While Porsche has been the dominant force in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship as of late, the same can’t be said about the German manufacturer’s similar factory GT effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Porsche Team Manthey has been through a challenging season with its pair of works Porsche 911 RSRs, although will be looking for a turnaround beginning with this weekend’s Six Hours of Nürburgring, where both the team and manufacturer are competing on home soil.
According to Fred Makowiecki, who heads into Sunday’s fourth round of the season with a 37-point deficit to GTE-Pro championship leaders Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander, the focus will be on making inroads to the competition.
“We’re Ready for a comeback after a [difficult] season,” Makowiecki told Endurance-Info. “It will be hard for the remaining races.
“The advantage is that no one has really widened the gap in the championship with five rounds to go. Everything is still open yet unlike last year when Ferrari had the [gap] after Le Mans.
“Nürburgring will allow us to see where we are for the rest of the season. For the team, it’s important to shine because Porsche and Manthey are at home. It’s the second most important race after Le Mans.”
The team, based in the adjacent technical park in Meuspath, hasn’t visited the top step of the podium in WEC competition since Shanghai last year, something Makowiecki and co-driver Patrick Pilet are hoping to change this weekend.
Makowiecki admits one of the biggest challenges they currently face is Balance of Performance, although the Porsche 911 RSR has received a 10kg weight break following the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Still, it doesn’t run in the same configuration used in the TUDOR Championship, which has seen the car claim GT Le Mans class victories in the last four consecutive rounds.
The FIA WEC-spec Porsche runs with a 1.3mm smaller air restrictor, 10kg of additional weight and a significantly smaller splitter and rear wing than its IMSA counterpart, which has dominated the summer months in the U.S.
“The American version is a bit lighter with more favorable aero,” Makowiecki said. The FIA WEC version has less aero.
“[Still], we’re hoping that [the recent BoP adjustment] will enable us to be at the same level of the competition. The main danger comes with Ferrari as they have always been tough opponents.
“However, a 10kg weight loss does not radically change things. This will just slightly modify the weight distribution.”
Makowiecki and Pilet’s teammate Richard Lietz, the only Porsche Team Manthey driver to have taken part in all three rounds to date, sits fourth in the GTE-Pro title race, and only 13 points behind the Ferrari pairing.
Porsche also remains in the manufacturers’ championship, although 43 points behind Ferrari heading into the weekend.