excursion off the track and gave the car a perfect setup. Previously, my teammates and I had managed to qualify our Porsche 911 GT3 R in the shootout. All this helped to put us on the front spot. To be honest, the pole position was the best way for me to make amends after my little crash.” 

Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 GT3 R #20): “Congratulations to Nick for his great lap. We tried out a few things on the car during the qualifying and learned a lot that will help us on Saturday. The grip in the shootout was anything but good. With that in mind, I’m pleased that we have a second row position with fourth place. This puts us in a good position to take up the nine-hour race.” 

Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #12): “We weren’t exactly in the right window with the tyre pressure, so we couldn’t do better than fifth place. Despite the lack of grip, I had a lot of fun out there on the wet track. It was good to test the limits under these conditions. We’re expecting more rain for the race, so it’s valuable to have already gained some relevant experience. I expect good chances from P5.”

Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “The qualifying was anything but easy for me. I only got a free run in my first flying lap, after that it was impossible. I was stuck in the middle of a large group of vehicles, I had considerable understeer and therefore I couldn’t do anything more. My teammates managed to do a little better, but it wasn’t enough for a top ten result – what a shame.” 

Lars Kern (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “This is the first time our team tackles a long-distance race with the Porsche 911 GT3. In the qualifying, it was a matter of getting a clean run and learning as much as possible. We succeeded. We got faster and faster as the event progressed. I’m looking forward to an exciting race.”

Qualifying result

01. Olsen/Jaminet/Tandy (N/F/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 R
02. Winkelhock/Haase/Mies (D/D/D), Audi R8 LMS GT3
03. Marciello/Buhk/Engel (I/D/D), Mercedes-AMG GT3
04. Lietz/Christensen/Estre (A/DK/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R
05. Vanthoor/Bamber/Campbell (B/NZ/AUS), Porsche 911 GT3 R
12. Dumas/Müller/Werner (F/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R
18. Hack/Kern/Pereira (ZA/D/LUX), Porsche 911 GT3 R
28. Bezuidenhout/Scribante/Scribante (ZA/ZA/ZA), Porsche 911 GT3 R (997)

Full results at: 

The preview

Porsche heads to the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season in South Africa with a top contingent of four 911 GT3 R in the pro category, another vehicle in the amateur class and twelve drivers from the factory and junior driver squads. For the nine-hour race at the Kyalami circuit on 24 November, the customer teams GPX Racing, Dinamic Motorsport, Frikadelli Racing and Team 75 Bernhard will each field a GT3 vehicle from Weissach. In the overall standings, Porsche tackles the final round still holding chances to claim the manufacturers’ title. The winning trio at Bathurst – works driver Dirk Werner (Germany) and the two Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell (Australia) and Dennis Olsen (Norway) – are just ten points shy of the drivers’ classification leader.

The nine-hour event in South Africa marks the final round of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge. Between 1967 and 1993, the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit hosted a total of 20 Formula 1 Grands Prix. Under the aegis of Porsche South Africa, extensive renovations and upgrades have been undertaken in recent years. Around 65 percent of the 4.2-kilometre-long Grand Prix circuit was retained, the finish straight was lengthened, passive safety was improved, four new corner passages were added and the paddock was rebuilt. For the teams contesting the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit is new terrain. The IGTC is currently the only international GT race series to compete on the African continent.

The Porsche teams and drivers

To maximise the chances of winning the drivers’ championship, the Bathurst winners Werner, Campbell and Olsen will contest the season finale in three different cars. The trio heads to the final race ranking fifth, but are only ten points behind the leader. Campbell shares the cockpit of Dinamic Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 R with the current leaders of the IMSA series, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium). In the identical model run by the Team 75 Bernhard, Dirk Werner joins forces with his works driver teammates Sven Müller (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France).

Dennis Olsen helms the 911 GT3 R campaigned by Frikadelli Racing with factory pilot Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France). The fourth GT3 racer from Weissach will tackle the top category decked out in the historic blue and orange colours of Gulf. This year’s winners of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the world sports car champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) as well as Richard Lietz (Austria), share driving duties in the Porsche 911 GT3 R of GPX Racing. One other 911 GT3 R will contest the amateur class.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R

The Porsche 911 GT3 R, which is based on the high-performance 911 GT3 RS road-going sports car, was newly developed for the 2019 season. Improvements in the areas of aerodynamics, kinematics, efficiency and driveability were systematically implemented from the insights garnered from the many race outings of its predecessor. The six-cylinder engine in the rear of the GT3 customer racer produces over 368 kW (500 hp). The new Porsche 911 GT3 R underlined its competitiveness during its debut season with victories at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Blancpain GT Series.

Comments before the race

Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “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. 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.”

The schedule

The “Kyalami 8 Hour” takes off on Saturday, 23 November, at 1pm (midday CET). Porsche has theoretical chances to win the manufacturers’ title at the final race of the season. The Bathurst winners Campbell, Werner and Olsen are within striking distance of taking home the drivers’ championship.

The season finale can be watched live on

This is the Intercontinental GT Challenge

The 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar is made up of five endurance races on five continents. While the teams were only permitted to field 2018-spec GT3 cars at the season-opening round in Bathurst (Australia), the latest spec is sanctioned for the Laguna Seca (USA), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Suzuka (Japan) races and the season finale in Kyalami (South Africa). Porsche will not compete with a factory squad, but instead supports various customer teams in their campaign.