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Monday, May 17, 2010

Hybrid Porsche 911 just 2 hours short of winning Nürburgring 24 Hour

BMW has denied Porsche a historic victory in yesterday’s Nurburgring 24 Hour. The experimental 911 Hybrid came within two hours of winning the German endurance classic but dropped out with an engine failure to hand the win to race-long rivals, BMW.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid led the race for eight hours. Porsche’s hyrbird drive gave the car 25 percent better fuel efficiency allowing it to stay out two laps longer per refueling. And with the 24 hour race using both the traditional Nordschleife and modern Grand Prix circuit, those laps are 15.8 miles long. The car was on target to become the first hybrid sports car to win a major international race. But just after the 22nd hour the car’s petrol engine died.

“I heard a loud noise at the rear of the car and suddenly the power went,” explained driver Joerg Bergmeister.

But Porsche’s pain was BMW’s gain with the M3 GT2 of Jorg Muller, Augusto Farfus, Uwe Alzen and Pedro Lamy inheriting the lead and going on to win the race, watched on by a crowd of 200,000 people.

The win was BMW’s first major triumph with its new racing version of the M3 coupe. The same car will contest next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Second place went to the only Ferrari entered in the race. Australian-based Dane, Allan Simonsen, partnered with Dominik Farnbacher, Lehman Keen and Marco Seefried to guide the Ferrari 430 GTC to the podium.

Audi’s pride was salvaged by the privateer R8 LMS driven by Denis Rostek, Luca Ludwig, Marcus Winkelhock and Marc Bronzel. The quartet finished in third after the company’s four factory entries all dropped out of the race.

Porsche’s disappointment with its hybrid entry was tempered by the performance of its road-legal 911 GT3 RS that came home 13th. The car was driven to the circuit from the Porsche factory for the race and managed to beat home many race-prepared entries.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think a normal street car could not only keep up at such a demanding race but can also finish so far up the field,” said lead driver, Roland Asch.

Considering the race winner completed 154 laps, stopping every 8 laps, they had to pit approx 20 times. The Hybrid Porsche, pitting only every 10 laps, could have covered the same race distance with 5 full pit stops less.

One thing is certain, Porsche will now be straining at the leash to race at Le Mans with their KERS system.

2010 Nurburgring 24 Hour results

1. Jorg Muller/Augusto Farfus/Uwe Alzen/Pedro Lamy BMW M3 GT2 154 laps

2. Allan Simonsen/Dominik Farnbacher/Lehman Keen/Marco Seefried Ferrari 430 GTC +3:54

3. Dennis Rostek/Luca Ludwig/Markus Winkelhock/Marc Bronzel Audi R8 LMS +1 lap

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