Manthey-Porsche 911 GT3 R Wins Opening VLN Round

Trio of Frenchmen coordinated to dominate the four-hour race at the Nürburgring.

Porsche

In case you don't already know, there is a hotly contested sports car series that runs throughout the year, only at the Nürburgring, called VLN. The series has always had a lot of attention from major international teams, but in recent years the manufacturers have started backing them with more and more money, equipment, and top-tier drivers. Manthey, now completely owned by Porsche, has been involved in the series practically since it began. With Porsche factory drivers on board, they're looking great for the 2017 season. 

This weekend was the first round of the VLN series, and Porsche came out of the gates swinging. Romain Dumas, Fred Makowiecki, and Patrick Pilet took Saturday's 4-hour victory. Perhaps an inauspicious accomplishment, it was the first time that the series saw a trio of French drivers take the overall win. It was a bright and sunny day in the forests surrounding the track, attracting German and international fans alike en masse. 

Porsche

Porsche's other car, the Falken Tire entrant of Joerg Bergmeister, Martin Ragginger, and Laurens Vanthoor was taken out prematurely from the lead when Laurens was forced onto the grass while overtaking a slower classed car. He'd only had about a two second lead on Patrick Pilet at the time of the incident, and was trying to make some room for himself on track. This took out Porsche's 1-2 placement, but elevated the Manthey car into the lead. "I'm not sure if I would have managed to overtake Laurens on the track," Pilet admitted. "We got an exciting duel around the top and were on the same level. Depending on the traffic, he was partly on a lap looking at something faster, partly me.

Following that incident, Pilet had an easy go for the remainder of the race, running unopposed to the checkers. The Bentley Continental GT3 of Christer Jöns, Chris Brück and Jordan Pepper finished just over a minute behind the Manthey-Porsche, giving the British marque its first podium in the VLN series. Following the Bently was the Audi Sport R8 LMS driven by Christopher Mies, Connor De Phillippi and Markus Winkelhock, and a further two more Audi R8s behind them.

This win just adds to Porsche's already successful race tally for the new generation GT3 R. It's likely they'll win a few more of these before the year is over. 

Thanks to DriveTribe, you can watch the full VLN race, with English commentary provided by the gents at Radio Le Mans, here on YouTube.