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Porsche Evaluating IGTC Entry for Possible 24H Spa Factory Effort
- Updated: December 15, 2016
Porsche could mount a full-season commitment to the Intercontinental GT Challenge, in a bid for its factory-backed 911 GT3 R cars being eligible in the Pro Cup class at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser said an IGTC program is under evaluation for next year, which could feature a combination of customer teams and the factory Manthey effort representing the German manufacturer in the expanded four-round championship.
Manthey made its IGTC debut in last weekend’s season-ending Motul Sepang 12 Hours, having scored pole and finished 2nd and 5th overall.
“The Intercontinental GT Challenge is interesting,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “We just started with it and we have to see how we continue how we will take our pro racing [forward].
“It’s for sure something you have to grow and establish a [series] like this.”
Walliser has ruled out the works Manthey squad taking part in February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, which will open the 2017 IGTC season, although the race will feature at least four customer 911 GT3 Rs, with expected factory support.
It’s understood either a manufacturer commitment to the IGTC, or a full-season Pro Cup entry in the entire Blancpain GT Series would ensure Manthey being eligible to enter the Belgian endurance classic, which Porsche was forced to miss this year due to not having a season-long Pro Cup entry.
Porsche, however, was still represented on the grid at Spa by two Pro-Am Cup-entered 911 GT3 Rs, including the IMSA Performance entry that claimed top class honors and a 10th place finish overall.
Walliser admitted they would opt for either an IGTC manufacturer entry or support a season-long Blancpain GT Pro Cup customer, although he wouldn’t yet confirm an outright factory entry for Spa.
“It’s not final but it’s what we discussed with some of the customer teams [that] if they do a full Pro effort in Blancpain, [is what] we would like to have,” Walliser said.
“We have new teams, we have teams that are interested in entering the championship with pro [lineups] and different options. It depends a little bit on the customers and what they think and where they want to go and what we can support.”
A return to the Nürburgring 24 as a factory effort, meanwhile, remains “open” according to the Porsche GT boss, who is in support of a further planned speed reduction for GT3 cars around the Nordschleife.
Walliser said the main reason for its factory effort last weekend in Malaysia was to prove the car’s potential in Asia, amid its ramped up activities on the continent, which includes the establishment of a support base in Shanghai.
A total of four manufacturers were represented in the inaugural IGTC season, although both Mercedes-Benz and Bentley did not take part in the title-deciding round.
Walliser said a final decision on its potential participation will be determined next month.